Well Begun is Half Done: Let’s Tidy Up the Website

The DigitalGov University (DGU) webinar Improving Website Findability with Actionable Analytics and Content Analysis is more than just the typical webinar for web developers and designers. It takes on the viewpoint of the audience of the targeted site in order to improve upon it. It’s a powerful and invaluable method that anyone with browser access can use to build the best web experience.

Since a large amount of traffic stems from organic search, my new goal is to give the audience what they’re looking for and place it where it can easily be seen in a way that is easy to understand. At this time, the resources mentioned are not available to me, but I can still lay the foundation.

A foundation built with top tasks, goals and audience in mind make designing more intuitive. Insight such as what users actually do and what the audience segment wants to know make designing more powerful.

To create a site for Veterans and their spouses with a focus on employment that will provide equal or more value that the dozen or so that already exist, I need to identify my audience, what they intend to do and any content gaps. So I began with the process of “reverse scent trails research” right away. On my train ride home, I began to ‘search digital platforms where the audience leaves a [sort of footprint]’. I researched YouTube on my mobile device and scrolled through the comments on one video that was posted on a Veteran’s channel on YouTube. I also combed through recent blogs (no older than 5 years). Finally, I tested related phrases using the incognito mode in Google Chrome.

Although I am a Veteran myself, much to my surprise, ‘I couldn’t see past the end of my nose.’ The audience had posted concerns about major concerns that each of them were facing as they approached their ETS (expiration — term of service) in the comment area on the aforementioned YouTube video I had not thought of and should be addressing as a task.

Immediately, I realized the crucial mistake I was about to make in trying to give the audience tasks based on what I want them to know. Basically, ‘read this, and this, and this, and this too — and all will be great!’ Simply put, this does not work.

The very next day was clean-up time; I edited my designs with these real-life audience goals in mind. I still continue to search forums and connect the dots in order to target the top tasks. Improving Website Findability with Actionable Analytics and Content Analysis sent me back to the drawing board with ways to gain insightful knowledge. A spoonful of research goes a long, long way!

Watch the DGU webinar below, or read the recap.

By Angela Smithers

Visit DigitalGov to check out some of our recent webinar recaps, or to find out more about the work agency teams are doing with content, analytics, and social media.

If you have a .gov or .mil email address, see how you can join some of our 16 Communities, like the Web Content Managers Forum and SocialGov.