The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) provides safe, reliable, and cost-effective transportation options to improve communities and economic vitality for Washingtonians. The public website, wsdot.wa.gov, is critical to the agency’s accountability, transparency, and community engagement efforts and had not been updated in 15 years. This resulted in outdated information and a frustrating experience for users who found the site difficult to navigate and hard to understand the content. With an average of 75,000 daily users – and over 400,000 daily users during major weather events – WSDOT is the most visited website among Washington state government websites, making this a project that would have a large impact on the public.
The newly redesigned WSDOT website is a vast improvement that allows users to find what they are looking for and understand what they find. Old, outdated content was removed, and the entire website was downsized to a much smaller, manageable footprint with improved search functionality. Additionally, the website is accessible to all users from any device. Our solutions included:
Branding & Design Strategy
Creating a cohesive look and feel for the website.
Improving the content on the website with 30 content editors and 5 content leads while defining new processes.
Recommendations for six sections of the website.
Monthly project status updates and collaborative planning with steering committee.
Training & Coaching
A governance plan complete with training, accessibility training, and a highly customized Writing for the Web class and refresher trainings for WSDOT employees.
Accessibility audits throughout the development phase, and usability studies with people with disabilities.
Seven user research activities gathering feedback from over 2,000 users.
By spreading awareness and adoption of the human-centered approach with teams at WSDOT, we modeled how to understand customer needs and better serve information and tools that support safe travel. Transferring knowledge in Human-Centered Design (HCD) to employees has ensured that the future maintenance of the WSDOT public website is done incrementally by employees practicing HCD after our engagement ends.
The new website radically improves the way information is organized and how people complete their tasks – taking it from an organizational-centric structure to a user-centered design, focused on what the users want and need. Content on the site was reduced from more than 14,000 pages to less than 2,000, and a clear content layout was put in place. We improved the website system usability score by 27 points, from grade F to A. It is accessible on any device and users can find the important travel information they need quickly and efficiently without frustration.