By: Alyssa Levitz - August 9, 2022
A challenge to making changes to application form questions is that it could require changes to the database (or backend). But it may be possible to update the applicant-facing frontend of the application (the “presentation layer”) without changing the backend. This is done by mapping new field options to existing options.
Below is an example of New Jersey doing this to improve the highest level of education question in the unemployment application. During usability testing of the application, participants noted that they don’t think in years of education, but in categories of highest education. Thus, the question was reframed to ask the highest level of education completed. The web application maps that response back to a number that the backend knows how to interpret by working alongside their Labor Market Information experts. For example, “Less than High School” maps to 8, “Some High School” maps to 11, and “Associate’s Degree” to 14.
LOAD CSS files
FIND the existing content by element
TRANSFORM the existing content through one or more of the following types of functions:
COPY AND INSERT the existing content into a new div corresponding to where it needs to be on the page
REPLACE content with updated plain language, e.g., the years of education example above.
APPLY STYLING to that content so it doesn’t render, or so that it renders in particular ways. To learn more, see Go mobile-friendly with media queries | U.S. Department of Labor (dol.gov)
TIP: use a custom-built browser extension to rapidly make and validate changes if you don't have an easy staging environment for code changes.