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NextGen WaterAlert is out!

Was our launch successful? What's next?

Date Posted October 18, 2022 Last Updated April 23, 2024
Author Nicole Felts
Matt Rhoads
Reading Time 2 minutes Share

Our team is pleased to announce that the transition from Legacy WaterAlert to NextGen WaterAlert is complete! Access NextGen WaterAlert now!

WaterAlert is a near real-time hydrologic alerting system. It can be used to set custom alerts to monitor stream, lake, and coastal conditions at USGS monitoring locations across the nation. NextGen WaterAlert is replacing a legacy version of WaterAlert which was first released in 2011. The NextGen version is the product of 12 months of user-centered design and development. Read more about the transition, feedback, and enhancements below.

Transition

The WaterAlert transition period ran from 8/15/22 through 9/30/22. The primary goal for this period was to migrate users of Legacy WaterAlert to NextGen WaterAlert. We collected and monitored user feedback to help users through the process, identify areas for improvement, and address issues.

At transition close, NexGen WaterAlert accumulated 18,844 total users:

  • 12,496 migrated users
  • 6,348 new users added
  • 30,387 alerts created or migrated

Feedback

During the transition, roughly 750 user feedback notes and support requests were fielded by the team. In aggregate, this feedback helped our team:

  • Correct stale data in hourly alerts
  • Troubleshoot database pagination issues
  • Refine instructional material and FAQs

The direct user feedback allowed our team to triage issues and push fixes while the transition was unfolding. This avoided service disruption and helped NextGen WaterAlert smoothly scale as users migrated into the system.

Enhancements

The combined feedback also provided valuable insight into our user’s immediate needs, identifying features which enhance NextGen WaterAlert’s usability:

  • Changes to email and text alert formatting to improve readability
  • Adjustments to the login process for public users and USGS workers
  • Conversion of alert timestamp from UTC to local monitoring location time

Our team was able to take this list of enhancements and quickly integrate them into NextGen WaterAlert during and shortly after the transition period. The tight feedback loop was a key factor that allowed our team to rapidly iterate and deliver enhancements to improve NextGen WaterAlert functionality. This highlights the success of user-centered design and agile development.

Next Steps

At this time, NextGen WaterAlert is delivering thousands of alerts every day to users all across the nation. The transition and release was largely successful due to our team’s ability to capitalize on useful user feedback.

Our team is dedicated to the long term, continous improvement of NextGen WaterAlert. Users are at the center of this design process. If readers have any ideas or feedback, email us: gs_w_waterdata_support@usgs.gov. We continue to log your feedback, as it helps us prioritize future steps for this service. Check the blog for future updates!

For users interested in participating in testing of new products or features, email wdfn_usabilitytesting@usgs.gov

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