Creating content experiences for Consumerfinance.gov

Creating content experiences for Consumerfinance.gov

When

2020 - 2022

My Role

Content strategy consultant

Tags
Content StrategyContent DesignUX Writing
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I had the chance to spend two years working as a consultant at the US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), a US federal agency that oversees regulation in the US consumer finance market. My work focused on developing strategies to improve the way users interact with content on consumerfinance.gov.

While I can’t get into too much detail about my work publicly, here is a quick overview of some of the projects I'm most proud of.

Contents:

01 - Homepage redesign

02 - Microsites for speakers of other languages

03 - Integrated video content strategy

01 | Homepage Redesign

Challenge

CFPB uses the Consumerfinance.gov homepage as both a space to communicate critical consumer information and as a gateway to other key site areas. But usability test sessions and site analytics found that the page was underperforming.

Most users were ignoring the homepage content, using the top navigation to quickly move on to other site areas. Those who did explore the page described the content as “too generic” or not relevant to their motivations and interests. From a branding perspective, many users struggled to understand the purpose of the site or the mission of the organization behind it.

I joined a cross-collaborative team of researchers and designers tasked with improving the page’s structure and content to improve its usability.

The old page isn’t very inviting. The imagery feels stuffy and the site’s purpose is easy to miss.
The old page isn’t very inviting. The imagery feels stuffy and the site’s purpose is easy to miss.

My approach

  • Reviewed user research and performance data for the existing page to understand baseline and identify where change could be most impactful
  • Participated in design workshops alongside PD and UXR to explore new ideas
  • Designed layout structure for the new page and its content blocks
  • Created microcopy for the content blocks
  • Collaborated with brand to create a visual design strategy for the new page
  • Improved page metadata to boost SERP performance

Impact & outcomes

The new homepage design is modern and engaging. We reworked the copy to simplify its language and create a more conversational tone. The page’s visual language was refocused to highlight the experiences of everyday consumers. I also worked closely with the lead designer to develop a new module-based layout that is easier for users to scan and browse. If you’d like to explore the full page, you can check it out here.

User-centered language courtesy of yours truly
User-centered language courtesy of yours truly 💁🏾‍♀️

02 | Microsites for speakers of other languages

Challenge

CFPB's user research and community outreach teams found that the consumerfinance.gov experience wasn’t great for users with limited English proficiency.

In the wake of the COVID pandemic, CFPB became responsible for communicating critical information on topics like government aid programs and ongoing consumer scams. And in response to the pandemic's deep impact on marginalized communities, CFPB prioritized improving the way it managed multilingual content to better serve these users.

While the organization had robust content strategies for its English and Spanish speaking audiences, content in other widely spoken American languages (like Korean, Tagalog and Haitian Creole) was difficult to use and access.

The previous design used static tables to host its multilingual content. The tables weren’t organized in any particular way, so users struggled to find relevant info.

My approach

  • Worked with localization to inventory website content in 9 languages and audit assets for parity with their English and Spanish versions
  • Designed user flows and template structure for each language microsite
  • Worked with translators to develop subtitles and transcripts of English-spoken multimedia assets to expand access to speakers of other languages
  • Worked with user research to develop a strategy to test to validate new design

Impact & outcomes

I collaborated with the consumer outreach and translation teams to make major improvements to the most frequently visited content pieces in each language. We made a lot of progress with video content in particular, adding multilingual subtitles to many of our consumer education videos to expanding their reach and impact (see below).

I also worked alongside the consumer education products team to design better information paths from various areas of the site and SERPs to the content microsites for 6 of the supported languages. We also created user friendly content hub pages to compile all of the Coronavirus resources so it was easier to find and navigate.

I helped design the structure for these coronavirus housing resource hub areas in
I helped design the structure for these coronavirus housing resource hub areas in Mandarin and Arabic

03 | Integrated video content strategy

Challenge

CFPB wanted to find better ways to incorporate video into its digital strategy. The organization has a massive catalog of YouTube content, but had never developed a consistent strategy for publishing, tracking and measuring video impact and reach. They’d also focused most of their efforts on producing content for YouTube. But UXR found that their audiences were much more likely to engage with consumerfinance.gov.

The goal of this project was to develop a strategy for cross-populating video content across both YouTube and the website. We also explored ways to improve video reach and engagement.

My approach

  • Researched video publishing strategies and best practices. Met with stakeholders to identify current painpoints
  • Performed historical content performance data analysis to identify patterns, trends and areas of opportunity
  • Developed semantic structuring strategy (metadata, labels, channel organization) and quality standards
  • Developed video content governance strategy, including criteria for sunsetting outdated content
  • Established target performance benchmarks and KPIs for new videos. Created processes for tracking and measuring performance and quality
  • Inventoried and audited all existing video content and updated microcopy, semantics and accessibility data to improve performance and reach
  • Rearchitected the YouTube channel to focus on consumer education and outreach. Organized content into playlists and sub-channels targeted towards specific audience segments

Impact & outcomes

After several months of research, I presented my findings and recommendations to the organization. The response was very positive and we worked in several phases to implement the new strategies and track their impact.

A key part of the strategy I developed included reusing existing video content on text-heavy areas of the website to better support users with differing comprehension needs.
A key part of the strategy I developed included reusing existing video content on text-heavy areas of the website to better support users with differing comprehension needs.

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