Usability Connects a Community with Its Public Utility


Tacoma Public Utilities (TPU) provides services that are vital to Tacoma citizens’ quality of life: Power, Water, Rail, and Click! Cable TV. Publicly owned since 1893, TPU is the largest department in Tacoma City government. Our goal for this project was to create a responsive website in WordPress that highlights an updated design and improves the overall experience for their visitors.

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Starting with Research

Our user experience team collaborated with the TPU team for goal setting, tree testing and card sorting activities. The results informed wireframes, prototypes and helped establish a new information architecture for the website. We also met with key stakeholders across the organization to identify their goals for the project. We learned that the website had a high bounce rate because the customers could not quickly find what they were looking for — answers to questions and contact information.

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Improved Information Architecture

Prior to the redesign, each of TPU’s services were housed in three sections of the main website: Power, Water, and Rail. Three separate sections made for a lot of duplicate content. Research uncovered valuable insights about user search: people were searching for topics, rather than by department. User behavior informed new navigation to help users to find resources by topics such as Outages & Safety and Ways to Save.

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“It was a pleasure to work with the SiteCrafting team. They were responsive, brought us data-informed recommendations, and kept us on track. It felt more like working with coworkers than an outside agency.”

Emily Privet
Community Relations Officer, Digital Experience

Custom Training Sessions

Each department in TPU updates their own sections of the website. Prior to launch, we provided multiple training sessions that were customized for each department and focused on how to edit and manage content in each area. We also provided full training for the TPU marketing team.

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