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Digital Transformation for Public Health

Ensuring public health through user-friendly design, innovative research, and a robust digital presence during the pandemic.

  • Experience Design
  • Data Analysis & Visualization
  • Human-Centered Research
  • Content Strategy
  • Natural Language Processing
  • Market Research
  • Knowledge Management
  • Agile Design
  • Information Architecture

The project aimed to revamp the digital presence for USDA’s food safety and inspection service, crucial for safeguarding public health by protecting the food supply. This involved creating a user-friendly and informative website to build public trust and aid policy formulation.
Despite the limitations imposed by COVID restrictions, the team maintained a strong focus on human-centered research and design, adapting to remote methodologies without losing sight of user needs.

The single thread connecting multiple audiences

Landscape analysis gave us a systems-wide view of the audiences. We identified key artifacts in this system. One, in particular, stood out: the Hazard Avoidance and Critical Control Points plan (HAACP). Every audience intersects with a HAACP in some way. Scientists and policymakers define it, food processors need it to operate, FSIS inspectors ensure that plants adhere to it, and consumers are impacted by it when it triggers a recall.
The lifecycle of a HAACP guided the refinement of our research plan and, as the common thread that connects federal policy with the food on our dinner plate, provided the initial framework for contextual inquiry.

Collaborative design

Collaboration and user feedback were integral to the redesign of the FSIS website, with early sketches and paper prototyping sessions involving clients, stakeholders, and the design team to establish a shared understanding of the project goals.

Data-driven decision making

The USDA team relied on quantitative research, web analytics, and testing to inform the content strategy and refine the information architecture.

Rapid prototyping and iterative design

Emphasizing rapid prototyping and exploration, the USDA team created tangible prototypes for iterative feedback, ranging from Drupal site mockups to paper prototypes of the homepage.

Multifaceted information architecture

The USDA team’s landscape analysis and audience research led to an information architecture that balanced educational resources for the general public with specific information for Subject Matter Experts (SMEs).

The value of the artifact journey

The Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HAACP) plan emerged as a key intersecting artifact among various stakeholders for USDA, guiding the research and contextual inquiry.

Impression testing as part of an empirical design strategy

Unmoderated impression testing was invaluable during COVID. Testing the original site gave us a baseline for measuring progress, and continuous testing throughout design supported quantifiable design decisions.

A flexible, resilient toolbox

The team employed a mix of desktop research, fieldwork, and innovative methods like artifact journeys and market data analysis to enhance their understanding of food safety practices and the diverse audiences FSIS serves.

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Thumbnail for Digital prototyping Thumbnail for Live data, real testing Thumbnail for A shared understanding Thumbnail for Content Strategy Thumbnail for Emergent stories