Project 3

Redesign of Earnings Corrections System

The goal of the Earnings Correction project is to modernize the current green screen system and replace it with a web-based application. SSA Technicians use the Earnings Corrections system to correct number holder earnings including: adding missing earnings, correcting discrepant earnings, removing earnings that don’t belong to the number holder, etc. As of September 2021, this project was still in the initial phases.


This is an Agile project. The Team includes the Product Owner, 3 UX specialists, analysts, developers, testers and scrum master. My role in the project is Lead UX Designer. 


UX Process to Date

  • Product Discovery

  • User Interviews 


The Problem

The UX team conducted two rounds of interviews with users (SSA Technicians) involved with the internal earnings corrections process in a one-to-one setting to learn details about the current process, pain points, needs, and visions for a redesigned application. 


Goals of user interviews were to:

  • Validate and learn more about the “as is” process 

  • Identify steps in the current process to resolve earnings discrepancies

  • Inform future decisions regarding the new Earnings Correction application


Common pain points, challenges or limitations with the current system that we identified included:

  • No visual appeal (green screen)

  • It's not intuitive (if not used regularly, cheat sheets and user guides must be referred to)

  • Complicated process with multiple steps involved

  • Lots of going back and forth between screens

  • Number holder information must be manually typed in instead of auto-populating from SSA data

  • Updating a number holder’s earnings record is a batch process that runs overnight instead of an immediate update


A few notable quotes from our interviews include:

  • “Earnings is the cornerstone of the agency as a whole. If earnings are adjusted, it could mean the person is entitled to more, or less, money. It’s important to be accurate because it’s someone’s livelihood on the line.” 

  • “The [current] system is antiquated and hard to use. I’d like to see something that when you come in it asks, what do you want to do? Do you want to add earning, change earnings, remove earnings. Start there.”

  • "Multiple places where info is being controlled in order to do things. Would like more of a one-stop shop so no matter who needs to make an adjustment for their particular workload that it’s taking place in one location.”


UX Team Recommendations Following User Interviews

  • Determine the scope and MVP for first release

  • Streamline the new application (one-stop shop with less steps)

  • Intuitively display appropriate screens in the path

  • Propagation of NH’s PI from SSA databases

  • Design and develop a web-based, user-friendly application

  • Update policy and procedure to match new application


UX Deliverables

As of September 2021, design and prototyping had not begun but the UX team created the following deliverables for the team:

  • Corrections personas: Using data obtained from 2 rounds of user interviews, the UX team created 2 personas for Earnings Corrections. 

  • Journey Maps depicting a happy and unhappy path for a common correction type