Plan and analyze. Write and design. Test and refine. As Web Manager for Usability.gov, I have found that taking a user-centered approach is vital each time you improve or build a digital product, especially when the content is about improving user experience.
In our recent reboot of Usability.gov we put our own advice to the test by evaluating the existing site and analyzing the extensive feedback on the concepts for the redesign. The new site has launched with expanded content, a fresh design, and more ways to get involved in the Usability.gov program moving forward.
Becoming More Useful
Our team pulled together some market research, analyzed the metrics, performed in-lab and remote usability testing, and leveraged feedback from surveys, focus groups, a card sort, and social media to find out what our current and potential users expect. We learned that although users found the content, templates, and guidelines helpful, they needed more.
As a result, we expanded the focus of the site with the goal to reintroduce it as the leading resource for user experience (UX) best practices. We added overviews, methods, resources, and glossary terms for the following content categories:
- Usability Evaluation
- User Research
- Information Architecture
- User Interface Design
- Interaction Design
- Content Strategy
- Visual Design
- Project Management
- Web Analytics
Creating an Engaging Design
The team also freshened up the look of the site and rethought the user interface. The team chose to go beyond responsive design and experimented in designing first for touch and swipe and then reverse engineered for the more traditional click and scroll. The tile design went through various testing and resulted in a design that has a default view of swipeable cards as well as the option for users to toggle to a more traditional list view, if preferred.
Ways to Get Involved
We also are trying to make Usability.gov a platform for active conversation. To that end, we’re inviting individuals to:
- Submit blogs for consideration
- Stay connected through Twitter and email updates
- Help update the Research-Based Web Design and Usability Guidelines
We’ve also connected with the First Fridays Usability Testing Program and the UX Community of Practice to help spread the word on ways federal digital teams can get involved with their program and use other government-specific UX resources.
So, have we built the site you need? Please let us know what you think.