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State of Connecticut

Improving online access to early childhood resources

Summary

The Connecticut Office of Early Childhood (OEC) engaged us to transform their web presence into a single, user-focused homepage with clear pathways for different users to access the information and resources they need.

A caretaker with children sitting around a table and playing with blocks with a computer in the background.

The challenge

A well-designed digital home is critical for providing information and services that meet user needs and expectations. OEC had an out-of-date web presence that made it difficult for users to access the important resources that OEC provides to support young children and their families.

Feedback from users made it clear that the site was hard to use and frustrating for the audiences that need it the most — childcare providers, families, and even OEC staff. Some of the most pressing issues included outdated forms, confusing language, and a desktop-only experience.

This was a clear challenge for OEC in advancing its mission to support young children across the state.

The solution

To address this challenge, we engaged OEC in an agile, user-centered process to support the redesign of their website. This process involved collaborating with dozens of OEC users and stakeholders to create a solution that:

  • Meets a diversity of complex user needs through extensive user research
  • Makes it easier to search, navigate, and access critical information and resources — such as where to find high-quality childcare providers and how to become a licensed childcare provider — from a single, user-focused homepage
  • Supports both mobile and desktop experiences
  • Leverages cost-effective, open-source technologies
  • Supports incremental releases of website content so value can start being realized sooner rather than later
  • Is maintainable by internal staff through easy-to-use content management tools, content guidelines, and content design and management training

The results

  • Incrementally delivered a newly-designed, responsive website in alignment with user tasks, goals, and needs
  • Fully cutover to the new site in May 2020
  • Have continually received positive user feedback
  • Maintainable by the Office of Early Childhood's internal staff
  • OEC was one of the first agencies within the State of Connecticut to deliver timely, critical online information related to COVID