TBG & OGE
The U.S. Office of Government Ethics (OGE) contracted with TBG (The Berndt Group) to redesign their primary website, OGE.gov. This project that consisted of a rebranding of the agency and a complete website redesign and implementation of the site in the Ektron content management system. The end result is an excellent example of a modern, highly usable federal government website.
The previous OGE website had been developed by another vendor during a rushed project several years prior that had resulted in lost content and persistent broken links. OGE managed the site entirely manually and there was no automation or content reuse. A large quantity of pages consisted of self-contained PDF documents with little or no descriptive metadata. TBG worked closely with OGE to understand their internal audiences, priorities, and content and developed rational site structure that streamlined the experience of navigating to key content for those audiences. Leveraging the power of Ektron CMS, TBG used taxonomy to automate related links so that a small group of OGE staff can manage a large amount of interrelated content.
OGE had experienced a number of usability issues with the old website that the redesign aimed to address. In general, the site did not follow contemporary usability best practices, and was not oriented towards user tasks. Users widely reported not being able to find content they were looking for on the site. Content was organized by type of document rather than by topic, and there was no intuitive topical organization of the content. The redesigned site included a Topics area that broke down relevant ethics subjects into logically organized and layman-friendly sections. Topics were tagged with relevant taxonomy terms so that related Laws & Regulations, Legal Advisories, and Education Resources appeared alongside the topic summary. Topic pages are now among the most visited on the website and the “Gifts and Payments” topic page comes up #1 in a Google search for “gifts and payments.”
On the old site, users had to scroll through large amounts of chronologically formatted data in order to find relevant legal advisories. TBG built a powerful Legal Advisories Search tool using taxonomy that enables users to filter and search through hundreds of documents and pages. This tool is still used on a daily basis by hundreds of ethics officials throughout the federal government as a core aspect of their job.
Issues with positioning and branding were also a major focus for the organization, as there was a great deal of confusion surrounding OGE’s purview and purpose, even from within the Federal Government. OGE fielded many inquiries that were completely unrelated to the areas it covered. TBG worked with OGE to reposition and rebrand the organization, creating a new tagline, positioning statement, and logo. These elements are featured prominently on the homepage and are used throughout the website and other media to clarify OGE’s mission, values and relationship with other government agencies.
Elements of this project included:
- full re-branding for the agency, including logo design;
- User Experience Guide;
- discovery and consulting;
- comprehensive Usability Testing;
- a System Security Plan based on the standards set forth by federal agencies FISMA and NIST;
- forward-looking and highly usable federal government website design;
- 508, WCAG and browser-compliant HTML and CSS templates;
- Ektron CMS-powered website with complex, taxonomy-based related link functionality;
- Extensive on-site training;
- System Test Plan and System testing, including W3C / WCAG compliance, Xenu Link Sleuth and Load Testing;
- a Director’s Blog, managed in Ektron and displayed with custom templates; and
- Executive Branch Nominations & Appointments feature allowing users to search and download financial disclosure forms for nominees and officials such as Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.