U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Careers Web Site
The challenges laid out in the project brief for this site included differentiated messaging to six separate audience groups (physicians, nurses, and administrators, among them) with hiring opportunities spread throughout the country.
Correcting preconceptions many candidates have about working for the VA was an integral objective.
Solutions included audience self-categorization and a searchable map with current openings.
About the color red?
That was an unexpected usability test finding. The original design direction was based on a red, white and blue color palette with red featured prominently in the home page hero graphic.
Although patriotic, it turns out that red has very specific connotations in the medical community which the design team had not anticipated. As one test subject noted, “In the medical profession, red is considered a bad thing. Blood, alarming.”
By testing a design prototype, we were able to correct the color palette ahead of development and create a site that has won several awards:
- Gold W3 Award
- Gold Aster Award in Healthcare Advertising
- Communicator Awards Award of Excellence
Tasks & Deliverables
- Content audit
- Site map
- Usability testing
Similar Projects & Clients
- U.S. Department of State
- Commonwealth of Massachusetts
- Cayman Island Dept of Tourism
- City of Newport
Content Audit spreadsheet
1. Page hierarchy and site structure
2. Features and functionality
3. In-line and right-rail calls-to-action matrix
Site map with call-out for key home page modules. Wireframe templates have also been assigned in this final iteration of the site map.
Wireframes – Sample Screens
1. Home page wireframe showing stacked, CMS-friendly, modules prioritizing page content based on client’s communication goals.
2. Interactive map of current job postings.
3. Audience self-selection allowed for targeted, granular communication.
4. Career event calendar with iCal and map integration.
Note: Unless the project parameters dictate otherwise, I intentionally keep wireframes rough and low-fidelity. I have found over the years that higher-fidelity wireframes tend to prematurely lock-in visuals and create unnecessary design contraints. Competent visual/UI designers are best left with broader creative freedom and high-fidelity wireframes tend to lead to unintended design decisions.
Personas – Sample Screens
1. Biography and flavor quote
2. Key traits mapped to sliding scale
3. Platform affinity
4. Relevant behaviors and beliefs
5. Persona’s information needs
6. Core site objectives directly related to persona
7. Relevant content goals
Screen shot of Content Goals Matrix
Usability Test Findings Report – Sample Screens
Task success summary. It should be noted that although usability testing is a qualitative tool, simple summaries of task success/fail rates can help drive recommendations and build consensus around usability issues and challenges.
Sample observations from a single user task gleaned from 10 usability test sessions.