CommonHelp is an enterprise delivery system that integrates and provides access to public assistance benefits for citizens in the state of Virginia. The high profile project was unveiled by the Governor of Virginia and marketed throughout the state.

Work with the Office of Public Affairs, third-party creative vendors, and executive leadership to brand Virginia’s new temporary assistance portal. Redevelop and realign the implementation of vendor commercial off the shelf software (COTS) to be mobile friendly and meet accessibility standards.

As CommonHelp expands its scope, and reaches out to new customers, it is essential that the brand grow and endure. Success also included deploying a responsively designed solution that exceeds state government Section 508/WAI-WCAG standards.



My Role

Lead UI Designer / Brand Manager


Executive stakeholders, project manager, software integration vendor, developers, analysts, copywriters, creative vendor


State of Virginia

Skills & Technology

User Research, Accessibility Analysis, Responsive Design, HTML5, CSS3/Sass/Compass, JavaScript/jQuery, Git, HTML5 Boilerplate, Bootstrap

Brand & Brawn

The CommonHelp brand was more than a name, a logo or pretty colors. It was the totality of public assistance experiences perceived by Virginia customers. The mobile and desktop channels were strong integral expressions and extensions of the brand.


CommonHelp was about helping people. Real people. Over 1 million of Virginia's citizens can now access public assistance benefits online.

The initial launch and deployment of CommonHelp was a rousing success. Virginia’s most vulnerable citizens could apply and manage their benefits online using their mobile devices. The project met all state and federal government accessibility standards. Since the rollout and statewide implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act, the web property has been redesigned by an integrated health care and benefits provider.


Research & Evaluation

I performed a complete accessibility audit and heuristic evaluation on the vendor provided COTS software. Third party research was used to identify that smartphones were the primary computing device of the customer. My recommendations to leadership included developing identity and brand materials, ensuring best practice accessibility standards, and redeveloping the vendor software to be responsive and mobile friendly.

Ideation & Design

I created sketches, wireframes, and high fidelity prototypes exploring UI patterns based upon project requirements. I developed test plans and conducted usability tests using paper and clickable prototypes. I partnered with creative vendors to design the brand, and created/managed the brand guide and assets.

Build & Deploy

After creating the brand and validating the wireframes, I rapidly engineered, developed, and responsively designed the project using open source scaffolding frameworks and UI libraries including HTML5 Boilerplate, 320 and Less, Bootstrap, Sass/Compass, and Ant.

Test & Validate

The interface and interaction design of the responsive solution was tested to comply with best practice mobile and accessibility standards using the following tools.

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