Editor’s note: Our CareerOneStop website offers a wealth of assistance to anyone with career, training or job needs. The following post shares the process behind CareerOneStop’s recent redesign.
When the CareerOneStop team embarked on a redesign of the site’s resources, they didn’t dive right into the technical work. Instead, they took an approach that focused on the user experience, usually referred to as UX in the design world. Using UX means taking a step back to learn about users’ core needs and preferences. The team asked people who actually use the site questions like:
“Who’s using CareerOneStop resources?”
The answer? Just about everybody: job seekers, businesses, students, current workers, laid-off workers, veterans, workers with disabilities, workers with criminal records, career counselors and other workforce professionals, and many other members of the public.
“Can users find what they need?”
The feedback here was that because CareerOneStop offers so much information and has so many options, it can be hard for users to locate the best resources for their unique needs. The redesign team watched while people used the site to find what they need, and paid attention to where they expected to find the information, and what kind of language was the most meaningful to them. In doing so, the team could identify and streamline the clearest way to organize information and resources for the many different kinds of users.
“Are CareerOneStop’s websites and tools easy to use?”
People must be able to do more than simply find the resources they need — they also need those resources to be easy to use and effective at helping them meet their career, training and employment goals. The CareerOneStop team conducted usability testing on key tools and Web pages – which includes watching how users interact with the site − and made improvements in functionality, organization and language.
“How are users accessing CareerOneStop resources?”
The answer to this question was that while some people are smartphone-wired 24/7 (one recent survey found that 83 percent of people use smartphones or tablets to job search), others may lack dependable Internet service on a daily basis. CareerOneStop’s goal is to make its resources valuable for all users. That’s why both the redesigned CareerOneStop.org site and a newly launched Credentials Center are mobile-friendly — that is, they automatically adjust to a user’s smartphone, tablet or desktop screen — providing on-the-go help. A number of the site’s tools — including Job Search, Training Finder, and Salary Finder — are also available as mobile Web apps.
While making its resources accessible to mobile-equipped users, CareerOneStop didn’t want to leave behind those with limited Internet access or low computer literacy skills. For people who may access the Web at a public library or an American Job Center, CareerOneStop provides printable guides, and easy downloading and printing of key information and tool results. And for those who are less comfortable with technology, printed and video materials provide step-by-step guidance for many tools.
Learn more about key features by watching “What can CareerOneStop do for you?” And because user-centered development doesn’t end with the launch of new products, we will continue collecting and learning from the people who use the site to continually improve it. Send us your feedback at info@CareerOneStop.org.
Kim Vitelli and Michael Harding work in the department's Employment and Training Administration. Kim is the division chief for National Programs, Tools and Technical Assistance. Michael is the CareerOneStop project manager.