Trends in Workforce Website Design: The Future of Workforce Websites

Understanding National Workforce TrendsWorkforceGraphic

Over the last decade, a difficult economic environment has arisen, across sectors and at all levels of society. Under the new economic reality, lower revenue has forced many organizations to downsize, and smaller budgets constrain the breadth of their recruitment activities. Record numbers of displaced workers face uncertain futures with fewer options and opportunities for employment, and longer periods of unemployment. College students can no longer assume they will find employment in their chosen fields and policy makers, challenged with a dwindling tax base, must make difficult funding decisions, often having to choose between eliminating needed programs and scaling back funding across the board.  One unifying factor for all these citizens is an acute need for a comprehensive source of workforce information that will address their specific requirements.

All states provide information, programs and services that assist their citizens in job searches, learning about unemployment eligibility and benefits, temporary aid, and training.  They provide recruitment assistance and information on labor law, safety, workers compensation, and issues of unemployment from an employer’s perspective.  They also publish statistics on labor market information and outcomes of long-term studies.  Unfortunately, it can be daunting for individuals to navigate through all this helpful information to locate those tools, services and information most relevant to them.  To compound the issue, often there are several agencies that oversee different pieces of the workforce puzzle and it can be difficult to pinpoint precisely where to find the information being sought.

Developing a Unified Workforce Website to Serve Users Statewide

Many states have begun to refresh their workforce websites to help manage the needs of users across the workforce spectrum and to provide them an intuitive and user-friendly place to access needed information. These websites unite the programs and services of all workforce agencies in a single, easy to navigate website that directs users to available resources most relevant to them.

The Center for Innovative Technology team identified a number of states that have developed innovative and dynamic websites to serve the needs of users statewide. The advantages of a robust workforce website include:

  • Aligning agency programs through a single, easy-to-access interface
  • Highlighting workforce programs across agencies
  • Directing users to the services and resources available to them
  • Connecting job-seekers with employment opportunities, job training, and unemployment services available to them
  • Providing workforce data to researchers and policymakers
  • Helping members of the public develop career pathways
  • Providing resources to students seeking employment and internship opportunities

Research Methodology

The team conducted a nationwide analysis of the types of websites other states have developed to help address their citizens’ needs. Research and methodologies were based on the problem statement, “What information do citizens seek related to workforce and workforce development and how can the information best be presented on a single website?” A secondary consideration was, “Are there existing examples of effective state websites that deliver the information citizens need in a simple, easy-to-use format?”

The team examined and analyzed workforce-related websites in all 50 states and interviewed several stakeholders regarding their requirements for an effective state workforce website.

Selected Research Findings

The following section summarizes several key findings that emerged.

Figure 1. The Idaho Department of Labor’s website provides-at a-glance functionality and incorporates social media.

Workforce agencies should assess the needs of stakeholders when designing a workforce website. Effective workforce websites require input from various constituencies, including job-seekers, employers, policy makers, veterans, and researchers, in order to develop a user experience that caters to stakeholder needs.

Website interfaces should map to the primary needs of stakeholders.Websites should utilize an interface that prioritizes user needs and links to services in an easy-to-navigate format.

Ease of navigation is critical to serving stakeholder needs. Site navigability relies on minimal clicks and clear menu options to ensure that site users can find and access internal and external resources.

Figure 2. The Texas Workforce Commission’s targeted website makes it easy for different audience types to find information of most interest to them.

Site language should be brief and to the point. Menus, sub-menus, and pages should avoid using extensive language or lengthy text descriptions about services or resources. Some states have begun to use representative photographs, icons, and videos in place of lengthy descriptions.

Workforce websites can utilize drop-down and sidebar menus to provide a clean, organized user experience. Given the diversity of user needs across workforce constituencies, workforce websites must be able to meet the capabilities of all users. Drop-down menus and sidebars with clear links and easy to access resources via a simple interface can meet the needs of users of all skill and career levels.

Scrolling images and slideshows are effective for highlighting success stories, linking to department services, and providing easy to find links. States including California, Florida, Hawaii, and Minnesota use slideshows on the homepage to provide links to such features as job banks, employee success stories, reemployment assistance, and so forth. Slideshows often are easier to navigate than menus or lists of links and are effective for calling attention to specific workforce news, services, and/or resources.

Figure 3. Job Center of Wisconsin's website has a minimum of text and uses dropdown menus to point users to focused resources.

Many workforce websites are integrating social media and Twitter feeds onto the site homepage.Nationally, thirty-seven workforce websites integrate social media to some extent. Several states, including Alaska and New Jersey have a Twitter feed on the homepage. Workforce tweets typically provide information and updates regarding employment programs, job training, continuing education opportunities, and other workforce-related matters.

Embedded videos are an effective means of providing information to job-seekers and employers. Several states, including Mississippi, New Jersey, North Dakota, and Ohio share videos on the workforce website. Videos generally include testimonials by employees in a particular industry, testimonials by employers regarding business development in the state, and information on workforce training programs.



Read the full report and discover:

  • Strategies for improving the design of a workforce website
  • Methods for conducting a needs assessment for workforce stakeholders
  • Best practices in developing a user-friendly website interface
  • Innovative practices to boost site traffic and improve delivery of services
  • Analyses of state workforce website designs
  • Ideas for improving interagency communications
  • Tips for understanding the key requirements of employers, job-seekers, policy-makers, and students
  • Trends in popular website features, including social media, newsfeeds, and more
  • Interviews with selected Virginia workforce stakeholders

For a copy of the complete report, contact CIT Connect at