Christopher Brooks

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Demographics, Research, and User Stories

August 12, 2021

In late 2020, I had the opportunity to perform a rebrand for Rep. John Carter, representing the 31st CD of Texas. Among other things, this included a full website redesign. Whenever I build any digital property, after asking basic questions like, “Is this idea economically viable?” I always ask myself:

Who are we designing this website for?

To answer this question, I started by pulling data from Data USA and Census Reporter to get a breakdown of the demographics of the congressional district. Two immediate things stuck out to me; one was a large and growing Latinx community within the district. The second was a large veteran population in the district (thanks to its proximity to Fort Hood).

Legally we couldn’t interview constituents without jumping through a bunch of bureaucratic hoops, so we did the next best thing and interviewed the legislative and caseworker staff. These folks are constantly on the phone and working with the constituents in their district and would be key to helping us refine our user personas.

What I noticed.

Constituents within Texas’ 31st CD skew towards active-duty military, Latinx, and Baby Boomer. Research shows that these users are more likely to use a mobile device (phone or tablet) as their primary web browsing tool. We needed a way to make it easier for these groups to navigate the Congressman’s website and find the information and help they need.

My proposed solution.

Let’s create a mobile-friendly feature, smack dab on the homepage, allowing users to self-identify and choose from a pre-selected list of services the office provides. Once selected, users are forwarded over to the page containing all the information they need.

So, how did it turn out?

Remarkably. The client got a totally revamped website, including a complete overhaul of copy and content to reduce redundancy and make it easier for users to find relevant content. The results reflect this; there was a 123% increase in users after the new site launched year over year. 62,367 new users browsed the new website vs. 27,483 in the previous time period on the old website.

That’s not all. We also saw an exponential increase in users whose language set to American Spanish (975%!). Thanks to the dedicated Spanish-language page and translation, this means more Spanish speakers were coming to the website and coming back. We also saw an over 1000% increase in mobile device users browsing the site.

Want to see for yourself? Check out Rep. Carter’s website.

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Chris Brooks

A hands-on project manager with eight years of experience planning and effecting change for medium and large organizations across the SaaS and multiple industries.

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