Role: UX Designer Intern (Remote)
Client: U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM)
Duration: September 2019 - April 2020
Methods & Tools: Discovery, Research, Brainstorm, Wireframe, & Prototype
Description: Designed a website that increased employee engagement by improving the way access information.
Breaking Down Silos at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM)
OPM wanted to increase engagement in the Open Opportunities program by using a microsite to highlight participant success stories.
With nearly 18,000 active users, Open Opportunities is a professional development platform that allows all federal employees to collaborate on projects and share skills across government.
A One-Stop-Shop to Remove Information Silos
1. Through the design and development of the microsite project, I advocated that information related to participant success stories should be integrated into the existing Open Opportunities website instead of a standalone microsite.
2. The Open Opportunities website feature information for both public and credentialed access. I advocated that participant stories should be included as part of the public facing information on Open Opportunities.
3. Reflecting on the marketing of the microsite and analyzing the user journey, driving engagement in the Open Opportunities program through a microsite proved to be confusing.
Understanding the landscape by learning about OPM's motivations for a microsite
1. Public Facing Microsite
2. Showcase Participant Stories
3. Not another bogged down government website
OPM has an archive of many wonderful stories of Open Opportunities participants, but they are limited to the newsletter, which is not publicly available.
With the microsite being positioned as something that would be used to attract prospective Open Opportunity participants, I was interested in learning more about brand identity, and storytelling.
How Do Government Organizations Brand Themselves?
Through Patriotic Palettes & As Information Powerhouses
Many sites included in my evaluation were dense. Clear information hierarchy, use of icons/infographics, and call to actions from the navigation were critical features of most sites.
What websites does OPM admire when it comes to storytelling & why?
Inspirational Copy & Large Visuals for an Immersive Experience
Using a personal and friendly tone, feature stories inspire users to want to engage with both the article and the featured service/product. Large images immersed users in the experience of the story.
You can't tell stories without providing context
Reviewing the sites from discovery, showed that in addition to stories, the microsite would need an about or contact page.
Breaking information silos through social connections
Initial ideas also looked at how the microsite could include a social element or collaborative space, connecting the public, prospective, and former Open Opportunities participants.
Initial Sitemap Sketch
Original Site Map
The original site map included a home, about, stories, connect and get involved page. The goals of the initial site map:
1. Highlight participant stories to show benefits of Open Opportunities
2. Educate users on how they could get involved with Open Opportunities
3. Provide context about the Open Opportunities program
Sketches & Wireframe
There was a cyclical process of design reviews and incorporating relevant feedback from internal stakeholders to include community members, developers, and management.
1. Addressed Security Concerns
The Connect Page was a security risk. It was removed replaced with a Forum Page where users could discuss specific program related topics. The Individual Story page included links to users contact information, which was removed. Expanding on the initial site map, iterations of the individual story page included context about get involved. The context was removed from the final concept, as it obstructed the primary goal of the individual story page.
Initial Individual Story Page
Iteration of Individual Story Page
Final Individual Stories Page Concept
2. Prioritize Articles from the Monthly Newsletters
The Blog Page was removed from the sub navigation under the Stories Page and became apart of the navigation to bring awareness to other topics from the newsletter
3. Provided context about communities within Open Opportunities
Within the Open Opportunities program, were different communities, where users could complete projects based on their affiliations. During the community manager's meeting, we discussed ways in which this information could be best presented to bring awareness on the About page.
Revisiting the Sitemap
Final Site Map
Major changes to the final site map included:
1. The Get Involved Page was reduced to an external link accessible from the navigation and home page.
2. The Blog Page featured stories from the monthly newsletter that prior to the microsite were not publicly available.
Designing a Hi-Fidelity Mockup
Creating A Visual Language to work in tandem with Open Opportunities website
I started with the Open Opportunities website and logo for color and typography. Using findings from my discovery about government websites brand identity, and feedback from OPM, I put the stories and participant photos to the forefront.
Buttons & Links
The Microsite relied on the Open Opportunities website
While the microsite provided users with an opportunity to learn about stories of Open Opportunities participants, ultimately they would have to be redirected to the Open Opportunities website to apply for the program.
Feedback & Evaluation
Critical to each iteration of the microsite was feedback, evaluation, and collaboration. As a remote team member, pre-Quarantine era, I presented my designs remotely, and would collaborate with team members to incorporate feedback from members physically present in the office.
Integrating the Microsite into Open Opportunities Proved to be Ideal
1. The User Journey on the Microsite was confusing
Users would need to go to the to the main Open Opportunities website to sign up for an opportunity, or learn about how to post opportunities.
2. The Microsite could not assume users already knew about Open Opportunities
However, including more context about Open Opportunities created redundancy between the Microsite and the Open Opportunities website.
3. The marketing of the Microsite made the distinction between Open Opportunities and the Microsite unclear.
The Microsite felt like an improvement to the Open Opportunities website. There wasn't a separate name or logo. Without a separate identity, how could you effectively direct users to the Open Opportunities website and the Microsite?
Orienting Users to Open Opportunities
With stories on the microsite coming from both individuals that participated in opportunities and those that posted opportunities, orienting the user to Open Opportunities by explaining how and why they could get involved.
Showing the benefits of the program
As a relatively new program, I highlighted the benefits of the Open Opportunities program through the lens of actual participants by leading with their inspirational quotes throughout the Story Pages.
Incorporating the Solution into the Open Opportunities website
My internship concluded before this project was migrated over to the Open Opportunities website. However, you can view how my solution to break down information silos, and advocating for a one-stop-shop was incorporated into the Open Opportunities website Home Page , Stories Landing Page, and Stories Subpage
Open Opportunities Homepage
Open Opportunities Stories Landing Page & Sub Page