top of page

U.S. Department of Labor -Website Redesign

This case study demonstrates ways in which the United States Department of Labor's website could be redesigned to better serve American workers. By reconstructing the information architecture of the site, streamlining usability, and enabling users to quickly retrieve relevant data, my team believes that our design for the Department of Labor (DOL) website could substantially improve the user experience, and thus promote worker health, safety, and efficacy.

Project Overview

Challenge

The U.S. Department of Labor website houses critical information for American workers and employers, but its design is difficult to navigate effectively. Workers need a better way to access critical information.

Solution

In this case study, my team redesigned the website to improve aesthetics, promote data retrievability, and emphasize the most frequently used resources.

Impact

By smoothing the paths to access critical labor information, our design can help protect and improve quality of life for American workers.

Role

User researcher, UX designer

Time

4 weeks

Task

Redesign a government website

Tools

Figma, Miro, Google Drive, InVision

Empathy

Research and Understanding

My team created a proto-persona, Dee, and established four core information retrieval tasks to perform on the DOL website: workers’ compensation, FMLA eligibility, OSHA guidelines, and information on holiday pay. Some of these tasks were difficult to complete on the DOL website, while others were actually outside the scope of the organization, and required the user to navigate to a different agency's site entirely.

We also conducted a thorough heuristic analysis, noting issues with information architecture, walls of text, retrievability, design consistency, and other usability issues. In combination with our proto-persona and initial testing, this analysis formed the basis for much of our redesign.

Successful flow - finding OSHA posters

user flow USDOL.png

Unsuccessful flow - holiday pay

user flow 2 USDOL.png
Empathy

Definition

Defining the Problem

My team and I conducted usability tests on the live version of the DOL website, based around completing one of the four user paths we defined. Our goal was to identify points of friction or confusion during the process of accessing critical labor information - to this effect, we recruited seven initial testers to navigate the website, and identified common complaints.

ivw stickies USDOL .png
USDOL sticky 2.png
USDOL sticky 1.png
USDOL sticky 5.png
USDOL sticky 4.png
USDOL sticky 3.png

The most critical problems to address were:

  • Important links were hard to locate

  • Using a search engine is more convenient than navigating the site

  • Even within the site, the search bar is more convenient than the navigation

  • The archive of forms is massive and overwhelming

  • Navigating between internal section of the site is unintuitive

Project Goals and Priorities

For a successful redesign, we would need to propose a site with information architecture that made it superior to a general-use search engine, with highly retrievable and discoverable information on critical labor issues, and with a modern structure that can support easy navigation back and forth between different parts of the site. At the same time, we needed to preserve the DOL site's role as an archive of forms, documents, and referrals to best support workers searching for obscure information - not just those with common issues. After all, the Department of Labor is not an algorithmically-driven social media site; it needs to be a library of resources, in addition to an accessible and efficient support system.

Definiton
Ideation

Ideation

Brainstorming and Feature Prioritization

With a clear initial understanding of the core issues of the DOL website and a defined set of goals, we could begin to ideate solutions.

Initially, we organized our testing responses along two axes: Importance to users on the X axis, and importance to the DOL on the Y axis.

DOL x User priorities.jpg

The responses in the upper-right quadrant were important to both the users of the DOL website, as well as the Department of Labor itself.

Some key issues to address:

  • Clarifying the scope of the DOL; e.g., its relationship to workers' compensation claims

  • Provide a smoother experience than Googling questions and topics

  • Improve information architecture

  • Clarify links and menus

Some other comments from the upper-left and lower-right quadrants also had enough value to consider:

  • Ease the experience of using the Forms page

  • Emphasize scrolling (rather than header menus) on mobile

  • Make links stand out, rather than hiding them within blocks of text

  • Provide better breadcrumbs to indicate where users are within the site

However, a few topics were outside the scope of a website redesign, for our project's purposes - and other topics were too low-priority for both the user and the Department of Labor to spend extensive time on.

  • Improving the search function is outside the scope of design

  • Allowing users to file forms online would be convenient, but would require coordination with government agencies to deploy

  • Providing a more convenient experience than Google, one of the most popular search engines, is difficult - but more direct might be possible

Value Proposition

change this image

philredmandesign header.png

xxx

Pain Relievers

- xxx

Gain Creators

- xxx

Products & Services

- xxx

Prototyping

Site Map Evaluation

After evaluating the site, we inventoried the site and made cards for each navigation option. These were originally sorted into primary, secondary and tertiary groups. 

 

We then scrambled the cards, and sorted the site navigation options into what users and we, the group members, found to be the most expected pathways through the site.

 

This new site organization went through several iterations until we felt satisfied that the new site navigation would address most if not all of the users issues during our user tests. Highlights from the original site vs. our sorting are shown below.

Original site map
original site map.png
Card-sorted site map
new site map.png
Final proposed site map
site map DOL.png

Sketches

xxx

Mid-Fi Prototype

xxx

Prototyping

Testing

Mid-Fi Testing

xxx

Ideation, Part 2+

xxx

preso s11 - lo-fi sketches 3.png
preso s13 - midfi prototype 3.png
s47 - hifi mobile 1.png

xxx

A Figma app prototype with unattached sections and minimal organization
A Figma app prototype with numerous connecting noodles, notes in magenta text, and new sections
Testing

Hi-Fi & Final Thoughts

Hi-Fi Prototype

xxx

preso s1 s15 - AR opener.png
preso s1 s15 - mobile landing.png

Next Steps

xxx

Final Thoughts

xxx

Hi-Fi & Final Thoughts
bottom of page