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Customer-Focused Website for D.C. Water

D.C. Water is a public utility providing water service and wastewater collection and treatment to the District of Columbia, Montgomery and Prince Georges Counties in Maryland, and Fairfax and Loudoun Counties in Virginia.

The Challenge
In 2007, D.C. Water (then, the D.C. Water and Sewer Authority) had an antiquated website with navigation based on the organization’s departmental structure, rather than the needs of customers. The predominant colors were burgundy and beige (not very water-like), the homepage was crowded, and interior pages were hard to scan for information. Much of the content was about the history of the organization and the technology used in wastewater collection and treatment–topics that were not of interest to most customers, who came to the site to pay bills, manage their accounts, and find out about outages and construction projects that would affect their water service.

Our Work
We provided user experience consulting on the project. We started with stakeholder interviews and a customer survey, to better understand and balance the needs of the organization and its customers. We then developed a web strategy, a new navigation structure with more customer-focused content and labeling, and new page layouts that are easier to read. The homepage now focuses on the news and customer service information most website visitors look for.

Outcomes
The new www.dcwater.com launched in 2008. It is more usable and customer-focused than the old site and represents the D.C. Water brand in a more favorable light. When D.C. Water and Sewer Authority rebranded itself in 2010 as D.C. Water, it was able to keep the website, updating only minor graphic elements.

 

Credits: Visual design and programming, WebFirst. Technical implementation, D.C. Water.