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18F - User Experience Designer

This job posting has closed.

Please see our other open positions.

18F is hiring for GS-15 - User Experience Designer. This page contains information related to the role as well as a link to submit your application. Check out Join TTS Hiring Process to learn more about the application process.

Location: Virtual (100% Remote), Washington, DC; San Francisco, CA; Chicago, IL; New York, NY

Salary Range: The base salary range for this position is: GS-15 Step 1 - $106,595 to GS-15 Step 10 $138,572

Please note the maximum salary available for the GS pay system is $166,500

The base salary range does not include any adjustment for locality. Your locality will be determined by where you live since most of our positions are remote. If the position isn’t remote, then your locality will be determined by the location of the office where the position is based.

You can find more information about this in the compensation and benefits section on our site.

For specific details on locality pay, please visit OPM’s Salaries & Wages page or for a salary calculator OPM’s 2019 General Schedule (GS) Salary Calculator.

Who May Apply: All United States citizens and nationals (residents of American Samoa and Swains Islands) and applicants must not be GSA employees or contractors

Role Summary:

User Experience Designer - GS-15

User experience designers at 18F drive research activities, derive insights, generate concepts, communicate those concepts visually, and work with developers and product managers to build and test them. They foster best practices in user-centered design within 18F and across the federal government through advocacy and coaching.

UX designers should have deep strength in design research (both generative and evaluative). No one can be equally expert at everything, but in addition to design research, we do expect strong craft skills, confidence, and sophistication in at least one of the following areas: interaction design, service design, and information architecture.

As a UX designer, you’ll work in cross-functional teams of experts in design, product strategy, technical architecture, software engineering, data science, and procurement. Besides building useful and usable digital services, part of your job will be helping teams improve their user-centered design practice, and helping teams without those practices get started.

If you are committed to improving government services by focusing on the people who need them most, this is the position for you.

Key Objectives

Objective #1: Demonstrate excellence in design research, while grasping the core questions and responsibilities of at least one other UX discipline.

In addition to strong skill in design research, we expect expertise in at least one of the following disciplines:

  • Interaction design: Define interface logic and behavior, always keeping human behaviors and needs in mind.
  • Information architecture: Organize and structure complex information to help diverse audiences easily find what they need.
  • Service design: Improve the relationship of the customer or user and the service provider across all of their interactions and communication channels.

  • Zoom in and out. Generate innovative, high-level product strategies as well as the practical project steps and considerations to get there. Are visionary in objective, but pragmatic in approach.
  • Support collaborative decision making by telling compelling stories drawn from research that illustrate the pros and cons of various options.
  • Show persistent commitment to thoughtful and ethical user research.
  • Deliver whatever’s needed to guide development — this could include wireframes, sitemaps, flowcharts, storyboards, user stories, or interpretive dance.
  • Create written materials and visual presentations that are accessible to non-experts but that are legally and technically accurate.
  • Incorporate UX into agile development sprints, coordinating with visual and content designers, developers, and product managers to achieve a strategic vision.
  • Use modern interaction design patterns and best practices, understanding that there are exceptions to every rule.
  • Commit to making what we build fully accessible to the people we serve.

Objective 2: Advance UX practice

  • Clearly communicate user-centered methods and their value to non-designers.
  • Mentor and coach colleagues and partners who are taking on new tasks and roles within design and research.
  • Share knowledge, techniques, tools, patterns, and expert advice with colleagues, partners, and the public.
  • Promote empathy not just for members of the public, but also our partners across the government and our co-workers.

Objective #3: Work effectively in the federal government

  • Skillfully navigate complex organizational relationships to resolve questions.
  • Cooperatively negotiate disagreements and mediate compromises.
  • Build inclusive, respectful partnerships with diverse groups of people.
  • Demonstrate genuine interest in the day-to-day activities that keep our government running.

Basic Information

Location: Virtual (100% Remote), Washington, DC; San Francisco, CA; Chicago, IL; New York, NY

Salary Range: Base salary GS-15 - $106,595 to $138,572

If you are a new federal employee, your starting salary will likely be set at the Step 1 of the grade for which you are selected. Total compensation may include locality pay based on the individual’s duty location. For more salary information including locality pay details, please visit OPM’s Salaries & Wages page.

Who May Apply: All United States citizens and nationals (residents of American Samoa and Swains Islands) and applicants must not be GSA employees or contractors

Job announcement number: 1900607JCOTR

Opening and closing period for this job application: Wednesday, September 23, 2020 to 8:00pm on Sunday, September 27, 2020 EDT

Job Title: Innovation Specialist

Series & Grade: 0301 - 15

Promotion Potential: GS-15

Number of vacancies: 3 (Additional vacancies may be filled from this announcement as needed)

Supervisory status: NO

Travel requirement: Occasional travel may be required up to 10%-20% per year

Security clearance: Public trust. Background investigation required.

Work Schedule: Full time

Appointment Type: Excepted Service: Not to exceed 24 months (2 years); may be extended for an additional 2 years for a maximum of 4 years total.

Job Summary

This is a Schedule A position under 5 CFR 213.3102(r) to hire unique technical skills to develop innovative digital tools and services in the Excepted Services, US Digital Service 18F Fellowship Program. The 18F office is charged with developing innovative digital tools and services and uses lean startup and agile development principles to collaborate with other agencies to fix technical problems, build products, and improve how government serves the public through technology.

