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Office of Natural Resources Revenue – Usability Case Study

Any government product – whether used by millions or a very specific audience group – need to be as easy to use as possible. The Office of Natural Resources Revenue (ONRR) collects and dispenses revenue related to energy production on leased federal and American Indian lands. As a result, their audience has very definite information needs that need to be met quickly.

The DigitalGov User Experience Program tested the ONRR site in August 2011. After watching the testing, ONRR stakeholders and the testing team identified the following three major issues that could be quickly fixed to make the site more usable for its audience.

Problem 1: Navigation Unclear

The navigation on the site was not entirely clear. This is highlighted on the homepage by a second set of press releases floating on the right-hand side, with no explanation as to why they weren’t under “News/Events.”

Solution 1: Change Navigation Labels

Navigation is clearly labeled, providing users with quick, easy-to-understand directions.

Problem 2: Jargon and Starting Point Unclear

Not all users were able to decipher the jargon (ex. FOIA) used in the main site navigation, leaving them without a clear idea of where to start their information search.

Solution 2: Simplify Text and Navigation

The jargon in the main navigation was replaced with plain language, a change reflected in the navigational buckets as well.

Problem 3: News/Events Section Difficult to Find

For the ONRR audience, it was vital to be able to quickly find and read about new information that was released by the agency. The existing News/Events section provided no way of knowing what was the latest release, and no clear way of finding information that was not highlighted on the homepage.

Solution 3: Move News/Events Section to Top of Homepage

New information being issued by the agency is given a prominent place on the homepage, with summaries and dates making it easier for users to quickly identify what information might apply to them.

The redesigned ONRR homepage presents a much more user-friendly and information-rich experience. The site is more visually appealing as well, and less daunting to new visitors.

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