Washington State Department of Transportation Public Website Redesign

Paving the Way for a Better Digital Experience for the Traveling Public

The Problem

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,, 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 This resulted in outdated information and a frustrating experience for users who found the site difficult to navigate and hard to understand the content.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 Solution

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 Old, outdated content was removed, and the entire website was downsized to a much smaller, manageable footprint with improved search functionality.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 solution included:

Branding and design strategy

Creating a cohesive look and feel for the website.

Content Strategy

Improving the content on the website with 30 content editors and 5 content leads while defining new processes.

Information Architecture

Recommendations for six sections of the website

Project Meetings

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.

Digital Accessibility

Accessibility audits throughout the development phase, and usability studies with people with disabilities

User Research

7 user research activities gathering feedback from over 2,000 users

The Impact

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.


“Congrats on the new website! The new seamless mapping program is especially useful. To anyone who envisioned this, approved it and worked on it – a big thank you.”

— Member of general public

“I’m loving the new map, especially being able to see mileposts and save locations. I've also played with the new map on my phone. I love the user interface!”

— Member of general public


User Research

  1. Mobile and desktop testing
  2. Usability studies
  3. UX concept study and wireframe study

UX Design

  1. Design and branding strategy
  2. Design system in github
  3. Expert UX evaluation
  4. Functional prototype
  5. Low fidelity wireframes
  6. Screen flow

Organizational Change Management

  1. Communication plan of internal and external messages and tactics
  2. Confirmation and documentation of owners of all pages in information architecture
  3. Established backlog and prioritization playbook
  4. Key informant interviews and summary
  5. Go live support
  6. Governance support and roadmap
  7. Resourcing assessment and recommendations

Content strategy

  1. Card sort study
  2. Content audit
  3. Content improvement workplan and support
  4. Content modeling
  5. Customized Writing for the Web training and materials
  6. Governance plan and training
  7. Information architecture
  8. Tree test study


  1. Customized training
  2. Quality assurance training
  3. Usability study with users of assistive technology

Facts & Figures

  1. 2,000 Users provided feedback and tested the redesign before going live
  2. 27 Point improvement for the website system usability score (going from grade F to A)
  3. 6% Increase in visitors using a mobile device to access the website post-launch
  4. 3.5 million Visitors had an optimized mobile experience post-launch
  5. 1,600+ Comments were received and responded to, helping us prioritize enhancements to the new site