As an Innovation Specialist, the team member serves the government and makes an impact on a massive scale. The position requires that fellows perform work of an exceptional degree of difficulty across a wide range of topics at the convergence of technology, policy, and delivery. The incumbent leverages their experience deploying high quality, user centric platforms and services to lead major initiatives, consult on systems and policy proposal, and provide technical, policy, and programmatic guidance to government.

This position is located within the General Services Administration (GSA), Federal Acquisition Service (FAS), Technology Transformation Service (TTS), Office of 18F.

GSA has been repeatedly named as one of the ‘Best Places to Work’ in the federal government. You will have access to many benefits including:

  • Health insurance (choose from a wide range of plans)
  • Life insurance coverage with several options
  • Sick leave and vacation time, including 10 paid holidays per year
  • Thrift Savings Plan (similar to a 401(k) plan)
  • Flexible work schedules and telework
  • Transit and child care subsidies
  • Training and development
  • Flexible spending accounts
  • Long-term care insurance
  • Training and development

Key Requirements

  1. You must be a U.S. Citizen or National (residents of American Samoa and Swains Islands)
  2. Suitable for federal employment, determined by a background investigation
  3. You may be required to serve a trial period
  4. Direct Deposit of salary check to financial organization required
  5. Register with Selective Service, if you are required by

Employment Requirements

  • Serve a one year trial period, if required
  • Undergo and pass a background investigation. You must be granted this clearance before you can start the job
  • Have your identity and work status eligibility verified if you are not a GSA employee. We will use the Department of Homeland Security’s e-Verify system for this
  • Any discrepancies must be resolved as a condition of continued employment
  • Complete a financial disclosure report to verify that no conflict, or an appearance of conflict, exists between your financial interest and this position


Typical duties for the fellow include but are not limited to: Conceiving/recommending projects/studies to advance the state of the art in the specialty area; applying forward­ thinking design and development principles to product or services development, delivery and program management, such as lean startup, user­centered design, and agile development; Analyzing and scoping the technical and policy requirements needed to implement complex digital solutions; Assessing the state of digital services provided by the Federal Government, and working to align strategies and practice; conferring with key government/private officials and top experts in the field, representing the agency at technical symposia and/or conferences; Developing authoritative papers/reports; developing and leading adoption of government­wide standards for digital services, leading to their adoption across citizen and business­facing government services; Demonstrating thought leadership and contributing best practices in a variety of technologies and principles; Contributing to a talent strategy that includes recruiting innovators and entrepreneurs to participate in solving complex and esoteric challenges.


The evaluation process for this job is different from a typical job announcement.

The technical qualifications for this position will be evaluated by subject matter experts. Apply only if you meet the qualifications.

1. Resume review Subject matter experts will review your resume and work item or portfolio sample to determine your technical qualifications for your chosen role(s) based on the required competencies.

2. Qualifying interviews If the subject matter experts determine that your resume and portfolio reflect the required competencies, you will have at least one interview to further assess whether your experience meets the required competencies for your chosen role(s). You may meet with more than one subject matter expert for a determination to be made.

3. Ranking and preference Preference will be applied to applicants who move forward after the qualifying interviews.

Category rating

Qualified candidates will be assigned to one of the following quality categories:

Best Qualified: Candidates in this category possess good skills and experience above the minimum requirements for the announced position.

Well Qualified: Candidates in this category fall in between Best Qualified and Qualified.

Qualified: Candidates in this category meet the minimum experience requirements for the announced position.

Veterans’ Preference Veteran preference eligibles are listed ahead of non-preference eligibles within each quality category. Based upon your category and score, you may be referred to the selecting official.


Subject matter experts will evaluate your resume and your work item or portfolio based on these competencies. You must have at least a year demonstrating accomplishment of the duties and competencies described below.

Research Methods: The knowledge and ability to understand and user research tools and methodologies, including generative methods such as contextual inquiry, field studies, journey mapping, observation and evaluative methods like usability testing.

Agile or Iterative Design & Development: The knowledge of design and development approaches that include repeated testing of ideas and revisions of those ideas based on testing results, and the ability to carry them out in a professional environment. Regardless of challenges, launches products and drives teams to deliver iteratively. Launches minimum viable products without waiting for the perfect implementation or inclusion of every feature.

Design Methods: The ability to design interactive digital products, systems, and services. Experience creating at least one category of the following:

  • Information architecture tools and techniques: wireframes, sitemaps, flowcharts, user flows, taxonomies, card sorts or treejack testing
  • Interaction design tools and techniques: wireframes, sitemaps, mockups, prototypes, design systems or patterns, style guides
  • Service design tools and techniques: service blueprints, value mapping, journey maps, experience prototypes, service quality metrics

Leadership & Collaboration: The ability to work cooperatively with others to accomplish objectives and build inclusive and mutually beneficial partnerships.

TTS Core Values Alignment: The ability to work with integrity, transparency and resiliency in civic-minded and high-impact environments.

Qualification determinations cannot be made when resumes do not include the required information, so failure to provide this information may result in disqualification.

For each job on your resume, provide:

  • the exact dates you held each job (from month/year to month/year or “present”)
  • number of hours per week you worked (if part time)

How To Apply

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