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California Child Welfare Indicators Project 

Intuitive Data Discovery

2018   UX Research + Design




The California Child Welfare Indicators Project (CCWIP) is a collaborative venture between the University of California at Berkeley and the California Department of Social Services. The project is housed in the School of Social Welfare, and provides policymakers, child welfare workers, researchers, and the public with direct access to customizable information on California’s entire child welfare system.

This client project was developed as a team with Conner Hunihan, Ashish Sur, and Kaushiki Priyam.


User Segmentation and Needs

 In order to better understand the complex system surrounding child welfare data retrieval, we sat down with the CCWIP team (Director, Front-end Engineer, Back-end Engineer, and Researcher). Through in depth interviews and hands on sessions, we were able to guide the redesign in the right direction.

We created a use case matrix that delved into the CCWIP users characteristics. We made note of each user’s use case, need, motivation, technical skill, and more.


Identifying the Problem

To better evaluate the current website, we made a detailed content audit.  This helped us understand the bulk of information within the site and how it is organized.  The site hierarchy map broke down the main navigation of the site for the reports.  The two ways to get to an exportable report (graph/table) is to view them organized by measure and organized by topic.  Unfortunately, currently those pages are laden with text and hyperlinks and lack a user friendly navigational system.fig


Target Users

 From our interviews we decided to focus on two personas.

The Child Welfare Analyst - John Hicks is a county analyst and represents the largest percentage of users on the site. He has two main use cases. He visits the site once every five years to rewrite the System Improvement Plan (SIP). He also visits the site to periodically evaluate the SIP. The second is less intensive and occurs more often.

The Journalist - Amanda May is journalist who advocates for child welfare. She researches trends in children welfare data to discover issues and report on them. She is not as familiar with the filtering system on the site and wants high level statistics and patterns.


User Flow

After defining the target users for the redesign, we created a mental model for the ideal user flow through the CCWIP website. This shows the high level user journey for users to get to a report while also allowing for some discovery between reports and measures.


Restructuring the System

In order to ensure seamless navigation through the site, we restructured the site hierarchy and made the filters be part of the report page itself. We also decided to link other related reports within the report page itself. This encourages data exploration and lessens the back and forth. We developed the flow highlighted in blue below.


Design System

The team worked collaboratively through Figma and created a unified design system to tie in all the visual elements. We used the U.S. Web Design System as our base and focused on expanding it to suit CCWIP’s branding and needs.


The design system and screens were uploaded to Zeplin for engineering handoff so developers had exact CSS properties and values. All suggested changes were outlined and scored in a spreadsheet according to impact and effort. These values were then used to calculate an overall priority score that can be used by CCWIP staff for help determine the project roadmap.


Final Mockups

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