Sharing Lessons as We Develop New Site

Content From: Miguel Gomez, Director,, and Senior Communications Advisor, Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy, U.S. Department of Health and Human ServicesPublished: March 22, 20162 min read


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As promoters for the use of digital tools in the response to HIV and viral hepatitis, we often share examples of specific tools and resources once they are available. But we are also always curious to learn and share lessons about what goes into developing such digital tools. So as we embark on developing a new presence for information about viral hepatitis on the HHS website, we see an opportunity to share our experiences and lessons along the way.

Information about the national Viral Hepatitis Action Plan has resided on since the first plan was launched in 2011, in part because the HHS Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy administers as well as leads efforts to implement, monitor, and update the Action Plan. The Action Plan, though, extends well beyond the HIV arena and involves many agencies and offices across HHS as well as in other Federal departments. So we will soon launch a separate site covering viral hepatitis, the Action Plan, and related information.

This wouldn’t be possible without the support of the Digital Communications Division in the office of the Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs (ASPA), which is lending its talent and expertise to developing the new site and ensuring that we apply best practices and standards by using the Agile framework for web development, which emphasizes individuals and interactions, working software, customer collaboration, and responding to change. We are very excited to be working with our HHS colleagues to apply this framework to assist us in developing this new site.

“The new hepatitis site is a great fit for our Agile Laboratory, where we mix up user-centered design with Agile project management. The goal of the lab is to understand the best ways for a team to deliver excellent websites as quickly as possible--and then to apply those lessons to all of our work.” - Bill Trefzger, Deputy Director, Digital Communications Division, ASPA

As our work on the new site continues, we’ll share additional updates and lessons learned along the way in the hope that they may be helpful to some of our readers planning new sites or planning to update their existing ones.