Questions Relating to Assistance Programs
Questions Relating to Required Fields
Questions Relating to Saving and Exporting of Application Data
Questions Relating to Submitting and Judging Criteria
Questions Relating to User Testing
Miscellaneous Questions

 

Questions Relating to Assistance Programs
What do they receive in response to their school meal application, is it a card such as SNAP?

When households apply for school meal benefits, if they are approved, then the school sends a letter to the household notifying them of their benefit eligibility.

 

If the user does participate in an assistance program, but does not know their case number, should we still make this a requirement in the form or should they submit without it? How can they find their case number if they don’t have it?

If the applicant is applying for school meal programs with the intent of being found eligible as an assistance program participant, then the case number is required. Your application does not need to provide the case number for them or provide instructions on finding their case number.

 

What does “runaway child” mean?

Runaway child means a child identified as a runaway receiving assistance under a program under the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act by the local educational liaison, or other individual in accordance with guidance issued by FNS (Jan 1 2015 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), 245.2).

 

Where on the form should “headstart” be listed”? Is that with the box for “homeless, migrant, and runaway?”

How you include Head Start within your application is a matter of your design, but know that the Head Start status has the same implications as the homeless, migrant, runaway status.

 

Is FDPIR still a program I need to include? Aside from SNAP and TANF?

Yes, please include FDPIR in addition to SNAP and TANF.

 

Will the case number be clear which assistance program it identifies?

It's possible, but this is something you do not need to worry about. Case numbers may vary significantly by State, so we will leave that for school districts to modify.

 

What is a “foster status”? Is that info that needs to be input in addition to identifying your child as a foster child?

Only identifying a child as a foster child is required. We are not asking for two independent pieces of information.

 

How familiar are children with assistance programs they or household members are a part of? Are they more likely to recognize the acronym, logo, full name, etc. of the program?

We do not know the answer to your first question, however, these applications are meant to be filled out by the parent/guardian and not the child. For the second question, you can use the assistance program names or abbreviations that we have provided. Also, States and counties may have alternative State specific names for their assistance programs. We will rely upon the States and districts to customize the prototype to fit their needs.

 

Does the APEC study include overlap statistics for Free Lunch applicants that are also taking part in other assistance programs? If not, what other resources are available for overall program demographics?

The APEC study does not provide any tables that include overlap statistics. However, the SNDA III (School Nutrition Dietary Assessment) study includes a fair amount on the characteristics on NSLP and SBP participants. You can find this information within chapter 3 of volume 2. You can find the volume here: http://www.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/SNDAIII-Vol2.pdf.

 

I think there is a conflict in your Household Scenario Matrix. In Scenario #3 and following statement from SP33-2015a. In SP33-2015a, It clearly says:
C) *Do you have any foster children? *If any children listed are foster children, mark the “Foster Child” box next to the child’s name. Foster children who live with you may count as members of your household and should be listed on your application. If you are *only* applying for foster children, after completing STEP 1, skip to STEP 4 of the application and these instructions.
So if the application is only for FOSTER you skip income.
But in Scenario# 3 you are now saying, It could be FOSTER, Homeless, RUNAWAY , as along as status of all children is identified you can skip income. Please clarify, which document is correct: SP33-2015a OR Household Scenario

The paper prototype application is inherently limited due to paper size constraints. This constraint is one that you will not have to overcome, as your design is electronic. There are complex scenarios of households that are exception cases. Due to space constraints, not every possible scenario is listed in the paper prototype application or its instructions.  

The household scenario matrix states the scenario properly. If all of the school age children in the household fall into one of the categories “foster,” “migrant,” “homeless,” “runaway,” or “Head Start participant,” then all children are eligible for free meals and the applicant should not be prompted to enter household income.

 

Questions Relating to Required Fields
What if an applicant’s income fluctuates throughout the year?

Program participants can reapply during the school year if their income changes. At the time of the application eligibility is based upon current income.

 

Can we assume that all children live in the same household as the applicant?

Only one application is required for each household. Therefore, any child listed on the application is taken as a member living within the same household as the applicant.

 

What is the definition of a household in this application?

Household means a group of related or nonrelated individuals, who are not residents of an institution or boarding house, but who are living as one economic unit (Jan 1 2015 CFR, 245.2).

 

How is the city/state zip code information used?

Districts may use this for validation, contacting households, or other purposes.

 

Questions Relating to Saving and Exporting of Application Data
You mentioned that saving was a requirement, is there a requirement to create login/session storage for users to retrieve applications they have completed/submitted?

Your responsibility as the designer of the application is to “Include a way to capture, save, and export the completed web-based form responses” this is in reference to later retrieval by the district. Districts may modify the application for their own use, and they will decide how to give applicants return access to applications. Creating applicant login/sessions and retrieval is not required for this competition.

 

In order for the district to export the data, does there need to be a holding area between form and export (like a database or emailed form contents) or can the form submission button go immediately to export? 

Your responsibility as the designer of the application is to “Include a way to capture, save, and export the completed web-based form responses”. It would be wise to save the responses in some form of database for later retrieval by the district. Districts may modify the application for their own use, and they will decide how to give applicants return access to applications.

 

Does exporting responses refer to parents exporting responses for themselves to keep, or the school districts to export to export to a database, or both? 

Exporting responses refers to exporting for the school districts. However, as the requirement is to “Include a way to capture, save, and export the completed web-based form responses” it would be wise to also save the responses in some form of database for later retrieval.

 

Are you looking to only have the application to be solely online and not to print since it seems like exporting will be done by the school? Would the school need to print it post export at all?

You do not need to build in print functionality. You only need to save the record. The school may choose to add in the print functionality when modifying the application.

 

In the database, I think each school district should export only their data. Should I somehow ask for a school district's code? If so, where?

