Census for Small Businesses

The U.S. Census Bureau

Create a user-centered space on census.gov >

2018 website gif

01. Problem

Although small businesses account for over 50% of non-farm GDP and compose over 99% of all businesses, they are the most difficult to count in the Economic census. From focus groups conducted by the Economic directorate, it is clear that many small businesses do not understand the value that the Census Bureau provides and that most importantly, if the Census Bureau could communicate its value, they would be more inclined to respond.

02. Task

Our goal was to communicate the value of Census Bureau data to small businesses. This included two parts:

I. Design an audience-centered space on census.gov for small businesses

II. Demonstrate a methodological, repeatable process for creating future audience-centered pages

I conducted qualitative user research to better understand our small business users using a repeatable process.

03. Approach

I conducted qualitative user research to better understand our small business users using a repeatable process:

goals of research
questions map to goal
types of users interviewed
personas
design decisions

04. Wireframes

From our user research, qualitative analytics, and content strategy, I quickly created low-fidelity mockups of site pages. I also worked with another fellow to determine what kind of content to include and to create a site map.

wireframes
site map

05. Development

Development was tricky because we were working on a project in the federal government. I wrote about my experience here, but to briefly summarize, the main challenges were:

In the end, we chose to design and develop a site that had no constraints in order to demonstrate what census.gov could look like without so much political conflict. I decided to use the U.S. Web Design Standards created by USDS in order to align my project with the rest of the government agencies. The standards use SASS and Bourbon Neat as the building blocks, and gulp to automate the workflow. In a two-week sprint I developed the site and shipped an MVP in order to have a week left to test traffic.

> go to github repo

wireframe to mockup

> see the live site