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National Safety Council

Naveed Usman

March 05, 2019

Making our roadways safer by providing drivers with the knowledge they need to excel behind the wheel.

“The Usman Group couldn’t have been easier to collaborate with. They were able to help develop and engineer a website experience that took into account the best of a number of ideas. We were very pleased with their willingness to work with us to continually improve MyCarDoesWhat.org.”

— Alex Epstein, ‎Director of Transportation Safety, National Safety Council

The Challenge

There are approximately 222 million licensed drivers in the US. Many of them are driving vehicles with new technologies that make driving safer. With ever-changing technologies and safety features, knowing how, and when, to use them is a key ingredient in reducing accidents. But how do you deliver this information to a vast and widely diverse audience?

Our Strategy

The National Safety Council, in partnership with the University of Iowa, engaged the Usman Group to create a stand-alone branded website that would provide information about the latest automotive safety features and provide answers to driver’s questions. The site would have to appeal to drivers of all backgrounds and ages — that is, every driver in America over the age of 18. And keep them engaged with interactive and entertaining content. Easy, right?

So, how do you design an interactive experience that spans multiple messaging points, interest levels and generations? Our answer: by keeping things simple.

We knew the site needed to be direct, intuitive and highly skimmable. So we took a minimalist approach to the design elements, topic categories and navigation. This meant moving outside the traditional lines of a typical homepage experience and introducing a larger, less-is-more concept, such as easy to recognize icons in lieu of text; and quick, fun quizzes to help steer users to crucial car safety information.

“Although much of what we do is grounded in crafting virtual experiences, the irony is that nothing beats face-to-face interactions. We’ve found that much of the ambiguity gets wiped out when you’re talking through and demonstrating interactions in real-time (especially to a group of strangers).”

— Naveed Usman

To save on time and avoid costly rework, our collaborative planning sessions included things like sketching layout options, presenting interactive samples, and pontificating over page hierarchies and navigational workflows. We performed extensive keyword research to ensure the proper nomenclature was used throughout the site’s copy and code. We also used feedback from a research study about what vehicle safety features drivers cared about most, and made those easy to find on the homepage and global navigation.

The Results

The site began with a soft launch in mid-2015, followed by a full roll-out of the site that fall during a formal ceremony with the US Secretary of Transportation and the Administrator of the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The site was also promoted through multiple traditional media channels and outlets, including outdoor, print, TV, radio, social, paid search and web banner ads.

During our post-launch phase, we learned that the majority of people who visited the microsite were between ages 45-65. Also, nearly half of these users accessed the site via their smartphones–proving correct our assumption that a mobile-first experience would widely appeal to an older demographic.