The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) is the state’s principal economic development agency. DEED programs promote business recruitment, expansion, and retention, international trade, workforce development, and community development.
DEED was awarded a contract by the Department of Labor to develop a web application that allowed people interested in changing careers to find careers that utilize skills closely matched to their current or past job. Because the site’s main functionality had to accommodate an audience with a 6th-grade reading level, ease of use and understanding were of paramount concern. After a first release, Perficient was brought in to design and test a number of new advanced features considered for development.
In addition, the team had been tasked with adapting the application for use by “tertiary audiences”, and DEED wanted research to indicate if/how those audiences would use the application.
Our initial investigation into the requirements uncovered a number of uncertainties regarding direction, priorities and implementation details. Team members had already created detailed design mockups without a clear understanding of user needs and goals. By stepping back and taking an iterative approach to design, we were able to strip out a number of proposed feature complexities to keep the application as focused and simple as possible.
We also conducted several rounds of usability testing and user feedback sessions to make key decisions about design details and feature prioritization. Our testing sessions revealed some foundational comprehension issues, for which we provided re-tested design revision recommendations that performed better. The client was very pleased with the amount of user feedback incorporated into the process with no impact to project release schedules.
We also conducted user interviews for the tertiary audiences, created personas that fleshed out the user types, and provided detailed analysis and strategic recommendations. With this research, DEED was able to conclude that development for these audiences was a low priority, and had the support for that decision to show to the Department of Labor.
Business Value Delivered