We knew what the problem was. Now how were we supposed to solve it?
This was the fun part. We read blogs, poured over presentations at major web conferences, and armed ourselves with the latest research in usability, search, design, content strategy, even the rise of mobile devices.
We then came together for several navel-gazing sessions in which we looked at how we could address the problems. And even all the research brought us back to a few fundamentals:
- The Long Tail still rules. We can’t meet every citizen’s need. In January 2011 alone, citizens searched for 25,000 different terms ranging from drip irrigation guidelines to the Advance Healthcare Directive. If we can serve 80% of the citizens with 20% of the content, it gives us an easier task.
- Simplify. We knew our home page was too crowded and content heavy, but we aimed to simplify the design and content as much as possible. As mobile strategist Luke Wroblewski told Forbes magazine, “I hear it over and over again, ‘The mobile site is so simple, I wish the desktop site was that easy.’”
- Holistic approach. We had to start from scratch, keeping nothing from the current site.
Now the hard work began.