Minnesota Department of Revenue Website Redesign
Minnesota Department of Revenue
The Minnesota Department of Revenue’s website gets over 3 million visits each year. It is our most used communication tool. The Minnesota Department of Revenue’s website gets over 3 million visits each year. It is our most used communication tool.
Last updated in 2012, our website was beginning to show its age.
Best practice recommends testing usability of a website every two years. We had not looked at ours in four.
Technology, trends, best practices, and user behaviors had changed drastically since we last reviewed our website.
The first thing we did was a website analysis. We wanted to understand our customers’ current and future needs before making changes. We analyzed the website through:
• External customer usability testing and interviews
• Website analytics and statistics
• Internal customer focus groups
• SurveysOur website analysis showed that customers generally responded well to the website. It also identified areas for improvement.• Customers came to our website with a task in mind, not a tax type.
• Navigation was difficult which led to customers bookmarking pages or requesting direct links from Revenue.
• Pages had a lot of text, which was complicated to understand and often repeated on multiple pages.
Based on what we learned, we began a two-year project to redesign the website. Our goals were to simplify the information on the website, modernize the look and feel, upgrade accessibility and mobile-friendly features, and improve the user experience.
The goals aligned with Revenue’s desire to become more customer-focused.
We started with a review of available content management systems. We decided on Drupal, a leading platform for user-friendly website design. Working with external vendors and our MN.IT Services partners, we developed a structure and design for the website. Once finalized, over 60 Revenue employees across the agency reviewed and edited content to fit the new design.
Our beta (preview) website went live in January 2019. We gathered feedback on the beta through an online survey and usability testing. We received over 430 responses to our survey, and seventeen volunteers participated in usability testing.
The feedback was mostly positive. Users liked the clean design, font size, and expandable accordion menus. They found the website easy to navigate and intuitive.
They did give us two main areas to focus on before launch:
1. Make search more intuitive
2. Ensure content is clear, easy to understand, and puts the focus on the task after the beta, we focused on search and content. We turned off “exact match” for search and identified keywords to elevate and prioritize the search results. The content was streamlined with the most relevant action or task placed at the top of the page.
On June 4, 2019, Revenue’s new website launched.
The design of our new website is clean and easy to read. Content is task-focused. Navigation is simple and easy to follow. The new website is mobile-friendly and works on smartphones, tablets, and laptops.
Feedback on the website has been positive with the Federal Tax Administration calling our redesigned website the “cool idea of the week.”
We continue improving the search functionality and content. We plan to review the website’s usability in two years.
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Alex Hepp, City of Hopkins
Bill Bleckwehl, Cisco
Dave Andrews, DEED
Jay Wyant, Minnesota IT Services
Jim Hall, Ramsey County
Matt Bailey, IBM
Melissa Reeder, League of Minnesota Cities
Nathan Beran, City of New Ulm
Sue Wallace, IT Futures Foundation
Lisa Meredith, Minnesota Counties Computer Cooperative
Justin Kaufman, Minnesota IT Services
Renee Heinbuch, Washington County/MNCITLA
Jerine Rosato, Ramsey County
David Berthiaume, Minnesota IT Services
Cory Tramm, Sourcewell Tech
Tomas Alvarez, Federal Reserve
Tom Ammons, MN.IT – Central
Dave Andrews, MN State Services for the Blind
Susan Bousquet, MN.IT – DOT
Robert Granvin, Metro State
Alex Hepp, City of Hopkins
Shawntan Howell, Ramsey County
Jenny Johnson, Metropolitan Council
Millicent Kasal, MN.IT – Central
Ping Li, MN.IT – MMB
Chibuzor Nnaji, MN.IT – DHS
Mehrdad Shabestari, MN.IT – Central