Case Study: City of San Diego 2018-05-02T21:11:23+00:00

Consumer Research + Website Design Strategy,

Redefining how residents engage with the City of San Diego.

The City of San Diego turned to Hopscotch Labs to uncover citizen’s and visitor’s real motivations and needs for the City’s website. In undertaking the website redesign, Mayor Faulconer’s goal was to visibly and tangibly show the changes undergoing within the city government while also making it easier and more user-friendly to access to City services, departments, resources, and data.
Hopscotch Labs deployed a rigorous usability testing regimen based on extensive community outreach. The project was undertaken in an iterative and agile fashion in order to ensure the best possible outcome for all stakeholders.

Client: City of San Diego


  • Design research
  • Website design strategy
  • Community engagement
  • Informal + formal interviews
  • Survey
  • Website analytics analysis
  • Heuristic analysis
  • Brand user testing
  • Website usability testing
  • Content strategy workshop
  • Information architecture
  • Wireframing + UX
Discovery research:
  • • Conducted informal interviews in all 9 City council districts and surrounding communities
  • • Conducted 10 formal interviews of staff and residents
  • • Survey reached 40,000 people
  • • Website task analytics compared to three other cities
What did we discover?
Residents turn to the City of San Diego’s website to accomplish a personal or a city task, that are either tactical and exploratory.
They want San Diego’s website to be a tool to draw businesses and tourists, and a resource tool for their needs.
Resident’s primary goals were to use the site as a:
  • Tool to create interest in the City
  • Tool to accomplish City-based or owned tasks
  • Source for neighborhood information
Civic engagement didn’t happen on the website. Jargon and unorganized content left people cold—they preferred to procrastinate or call to get their questions answered and tasks completed.
The website’s format reduced the value of images in City messaging. It also limited the ability to showcase planning initiatives, and special features and attractions around the City.
The website did not reflect San Diego’s values, lifestyle or people. The content, design, and tone of the website were a poor reflection of what San Diegans value and expect of the City.
The website gave neither Residents nor Staff reason to stay.
Departments used the website for document storage; and hack together disparate third-party apps to manage their day-to-day public services.
Evaluative research: 
  • • Logo and design testing
  • • Information architecture usability testing
  • • Alpha and Beta website usability testing

Recommendations + Outcomes

Wireframes (Homepage pictured here)
Content Strategy
Navigation Strategy
Traveler Experience
App User Experience