Design, digital and strategy for the greater good. Let's do something great together.
Through an early assessment of design and other needs for our Behavior Change Program, we identified that the in-person energy education workshops we held were lacking a coherent and cohesive set of handouts and reference materials to encourage participants to take part in energy saving behaviors on their own outside of the workshop.
This project was created with our Behavior Change Program Manager, and as a team we crafted an overall strategy to meet the needs of both our residential and commercial participants while taking into account best practices on effecting behavioral change. It also included equipment specific materials to help users understand smart thermostats and evaporative coolers that were installed in their homes. The project is ongoing, and was a yearlong effort to create the first set of materials. Some challenges we’ve faced included translation and accessible content for all audiences and having to create a project management workflow to accommodate the long-term timing associated with the program.
In the history of the Division of Housing was a guidebook that had become severely outdated, the Affordable Housing Guide for Local Officials. It was an incredibly useful tool, so useful that despite it being last updated in 2007 local government leadership were still using it in 2017. On a trip around the state of Colorado, our housing director observed several communities referring to the information and when she returned we knew it was a priority to update.
I lead the project with a writer and editor and we completed it in an iterative, agile-like way before finishing on the 7th iteration with a new sequencing of information, complete rewrites of the majority of content, and a layout that felt user-friendly. The guide was printed and distributed, as well as becoming a searchable webpage using Gitbook. Our biggest challenge was updating the content from 2007 to 2017 without having a draft from between those years. The policies and land-use guidelines had gone through many changes in that decade and led to us having to completely redo entire sections of the guide. The project took 2 months to complete and is still is use today.
One of the most exciting parts about joining the organization when I did was that we were going through a brand overhaul that I took over and managed. It was our 29th year in business and we wanted to make sure our brand aligned with our history but most of all reflected our current station in the industry and the kind of organization we had grown into.
Through the branding process we reaffirmed our core values as an organization, identified our key audiences, solidified a visual brand that was vibrant and professional, and developed a new tagline as well as key messages that reaffirmed our commitment to service. The project took 9 months in total with a host of challenges such as a timeline unconnected to our website relaunch, gathering input and buy-in from all levels of the organization, and a costly price tag.
When I was hired, the organization was just starting their rebranding effort. But the website relaunch was already underway. We had identified that our website was not serving users well through a lot of anecdotal evidence, and since this project was already underway we kept those assumptions. Our pages were verbose without clear calls to action for accessing our services, the content was written at an average grade 13 reading level, and our poor mobile navigation rendered the site almost unusable on cell phones.
Working with a great outside vendor, we were able to realign the timeline so our website didn’t relaunch prior to the branding, and make some minor tweaks in the technology the previous team decided on. Mostly, the work of the website relaunch fell on me – we had to write all new content and draft a better architecture of the website. The result was a site that had 39% faster loadtimes, mobile responsive navigation, a 28% reduction in pages overall, a 40% reduction in content on the pages that remained, and a grade 7 reading level across the site. The project took 6 months and had many challenges, including an initial chaos due to not being connected to the brand launch, a timeline that had to be put on hiatus halfway through, and a uncooperative former development company for the old website.
Throughout my career I’ve been making use of public data to create a story and showcase it visually. It’s always been in response to feedback from our users that our current data solutions were too complicated, or to reframe a story so that it was easier to understand the whole picture.
Some highlights (above):
Manufactured Housing Testing – Google Forms, Sheets, Maps API
One of my favorite projects was an incredibly successful implementation of a new online testing process for the State of Colorado. We used Google Forms to create an online version of a test that manufactured housing professionals in the State were required to take for licensing. The old process meant they would drive from across Colorado to Denver so they could take an in-person, hour long test and they wouldn’t be told the results until they were home. If they failed, they would have to make the journey again.
Colorado is a large state, so the time spent driving was a completely undue burden on our residents that weren’t close to Denver. Recognizing this, we developed multiple versions of the test that professionals could take online from their own home.
By using the addresses of the test-takers, data they were already providing in the process, we were able to connect our test answer tracking spreadsheet to the Google Maps API and see the direct impact we were having – how much time we saved people, how many emissions we saved Colorado, and the cost of travel we alleviated. We also sent a survey to see how we could improve the experience over time. Our very first online test-taker saved an estimated 18 hours on the road, accommodation costs, and knew immediately that they had passed their test.