Target Audience Research and Design Recommendations

2011-14, Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE)

Project Summary | My Role | Highlights

Project Summary

In early 2014, the Department of the Interior (DOI) launched a site redesign and migration to a new Drupal Platform as a Service (PaaS) model. The proposed new model would provide a content management system and hosting platform for the agency and its nine sub-agencies, including the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE). The BSEE was selected to be the first sub-agency to migrate to the new web platform because it had already identified a need to enhance the overall design and information architecture of its website and the new platform provided an opportunity to accelerate their acquisition process.

To meet their original site enhancement goals, the BSEE Office of Public Affairs (OPA), which manages the official website of the Bureau, put out a RFP to assess the current site, identify the target audience, and obtain recommendations for improvement prior to the migration effort.

My Role:

  • I worked with the proposal team to craft a User-Centered design (UCD) approach that included user-research and the development of personas (and proto-personas) to guide design recommendations for a website modernization effort.
  • I performed a content inventory that included,, and, five social media accounts, and an internal web-based portal.
  • I lead and performed the UX Research; performing interviews, focus groups, card sorts, social media and online news monitoring, and metrics (Google Analytics and analysis and monitoring.
  • I managed the customer relationship and debriefed leadership on project status.
  • I developed recommendations which included: branding and style guidance, wire-frames for major content types, usability and accessibility requirements, content creation and management guidance, and a digital strategy and measurement plan.
  • I partnered with a graphic designer to create a sample homepage that was adopted by the customer.


  • I developed an access database to manage the content inventory this allowed me to:
    • Connect (and visualize) content and users types, workflows, and usage patterns.
    • Capture and report current site issues as well as document future recommendations.
    • Capture and document field attributes of unstructured data (for future implementation as structured data).
    • Capture and document content owners, developers, reviewers, and their publication workflows
    • Leverage automated scanning tools (using URL these could be automatically cross referenced with content).
    • Integrate site analytic data with content information.
  • I used social media and online news monitoring to augment user research; this allowed us to understand user groups that we could not identify (because it is a public site), or survey/interview due to policy concerns/restrictions.
  • I connected Personas to incident response activities, identifying content desired by users when incidents occur, as incidents develop, and after incidents conclude.
  • Customer and I worked together to document the effort in a lecture submission to the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 2018 Annual Conference (not accepted). Our hope was to share BSEE’s success, and our strategies, with other human factors practitioners and government agencies.
    • Customer reported handing my materials to development team and successfully using it as a project plan and design guide for the effort.
    • Customer reports that he and his team rely on the persona set to develop internal and external communications.

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