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Taking a Farmer-First Approach to Help our Nation's Producers

2 MIN READ

03/11/2021
Taking a Farmer-First Approach to Help our Nation's Producers

Overview

Farmers.gov provides consolidated, digestible, and critical resources and information from multiple USDA agencies for our Nation’s farmers and ranchers collectively called producers. The website, a major initiative of former Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, transforms communication between USDA and their customers. 

Since March 2018, MetroStar has led the design and development of the public-facing website for the USDA Farm Production and Conservation (FPAC) mission area. Information and tools on loans, disaster recovery, conservation programs, and a service center locator are easily accessed on farmers.gov.

Constructed for farmers, by farmers, the site is one of the top 25 High-Impact Service Providers (HISP) across the Federal Government.   

Based on user research, commonly used devices, and content interaction, we created an optimized, farmer-centric User Interface (UI). Our work with farmers.gov is prioritized for continuous improvement and enhancement of the website and its tools to always provide value to our users.  

Highlights of our Role: 

  • Applying expertise in Human-Centered Design (HCD) to identify, define, and prioritize design and development of functionality, resources, and content that provides user value 

  • Developing and implementing a custom design system based on USWDS principles 

  • Developing custom modules and tools using modern front-end responsive frameworks in the Drupal Content Management System (CMS) 


Key Outcomes

5M+

users tracked

640,000+

producers connected to local USDA service centers

13M+

page views

Tech, Tools, and Approach

  • Following an integrated approach to develop the site with Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe®), Human-Centered Design, and Lean UX.   

  • Implementing Drupal 8, a CMS vital to many modernization projects, with a core set of modules that allow developers to stand up a website fairly quickly, while also allowing for complex customizations that incorporate other software.   

  • Improving efficiency, quality, and velocity using the Atlassian Stack: Jira, Confluence, Stride, Sketch, and InVision Integration. 

  • Creating and executing an Azure Hosted Development and Test Environments.  

  • Creating and following content writing guidelines, various training materials, and a custom farmers.gov design system. 

  • Developing highly customized tools for the site, such as the Farm Loan Discovery Tool, Conservation Concerns Tool, and Service Center Locator.   

  • Providing regular reporting based on data collected from the General Services Administration’s (GSA) Digital Analytics Program (DAP), Google Analytics, HotJar, Google Data Studio, Feedback widget, 508 Compliance testing, and usability testing. 

     

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