IdeaLab – CDC

Design Thinking

One critical piece of the IdeaLab Initiative when it comes to design thinking is the target audience. CDC has a unique makeup of highly specialized highly educated Professionals whose proficiencies generally lie away from computers and technology. The age demographic is older than the general internet population.

What this lead to was a need for font that was readable by an audience which may have lowered vision, clear options of how to navigate the site, and basically error proofing. If you strip everything away, the site has 2 basic underlying functions: reading and posting. The former being the primary use case. From the very first page, all roads lead to one of these two destinations. There’s no wrong way to navigate the site. Search, category browse, tag cloud navigation, most recent post, most recent comment, email notifications, rss feeds for categories, and so on. There’s even a random post option.


About the Project

Innovation is created by connecting people and exploiting what is known. IdeaLab is a web-based, peer-to-peer network that was created to break through barriers and harness the collective wisdom of CDC employees stationed around the world. IdeaLab enables employees to use their insights and experiences to help colleagues build and implement high-impact solutions to important public health challenges.

Employees may post their “Ideas” or “Help Wanted” requests, comment on other users’ posts, and vote on the quality of the posts and comments. Submissions are attributed and authenticated in real time. Ideas are categorized according to CDC organizational goals, and related ideas are affinity-grouped using tag clouds. A weekly “Bright Idea” highlights a submission that has broad agency interest across multiple national centers and offices. All communications are stored in a searchable archive that anyone at CDC can review at anytime.

I have been the lead designer and developer for CDC IdeaLab. My team initiated and manage IdeaLab and its promotion and serve as its advocates.

In December 2009, IdeaLab was accepted into the White House Open Innovations Gallery. For more on CDC IdeaLab and Open Government, visit CDC IdeaLab on the White House Innovation Gallery.