Merging Content, UX Principles and More
I worked with Connecticut Digital Services (CTDS), a division of BITS (Bureau of Information Technology Services) for a 12 month contract. My role was to enhance content, website copy and also perform subject area research. This was an exciting opportunity to work in the government sector. My role in content development expanded and evolved over various related areas such as:
UX writing and design principles
user journey mapping
authenticated user experience
Unlike the private sector, the priority was placed on user engagement and related KPI actions (e.g. click throughs, sign-ups, time-on-page, visits etc.) versus conversions, sales, profit and ROI.
Content Development For the Public Sector
Enterprise-level content development was a critical effort within this general aim. Members of the public were often frustrated by government sites, unable to understand or find the information they needed.
For various state agencies and areas (listed in the infographic above), my responsibilities included:
research (i.e. laws, statutes, events) and fact-checking
content and UX writing
content gap analysis
An important part of my work involved mapping the user's journey within the development of content. Constituents often experience frustration when content is hard to understand. They don't get what they need from the government. Many readers are from less educated backgrounds with poor digital literacy. Or English is not their first language.
A significant part of my work involved organizating information around the user's thought processes
What exact information are they looking for?
What is their natural flow of thought which underlies their expectations?
What pain points are they trying to solve?
What barriers impede their understanding?
Sometimes this involved streamlining language and re-organizing facts into an easy, logical flow. Other times, this involved collaborating with the design and UX departments.
Business One Stop (Content Refresh)
I invested this level of effort for the state's Business One Stop site. This project started with a site-wide content-audit of all the pages to identify areas where the content was difficult or confusing. I also wrote articles and website copy based new topics, especially when it came to new legislation or new programs (e.g. business relief and support).
I identified many opportunities to enhance the site. This included new pages devoted to important topics such as:
Employer do's and don't (for employees) during COVID-19
Basics on Unemployment Insurance (how to works, what employers need to know, employee qualifications)
The state's new retirement benefits program
I also continuously updated the business resource page to help companies find help for funding, COVID relief and more. I discovered a wealth of resources available from the state, quasi-public organizations as well as private companies.
I was given the green-light to collaborate with the design and UX team to reorganize and rewrite this page to highlight amazing, helpful resources that might have been otherwise difficult for businesses to find. I was also given the opportunity to present my work at a CTDS company standup, as a major milestone win.
Connecticut DMV Website Refresh Project
Additionally, I was given the role as the content lead for our team to work on the state's DMV website refresh project. This was a massive effort led by their partner vendor, Deloitte.
The laws, rules and processes were provided entirely on the site. A big challenge was that much of this content was extremely detailed, technical and hard for regular people to understand.
Our team worked systemmatically with both the DMV and Deloitte to alleviate these pain-points through rigorous fact-checking, language simplification, content reorganization and implementing SEO best practices (which I researched culled and drafted (specifically for the DMV's needs). I also reported on our efforts through daily and weekly scrums.
Along the way, I also developed internally processes and easy-to-understand instructions for our team to follow.
Identifying relevant data insights was an important requirement to drive decisions. This was a major priority in our efforts to continuously improve the state's COVID-19 portal on a monthly basis.
We were given weekly Google Analytic reports provided by our partner NIC. This data included insights on
top viewed pages
most searched for terms on the site (what are users looking for)
number of clicks on page containers and elements
number of chat opens
statistics on content tags (which topics are users most interested in)
Based on this data (and my experience with Google Analytics and data analysis in the past) was able to lead the team's efforts to consolidate our colllective insights, finding new opportunities for improving the site's content, UX experience and design.
I helped team-mates come up with new topics aligned with the most recent COVID trends, design recommendations, schema markup improvements, and navigation suggestions. I also streamlined these efforts by setting up collaborative tables, workflows and work delegation in Confluence.
Additionally, for our DMV work, the Director of Communications at this agency asked us to come up with more advanced metrics (beyond the basic ones that she was already familiar with) for the Power BI dashboard that our data specialist was creating for them.
My supervisor didn't have time to thoroughly research new API's and metrics. Besides leading our team, he was also responsible for handling the intake needs of all the state's agencies and contributing to the development of CT's all-digital government (online).
As the other main point of contact for her, I took the initiative of conducting this research. My starting point was identifying the main responsibility of the DMV to offer an easy and seamless experience for users. In addition to our focus on revising, editing, updating and reorganizing their content, I also thought of ways to help the DMV pinpoint design, functionality and other areas where users get stuck.
I researched the capabilities of new tools such as Heap.io which organizes data using a unique proprietary approach that allows the SaaS tool to identify very specific trouble areas (e.g. specific buttons and processes). I also identified useful offerings provided by Hotjar (e.g. video tool, heat maps, forms etc.) and also Google Analytics/ GA4 (e.g. scrolling metric, user journey reporting)
Furthermore, I researched relevant capabilties provided by Google Search Console and SEM Rush to help the DMV understand their ranking positions for major topics, search terms used and also competitor ranking metrics.