The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is made up of 29 agencies and offices with nearly 100,000 employees who serve the American people at more than 4,500 locations across the country and abroad. USDA provides leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources, rural development, nutrition, and related issues based on public policy, the best available science, and effective management.
USDA is moving all of its public facing websites to the cloud and to the Drupal content management platform. Prior to moving all of its sites, the Office of Communications required improvements to the Information Architecture, development of a Taxonomy, and a new User Experience Design for USDA.gov.
To develop the new designs, we facilitated workshops at USDA with twelve key stakeholders, representing various agencies, to collectively design the new Taxonomy, Information Architecture, and User Experience. The workshops included education on best practices, persona development, goal definition, and creative exercises designed to engage participants in detailed discussions around the messaging, visitor journey, and experience design of the USDA.gov website.
Combining findings from the Workshops with content, audience, and background analysis and research, a set of U.S. Web Design Standards compliant, responsive wireframes were created that reflect an improved User Experience tied to audience needs. The wireframes included the use of the taxonomy topics to increase information scent and a mega menu to navigate the new Information Architecture and to surface promotional content. The project culminated in a detailed report of our findings that laid the foundation for USDA to begin work on implementation. The new site is scheduled to launch in March, 2017.