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Feedback Driven Development: July New, Tip, and Top

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Last month, Margaret highlighted the work of four of our colleagues in the Congressional Research Service (CRS). Just a year ago she announced the big news that we added 30,000 bills and resolutions from 1799-1873 to as part of our goal to expand the historical content on the site.

The team continuously receives feedback on ways to improve the site. We receive feedback across a variety of channels, such as comments to this blog, tweets to @Congressdotgov, from the webinars, the virtual public forums we have hosted, and most frequently from the “Site Feedback” link that is towards the top right across the site. We then aggregate all of this into our feedback repository, which helps guide our development decisions.

Sometimes it is a request for additional historical content and sometimes it relates to more efficient search tools for our power users. The focus of today’s release helps with both of these requests. At our Virtual Public Forum we were asked to add addition historical content to the hearing transcripts on the site. We worked to add additional previous congresses and with today’s release we have now added those hearing transcripts to our Browse pages under the Committees section.

We have also received feedback on our Quick Search Form. There has always been a Legislation and Law Numbers box where people can put in bill numbers. But sometimes users are in a hurry and put a bill number in the Words & Phrases box. With today’s update, if you put a bill number in the Words & Phrases box you will now be able to quickly get to that bill.

We also worked to improve the user experience for the citation fields across the Quick Search Form. If you put a keyword in, it will guide you to use the proper format and provide examples of bill and public law citations if, for example, you are typing in the Legislation and Law Numbers box on the Legislation search. This saves you from clicking search, getting no results, and then needing to figure out that you put keywords in the numbers box.

The Quick Search Form on expanded
The updated Quick Search Form with the new text to “Please use proper format” to guide users to successful citation searches


The following are the enhancements for July.

Enhancement – Search

  • Examples are displayed above search boxes on all homepage search forms, remaining visible as you enter your search terms, and improving navigation for screen readers.
  • A single bill or resolution number entered in the proper format in the Words & Phrases box on the Legislation search form will go directly to the corresponding bill or resolution page.
  • When using the Legislation and Law Numbers box an error message displays below the box if you search a number in an unrecognized format. Move your cursor over the icon at the end of the message to see a tooltip on acceptable number formats.
  • Other search forms display an error message for unrecognized number searches including:
    • Legislation Text – Legislation Numbers
    • Committee Reports – Report Numbers; Legislation and Law Numbers
    • Nominations – PN Numbers
    • House Communications – Communication Numbers
    • Senate Communications – Communication Numbers
    • Treaty Documents – Treaty Documents Numbers; Executive Report Numbers

Enhancement – Hearing Transcripts – Browse Tip is a user-centered designed website. Our two primary user experience designers are Fred Simonton and Zac Long. One way that we better understand user needs is through feedback. Share your feedback with us including how you think we could improve the website.

Most-Viewed Bills

The following are the most-viewed bills for the week of July 3, 2022.

1. S.2992 [117th] American Innovation and Choice Online Act
2. H.R.7688 [117th] Consumer Fuel Price Gouging Prevention Act
3. S.2938 [117th] Bipartisan Safer Communities Act
4. H.R.3755 [117th] Women’s Health Protection Act of 2021
5. H.R.7910 [117th] Protecting Our Kids Act
6. H.R.3967 [117th] Honoring our PACT Act of 2022
7. H.R.2471 [117th] Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022
8. S.2089 [117th] Keep Kids Fed Act of 2022
9. H.R.3684 [117th] Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act
10. S.3920 [117th] Gas Price Gouging Prevention Act

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  1. Not mentioned here, but changed in July, is the URL structure of articles in the Congressional Record: they no longer have date component numbers in them, but instead have volume numbers.

    This breaks features in a republished version of the Record.

    Why so little development on the Congressional Record by Can you add a way to excerpt long pages, especially in the Senate? Can you add some spacing between paragraphs? It’s not readable or useful as it is now, yet it’s the record of the Members themselves on the floor of their respective Chambers.

    Thank you,
    16,466 days

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