U.S. Army RDECOM Directorate Website Redesign
BRTRC Federal Solutions Project
Create a system and design standard for the departmental pages of the U.S. Army Research, Design and Engineering Command SharePoint site. The existing intranet site (established on a SharePoint platform) is the primary source for all resources and digital materials for all of the headquarters' various departments. The existing pages were inconsistent and lacked the needed organization and usability to be the most effective resource to the client.
The Starting Point
The U.S. Army RDECOM headquarters is divided into a series of departments referred to as "directorates," which are further divided into sub-departments. Most of the directorates have their own webpage on the organization's SharePoint site to hold all of that department's resources, announcements, etc (see above for a screenshot of the page for the G-3 directorate). As you can see, the existing page had no sense of order or priority/hierarchy. Two navigation bars — one at the top and another extensive one on the left — were used to create single click navigation to various libraries, sub-department pages, etc. Needless to say, the page format was not only challenging on the eyes, but overwhelming when trying to locate a specific reference or file. In addition, consistency throughout the SharePoint site was lacking — the page of a different directorate could be radically different and feature a completely different arrangement of data, number of links, navigation, etc.
Before addressing any of the aesthetic issues, we knew that we first needed to dive into the organization of the contents and develop a consistent and recognizable system that could be applied to any department, regardless of its focus (public affairs, security, human resources, etc). With that in mind, we choose the organizational structure of directorates and sub-departments to establish a system for the pages. The directorate page would feature only the resources relevant to the entire department along with links to additional pages for each of the individual sub-departments to house the content specific to those groups. To further control the "content chaos," the sub-department pages would link to additional pages created for important or frequently expanded content libraries.
The Directorate Page
Using G-1, the Human Resources Directorate, as a guinea pig, we developed a structure for a standard directorate page. The webpage as a whole was simplified — the width was narrowed, the left side navigation removed, the top navigation reduced to only essential links and a unique "hero image" employed to more easily identify the directorate site. The page's contents were limited to buttons connecting to each sub-department and any directorate-wide resources — which in this case, were simply department announcements.
The Sub-Department Page
The sub-department page features the same hero image with a modified label to show the department's relationship to its parent directorate. This page structure also features button links to all of the sub-department's primary libraries — each featuring an icon to quickly identify the nature of the library content, making navigation quicker and easier for the user.
The Library Page
The library page has a header featuring the associated icon, library name, directorate & sub-department names for easy recognition. The page also features content tabs that can be used to hide/reveal sub-libraries of content based on the user's security/rights limitations.