U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS)
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Public Affairs (ASPA)
Digital Solutions Services (DSS)
Defining the Problem
Discovery & Research
During the initial discovery phase, the Bixal team interviewed stakeholders and subject matter experts (SMEs) along with new hires, long-time HHS employees and recent retirees. The information discovered during these interactions uncovered pain points related to posting, managing and promoting career-related content; finding jobs; and locating both retirement and employee benefits information. This research led to the creation of user stories that helped our team create a product roadmap, outlining our project vision.
In the codesign phase, we designed mockups for the HHS Careers homepage, Jobs List page and Job Detail page. The team identified that these pages needed updating to provide more value to visitors during the discovery phase. To end the codesign phase, we performed usability testing with stakeholders and employees to ensure their needs were being met.
During content strategy planning, the Bixal team used insights from the discovery and codesign phases to create a content model and governance plan. The purpose of the content model was to make sure users have access to the information they need and that its organization is both intuitive and user friendly. The purpose of the governance plan was to create procedures to guarantee the proper maintenance of the site.
During the development phase, we used the insights from the discovery, codesign and content strategy phases to develop a new Careers site. This site was a dynamic and centralized resource for HHS jobs and was able to guide visitors to appropriate application pages, recommend job postings, contact information, and additional information.
After the development of the site, the Bixal team completed a marketing implementation plan for HHS and OHR to reach targeted audiences, build brand awareness and drive more traffic to the career website’s content and resources. This plan included search engine marketing, search engine optimization and both social media and multimedia marketing. The features list was validated by both stakeholders and employees before our team moved to the design phase.
Interviewees saw their work as part of something bigger; thus, the #PartofSomethingBigger theme emerged. Our team designed a product around this theme, showcasing a mural of people coming together to form an object and corresponding copy highlighting the work of HHS and its agencies.
Thanks to our unique approach to discovery and the weighted decision matrix that validated each step of development with customers and stakeholders alike, we ended up with a clearly articulated message and design that captures the vision of our stakeholders and the core values of the people working within HHS.
Design & Approach
At Bixal, we employ an Agile program management methodology focused on continuity, quality and continuous improvement. We also use Scrum, an Agile methodology, to make sure we are working in the most efficient way possible. For this specific project, Bixal’s Scrum Master facilitated the workflow through two-week sprints to make sure value was being provided to HHS on a biweekly basis.
No team exists — or should exist — in a vacuum. Constant collaboration among teams leads to the greatest amount of innovation, and therefore, the greatest amount of value to the client. Throughout this project, the design, content strategy, marketing and development teams were in constant collaboration to generate ideas for the best possible deliverables.
At Bixal, we believe that if you want to come up with the best possible product, you must pay attention to what people are saying. During this project, we used research to create user stories, which heavily informed our redesign of the Careers site. Our team also performed usability testing to make sure HHS employees and stakeholders could properly navigate the new site. In this work, and all the work we do, we used a design thinking approach. In other words, we empathize with and identify the needs of our users and then brainstorm and prototype innovative solutions to address these needs.
Delivering the Solution
The Bixal team defined success through the perspectives of our stakeholders and the Careers site’s users. To refine priorities quickly, our team worked closely with our HHS colleagues to develop a weighted decision matrix that prioritized discovery efforts based on the impact a given activity would have on other project areas.
The decision matrix allowed our team to perform more activities than originally envisioned, allowing us to act quickly and more strategically on work efforts. This allowed us to clearly see what activities needed to be addressed first. We were able to accomplish content auditing; information architecture; document strategy; informational interviews; data analytics; content governance; gap analysis; an internal campaign; and journey mapping/user flows.
In the discovery phase, we produced the required documentation to set a clear direction, which enabled our team to quickly perform stakeholder, SME, and employee interviews and to analyze each group separately. These analyses were combined into a detailed findings report that identified common themes across all groups. We then reviewed the interview scripts and quantified the instances of those themes for each participant — a topic identified by at least two participants was included in a chart. Additionally, the team used interview quotes to define specific goals for each theme. The goals were subsequently mapped to product features to ensure the minimum viable product met all groups’ needs.