Texas Department of Transportation

Usability Report

Sep.-Dec. 2018
Project Type: Personal
Work + Team Work (Interview & Survey)


-  01  -     CLIENT KICKOFF

A client kickoff meeting helps us understand the stakeholder's view of the product and their goal of this project.


TxDOT is one of the state's largest departments, maintains 25 geographical districts throughout the state.

Associated with the construction and maintenance of the state's highway system. Responsible for overseeing aviation, rail, and public transportation systems in the state.


Provide a series of content to the media outlet.

Protect drivers safety, help them have a greater understanding of transportation issues, and inform them interesting traffic issues.


Want to be their own media platform, reach out to media outlets directly. 

Interested in building a media center or media platforms for txdot.gov.

Hoping the platform would be multimedia, dynamic, and it would encompass social to large respect.

Affinity Diagram

After client kickoff meeting, we came out with lots of questions we think need to be answered. Affinity-diagramming helps us organize the large set of questions into clusters.


Result - Key Questions

Result - Research Plan

-  01  -     CLIENT KICKOFF


Past Research Report

In order to understand who is TxDOT’s current user, and how are they currently using TxDOT’s website, I have reviewed TxDOT’s past research report, and chosen three kinds of users as our target:

Secondary Research

By conducting secondary research, it helps me explore how people consume information today.

Key Takeaways

Majority of people who live in Texas got news from local TV news.

More and more people get news online, especially through their cellphone.

Social media, especially Facebook, is a common online news source.

Top two social media people who live in Texas use: Facebook and Youtube.

People do not follow individual journalists on social networking sites.

Online news from friends or family most likely to result in a follow-up action.

Web Analytics

In order to understand how TxDOT’s user currently using their website, Jacob Copple - a doctoral student in iSchool at UT Austin, helped us conduct website analytics by Adobe Experience Manager, and social media analytics by R language.

Homepage - Next Page Flow

Most of TxDOT website’s user use the search bar to get information.

Near to half of TxDOT website’s user left the homepage before doing anything.

-  03  -     SMES INTERVIEW

By telling Subject Matter Experts our goal and purpose, they provide us great insights into their field. We interviewed two SMEs:

Key Takeaways

Earned media is the gold standard that TxDOT won’t want to lose.

Earned media can bring TxDOT new fans.

People don’t go to the homepage to read news, but they use Paid media. Putting news on Paid media brings people back to Direct Media. 

Direct media is where the news were produced. TxDOT should produce stories which attract people’s interests.

Customize stories for the targeted user.


Competitive analysis helps me identify common trends of Newsroom, allow me to learn from the examples.

Key Elements

-  05  -     RESEARCH METHOD

Web Analytics

Target User

From TxDOT past research report, we target our user as:

Normal driver

Normal driver with evacuate experience

Commercial driver

Screener - Normal


People with a valid driver’s license

People who have been driving in Texas for at least six months

People who frequently use car, bus, public transportation or bike

People who took a trip to a different city within the last year Texas for at least six months

People who use the internet weekly

Screener - Evacuee

People who have had to evacuate his primary residence due to a natural disaster

-  06  -     INTERVIEW

Interview let us learn people’s driving habits and experience of travel planning. 

Our group worked in pairs, and interviewed 11 drivers who live in Texas.

Due to time limitation, we weren't able to interview commercial drivers and evacuee.

Key Questions

About  typical driving habits:

Where do you typically go? What is the purpose? How often?

About trip-planning:

Did you do any pre-planning or checking on things such as traffic, weather? 

What about during your trip and the drive back home after your trip?

About unexpected conditions:

Do you ever encounter any road work or construction? What are your thoughts? What did you do? What do you do if you come across a big construction project during your trip?

About TxDOT:

Have you heard of TxDOT? What do you think they do? Have you ever interacted with them, what for? Choose 3 words to describe TxDOT.


Journey Map

Based on the interview result, I draw a journey map to present what the drivers do, what they think and feel during the trip. Found out opportunities that TxDOT can take advantage.

-  07  -     USABILITY TESTS

After the interview, the interviewees go through a couple tasks using TxDOT’s website, and we captured their thoughts on the experience. Remote interviewees shared their screen through Userzoom with us, so we can still capture their face expression and their mouse movement.

Task 1

You were recently involved in a minor collision with another vehicle that did not require police involvement. Your insurance company is requesting that you fill out a crash report form and they said it was located on the TXDOT website.

Task Design

We set the task based on Web Analytics’s result: The top visited and viewed page under Driver section was Crash Report and records


Task 2

Assume you are currently living in El Paso, a friend mentioned a news article they saw TXDOT post and you’d like to find it to get more information. How would you do this?

Task Design

We set the task based on Web Analytics’s result:

The news of El Paso was highly visited and viewed under Inside TxDOT section. 


SUS Score

The average SUS score is 68. However, only one of our participants' score is above 68. Eight of the scores was under 51, and got F grade.

The average SUS score of 11 participants is 37.73, F grade. It means there are serious usability problems with TxDOT’s website.

-  08  -     SURVEY

In order to gather information about people’s driving habits, how they consume information today, and how can a TxDOT Newsroom meet users' future needs, we lunched an online survey. We send out the link to our social media, and got 311 responses.

Key Takeaways

Mobile phone and computer are the top two devices people use frequently.  

People use digital devices access to social media, weather, and traffic/ navigation.

Top two methods people use to access to News, weather, traffic informations: Mobile App and Website.

Most of them had heard of TxDOT, but wrongly thought TxDOT is responsible for licenses or DMVs matters. 

People are highly interested in topics of traffic conditions, road construction on Texas roads, and Texas recreation: Sports, Hiking, Biking, Camping, Water Activities.

-  09  -     IMPLICATIONS

TxDOT needs to work on current website’s usability issues first

Create better information architecture for the website. Use global and local navigation design to categorize content.

Highlight the search bar

Conduct content inventory, reduce duplicate pages and redundant words.

Place most commonly used pages on top of the search results.

Create a subsite for Newsroom 

Since the current website has severe usability issues, it’s better to create a subsite for Newsroom

Provide timely and relevant news

Provide timely and relevant news

Provide direct contact information and Expert Database for media

Mobile Friendly x Social Media x Google Map = Mobile App

During our research, mobile devices, social media, and google map are three elements appear repeatedly. A mobile app contents traffic information, news, and easy sharing function will maximize TxDOT's service.

Display real-time information

Provide future construction plans

Make your news shareable

Google Map is hard to beat but it only knows the current traffic condition. Providing users with TxDOT’s future construction plans can be a good chance of providing service.

Create the content based on people’s interests

According to our survey result, people not only interested in topics of traffic conditions, road construction on Texas roads, but also want to know the topic about Texas recreation, like sports, hiking, biking, camping, and water activities.


© Sherry Wu | 2020