Case Studies


New York State Department of Motor Vehicles


Working with Governor Cuomo’s Communications Department and the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, we overhauled the DMV  brand as part of a statewide Customer Service Initiative.  

The problem

As the face of state government to most New Yorkers, the Department of Motor Vehicles had a reputation for being inefficient and technologically backward.

The solution

Our creative strategy promotes the DMV as the friendly, capable, efficient agency it is today. Its state-of-the-art website and offices meet the diverse needs of millions of New Yorkers each day. The brand welcomes visitors to the website whose information architecture satisfies the needs of both individuals and organizations. Its content is written in federally mandated 'Plain English'  and its message easily syndicated via social media networks.  Like all websites we design today, the site is also responsive to whether a visitor is using their smart phone, tablet or desktop computer to view the site.

In settling on the best user experience - we performed extensive user tests to establish benchmarks for measuring success of the site - and to identify and resolve any issues with the new site’s user-interface. The site is built using the open source CMS Drupal with special attention to Section 508 compliance, Search Engine Optimization, and integration with Social Media platforms. Its features include interactive maps, a browsable database of forms, and the use of taxonomy to present relevant forms alongside editorial content.

We provided content development in the form of a strong Information Architecture, an analysis of existing content, the recommendation of new content, stock photo research, original illustration, and the training of close to 100 staff members to rewrite hundreds of pages of Web site content using Plain Language guidelines. We also created key pages in six languages including: Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Russian, Italian, Haitian Creole, and Korean.

The reuse

The website's conversational tone supports the agency’s key message  "Welcome to the DMV, how can we help you today?" This is carried over into the physical design of the DMV offices. 

The accolades

We're so proud that the site has won aPinnacle Award (decided by a panel of experts from inside and outside government), a National Association of Government Web Designer Members’ Choice Award (decided by popular vote), as well as a Best Website Award from whose praise included:

"The New York DMV website is very user friendly with a forms search application that is quite handy and a conveniently located 'Save time, do it online' button."