About OCGov.com
OCGov.com is the county website for Orange County, California and is meant to be a resource to its residents, future residents, and visitors. Thus, there is a lot of information on the website, and so sorting through all of this information can feel like an overwhelming task even though it shouldn't be.
The Problem 
Currently, the website is extremely confusing to use. According to analyses done by similarweb.com, the website as is has a high bounce rate of 41.11%. The website isn't incredibly usable, and according to several interviews with Orange County residents, not a single user thought the website portrayed Orange County's brand.
The Goal 
The goal of this project is to produce a functioning prototype and redesign for OCGov.com, using usability, user experience research, and visual design industry standards.
Current Site
Current Navigation Example
Currently, the navigation is extremely busy. Although organized in alphabetical order, the lists are so long it's hard to keep track of information. Furthermore, there are nested dropdown menus that add even more content to the screen, making it even more overwhelming.
Top 5 Keywords:
-orange county tax collector
-orange county property tax
-oc property tax
-oc tax collector
All five of the top keywords have to do with property tax, and so it's important to make property tax information as easy to reach as possible.
*taken from similarweb.com
In order to gain a better understanding of how general users feel about the website, I did initial interviews with five random users in order to see how non-Orange County residents (who would frequent the site) work around the site. I then proceeded to interview three Orange County residents to see if their opinions were in congruence with the random interviewees, and they were.
Why Visit the Site:
-To see what events are happening
-Trash/garbage information
-Pay citations
-Information for visits
-Property tax information
Pain Points:
-Navigation is too overwhelming; it provides too much information at once, so users don't know what to look at.
-The carousel is too small, so it looks more like advertisements.
-The website isn't visually interesting.
-Body text feels too small.
Visual Design:
-All users answered that Orange County invokes images of the sun, oranges, the beach, and Disneyland.
-The modular design works in terms of hierarchy, but the text is too small and buttons aren't conspicuous enough.
-Use more images and make it more modern.

Card Sorting
In order to improve navigation, I wrote down every tab in the navigation (seen on the left) and then recategorized and streamlined it (on the right).
Wireframe Screen Examples
User Testing
Using UserTesting.com, I was able to gain usability insights from three California residents.
Usability Questions
-Try to find property tax information. Where is the first place you'd think to look? Was it easy to find? [Success: Yes, No]
-You're looking for information about your mandatory jury duty. Where in the navigation do you think you should go? [Success: Yes, No]
-Is the department navigation overwhelming? As a user, how would you prefer to see this organized?
-What information do you think is most important and relevant for a county website?
-You're thinking about moving to Orange County. Where in the navigation would you go to find information about moving? Is it where you'd expect it? If not, where did you assume it would be? [Success: Yes, No]
-It's time to renew your car registration! Where do you go to find that information? [Success: Yes, No]
-Where would you go to find upcoming events? [Success: Yes, No]
-You lost your social security card and need to get a new one. Where on the website would you go to get more information on starting that process? Is it under the section you expected it to be? [Success: Yes, No]
-You're touring the area and need to familiarize yourself with local transportation. Find information about travel and transportation. Is it where you expected it to be? If not, where do you think it should be? [Success: Yes, No]
-What kind of imagery would you expect to see on a website for Orange County, CA? [Success: Yes, No]
Main Takeaways
Users were able to complete each of the tasks with little to no difficulty. In initial interviews, users struggled to find property tax information, however with the improved navigation in my wireframe prototype, the users found it without any issues. Users commented that perhaps more consolidation would be helpful, but they understand why it would be difficult to do so.
Moodboard 1: Traditional
The first design concept is traditional and more in-line with the current visual design of OCGov.com; it focuses on images of families, the suburbs, and homes.
Moodboard 2: Modern
The second moodboard is a complete contrast to the first one, opting for a more modern, vibrant, and upbeat design. The blues are much more inspired by the ocean, and imagery is much more lively. It definitely provokes a more youthful image of Orange County.
Design Direction
According to the United States Census Bureau, only 14.3% of citizens are over the age of 65, with 57.7% of the citizens between the ages of 18 and 65. Thus, it was decided that the final design for the webpage should mix the two moodboards to appeal to both the younger generation and older generation. For the final design, imagery from both moodboards were taken, colors from the second moodboard were taken, and the sans-serif font family Rubik was used.
Final Desktop Design: Home
The following screens show different interactions on the home page—the first in the grid shows the navigation dropdown, the next one shows a further interaction on the nav based on the tab of the user's choosing, and then the last screen shows how the button, on hover, goes from the white outline to an orange fill.
Final Desktop Design: Visitors
The Visitors page should be as inviting and informative as possible. Thus, the page has features to make booking a trip to Orange County as easy as possible. The screens above show how this booking form works. 
In the events module, social and government events will be posted, with events in orange text denoting a government event or announcement.
Final Mobile Design: Home
Understanding that on mobile, text should not be too small, the buttons here have larger text in comparison to the mobile version. On the third screen, the buttons shown are the active state, as hovers don't exist in mobile. The hamburger menu has the text "menu" under it in order to help people from all tech backgrounds understand that it is indeed the menu. For the dropdown menu, if users click on the tab, it will expand and show each of the subcategories.
Final Mobile Design: Visitors
This page would utilize a horizontal scroll, one for the Lodging section, in which the user would swipe left and right to navigate between the sections, and then with the bottom panels detailing the different Orange County points of interest, with the selected point of interest enlarged in the middle.
Overall, I believe that OCGov.com would benefit from my modern redesign, creating a more vibrant and inviting image of Orange County. With all of the different information available on the page, the middle navigation tab menu also helps break down the information further and give the users another way to find the information they are looking for.
Redesigning a government website was definitely an eye-opening challenge. To further improve upon this project, I believe that more research on what information truly is pertinent and useful to the user should be conducted because there is just too much information to really be usable. Perhaps more experimental horizontal menus could be explored to better exhibit the different pages, but again, it would still be a lot of information.
OCGov.com is definitely a work in progress with room for improvement! Definitely a good design challenge.
Back to Top