Thinking about the State and school district personnel's experience is a great idea. We believe that each State and district may desire the ability to customize such a field or function in the future, but your application does not have to worry about that for this iteration of the project.

 

Questions Relating to Submitting and Judging Criteria
When judging a submission, what are the most important things the judges will be looking for?

The judges will use the posted judging criteria to evaluate the submissions. Each criteria is weighted equally. The judging criteria are:

  • UX and Design Appeal Includes the degree to which the design reinvents the user experience of the form – focusing on usability, intuitiveness, and design appeal.
  • Effectiveness & Efficiency of Behavioral Prompts Does the design keep the user engaged through user prompts? Does the design guide the applicants through all required fields and reduce mistakes? Does it do so efficiently, with well-designed skip patterns to avoid asking unnecessary questions?
  • Implementation of Form Requirements Includes the extent to which the design adheres to the set of form and field requirements presented.
  • Application Code Documentation & Implementation Includes the completeness and efficiency of the application documentation and code.
  • Demonstration of Testing and Debugging Includes the extent to which user testing and debugging was performed and demonstrated within the submission.

 

What’s the weighting for that criteria?

The judging criteria are equally weighted.

 

If we submit our project early, will you run through the different requirement scenarios to verify it is correct and if not, will you notify us?

No, we will review your submission to confirm that you meet all eligibility requirements listed in the rules (meaning you included all required fields, have a video, have open sourced using the MIT License, etc.), however we will not test to verify that it performs correctly for all use scenarios. If we find an issue that will affect your basic eligibility we will contact you to tell you what is missing.

 

What does “code documentation” mean? Commenting code, providing a ReadMe? Or separate docs?

We have not placed specific requirements on what code documentation is necessary, but you should aim to document so that a developer such as yourself could understand your code easily. You can do that by commenting or providing any other additional documents that you think are necessary.

 

Can we use any publically available code & modify according?

Yes, you can use publicly available or open sourced code as long as you are following any terms or limitations set on the usage. You can also use any APIs or data you choose as long as you also adhere to the usage policies for those tools. Also, be sure to review the Intellectual Property section of the Rules page as it states that, “by entering the Hackathon you represent, warrant, and agree that your Submission meets” the requirements listed within the section that includes the code you choose to use.

 

Do you also judge code format/clarity? So other Dev can easily understand the code.

Yes, there is a judging criterion that looks at code: Application Code Documentation & Implementation Includes the completeness and efficiency of the application documentation and code.

 

Can I submit multiple (with different favor of style, etc.)?

Yes, you can submit more than one submission, however, each submission must be unique and substantially different from any other submission entered by the you or your team. Whether your multiple submissions are unique, will be determined at the discretion of the Poster and/or the Administrator.

  

Does it have to be a RESPONSIVE design?

There is no requirement that your web app must be responsive to different device screen sizes. The main platform requirement is that the web-based form must run in a desktop web browser. It is very possible that the end users of your application may view the application on a mobile device, so being responsive is nice, but it is not a requirement.

 

Can we also make a mobile version as that is becoming the dominant form of web viewing?

Yes, you may make a mobile version of your application. The main platform requirement is that the web-based form must run in a desktop web browser. It is very possible that the end users of your application may view the application on a mobile device, so you may include that as well, but it is not a requirement.

 

What fidelity of prototype expecting? Do we need full validation?

 The prototype should gather all of the required field information, but it does not to validate the eligibility of the applicant. The main goal of this competition is to rethink the design of the online form so that all data is captured as easily and intuitively for the user as possible. We do not expect you to become experts in the program rules, but your application should at minimum gather all required information.

 

Are there specific browser support requirements?

Not specifically, the requirement is that the web-based form must run in a desktop web browser, but your eligibility will not be affected by which browsers you support. We would encourage you to include support for the most recent versions of popular browsers (Chrome, Firefox, IE, Safari).

 

Questions Relating to User Testing
Should we worry about security/pen testing or just usability and functionality testing?

You don’t need to worry about meeting any signature or pin number security testing. The testing we are encouraging (and including in the judging criteria) relates to testing for the effectiveness of the form as well as how well the form works. The judging criteria relating to this is: Demonstration of Testing and Debugging Includes the extent to which user testing and debugging was performed and demonstrated within the submission.

  

How can we demonstrate testing and debugging, would logging bugs in github be enough or do we need to have actual users enters sample data?

How you show that that user testing was completed and feedback was provided is up to you. You can have your testers complete the Feedback Questionnaire to include in your submission, include feedback in your demo video or text description, or provide it in some other way.

 

Do you have any suggestions about how to access low income usability participants for usability testing?

Testing does not need to be limited to low income usability participants. As we’ve noted previously, those who apply for and utilize school meals programs are very diverse. We would encourage you to do usability testing on those you know to get feedback on the design, flow, and effectiveness of your application.

  

Miscellaneous Questions
Because of the growth of the U.S. Hispanic population, should we also make the form available in Spanish?

Once a prototype is finalized, USDA will ensure that all proper translations are available for States and districts. So, you do not need to provide translations.

 

How can I get a copy of the study that the presenter just mentioned?

The second Access, Participation, Eligibility, and Certification study is publically available here: http://www.fns.usda.gov/nslpsbp-access-participation-eligibility-and-certification-study-ii

 

If we are chosen as the winner, are we required to serve as a consultant of our work should developers use our project in the future?

No, if you are chosen as a winner there are no further requirements to your participation in this project.

 

Is there a particular USDA logo we should be using?

No. In fact, the USDA logo should not be included within your application. 

    

Will you check if the application is duplicated? If so, how?

You don't have to worry about duplicate applications. Checking for duplicates is the kind of thing that a school district will do when modifying the application and incorporating it into its own online system.