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March 5, 2004

Labor & Industries involves customers to redesign web site

TUMWATER — Making its web site easier to use is paying off for one state agency, not in profits but in customer satisfaction and the number of people using the site.

For more than a year, the Department of Labor & Industries has been observing customers while they use the agency web site. When customers have difficulty finding information and understanding written material, staff members figure out what’s causing the problem and fix it.

After repeatedly watching customers use the site and fixing the problems they encountered, the agency launched a redesigned web site in January. Since then, visits to the site have increased 10 percent, from 8,800 to 9,400 a day. More importantly, since the change, people who visit L&I’s web site are looking at 25 percent more pages in the same amount of time.

Customers have noticed the change. According to L&I Communications Director Kim Contris, the agency is receiving e-mails almost every day from people who appreciate how much easier it is to find information on the web site now.

L&I is the first state agency in Washington to redesign its entire web site based on usability testing with actual customers. “The purpose of our web site is to give people outside the agency a fast, easy way to get information and do business with us. Usability testing has given us valuable, unbiased information about how well our site is serving our customers,” said Contris.

Based on the results of testing the site with customers, L&I has:

  • Redesigned the site so it’s easier to find information.
  • Devoted most of the site’s home page to the topics that are most important to the agency’s customers.

L&I has also replaced technical, legal terminology with language that’s easier to understand for people who don’t work in government. L&I is continuing to test parts of the web site with customers.

“Working directly with customers has become an accepted part of managing our web site. It takes the guesswork out of how to truly meet your customers’ needs,” Contris noted.

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For media information: Renee Guillierie, 360-902-5410 or guir235@LNI.wa.gov

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