Improving the information architecture of consumerfinance.gov to serve the needs all consumers


Research Synthesis

From our findings, I created cards to help us quickly and easily reference key points and better consider the varying financial mindsets consumers may be in when visiting consumerfinance.gov. The cards were passed out during meetings with stakeholders from several departments across The Bureau.

To begin work on consumerfinance.gov's information architecture (IA), I worked with a team of designers to gather relevant research documents and usability testing reports from across The Bureau. Individually reading through the documents, we gathered key insights and then participated in team sessions to discuss findings and identify larger trends that might help inform our work.


content audit

To develop a deeper understanding of content on consumerfinance.gov, each designer on the team contributed to a content audit of all consumer- and intermediary-facing pages on the site. I surveyed several pages and recorded information such as the page’s purpose, content format(s), intended audience, and visual brand alignment. The audit helped our team assess gaps and redundancies in the content and determine potential placement of the content in the new information architecture. It also helped us brainstorm possible ways to categorize and tag pieces of content. 


Design + User testing

During the course of our project, the UX designers conducted testing, including interviews, card sorts, tree tests, and usability test sessions. For testing, I prepared design files, gathered supplies, printed materials, took notes, did in-room observations, and handled other in-person tasks to assist my team and gain an up-close understanding of the testing process. After testing sessions, the team discussed findings and created a backlog of design improvements.

Entering the design phase, each designer drafted a direction for the new IA, considering which pages would live in the main menu. The UX designers went on to develop and test the IA. 

We also brainstormed money topic “portal” pages, and I created sketches and wireframes to determine aspects such as content placement and paths to related pages. After determining a basic structure, I created pages in the Wagtail (consumerfinance.gov's content management system) as well as an alternate design layout in Illustrator for usability testing. 


Photography Concepting + art direction

After each concept was decided, I worked with the Multimedia team to execute a photoshoot by gathering props, choosing models, and art directing 11 shots, among other aspects. 

To finish the photography project, I did all post-production work and incorporated the images into page designs. 

I am currently creating a library of images and a tagging system to enable the easy use of the photos in future project work.

Because the portals serve consumers in varying financial states, we explored photography for the main visual area of each page to ensure the right visual tone was created. I researched external photography and advertising approaches, gathered inspiration, developed a strategy, and created presentations to socialize the visual approach with stakeholders. 

I then created photography mockups for 11 money topics and worked directly with editorial staff to ensure the message of each visual was reflective of the page’s content goals and The Bureau’s key messaging for each money topic. 


ILLUSTRATION

While developing pages to live in the new IA, I created an assortment of illustrations.

Screen Shot 2017-08-22 at 3.56.25 PM.png
retirement.png

Page creation

After finishing page testing and artwork creation, I built multiple pages in Wagtail, conducted quality assurance testing by viewing and navigating pages in different browsers, and offered guidance to our team's front-end developer regarding any needed design changes. 


Pattern refinement

While developing portal pages, I assessed web patterns currently available in Wagtail and whether or not they were meeting page needs. I worked to improve a web pattern called the featured content module. I led this exploration by outlining project goals, organizing and leading a weekly meeting with several designers, conducting an audit of the pattern's current use on the site, and creating a new design. The pattern is currently being AB tested to determine its effectiveness.