Up Next

Transforming how young Americans engage with the government.

Roles: Product Manager, UX Lead, Researcher



The White House wanted to create a centralized portal to help more young Americans get connected with the federal programs designed to help them, like federal student aid, and healthcare.


We conducted user research with high school and college students across the country, and partnered with the Department of Education and Federal Student Aid to better understand the programs offered.

  • 88% of teens have a cell phone or smartphone
  • 90% of those with phones exchange text messages
  • 30 is the typical number of texts teens receive per day
  • 92% of teens go online every day

Surprisingly, awareness of the programs wasn’t the issue. Students knew "how to google," as they put it. The challenge was sifting through massive amounts of information to find a real answer.

Images created by Nour Tabet


Realizing that a portal wasn’t needed, we created an SMS messaging service called Up Next with the purpose of reminding students what to do, how to do it and—most importantly—when.

All a user needs is a mobile number to sign up. Then, after answering a few simple questions, Up Next does the rest. When it’s time for a task to be completed, a text is sent to the user’s phone. Each text links the user to details on Up Next’s responsive, Drupal-driven website. The page explains what the task is, why it’s important and how to get it done. 

To date, Up Next is the first anticipatory text-based digital service from the Federal government.


Up Next was received well by students and had over fifty thousand registrations within three months. Unfortunately, the service was discontinued at the end of the Obama administration.


Wired Magazine, December 2015