Michigan 2-1-1 is a free service that connects residents with basic, and often emergent, services and resources throughout the state. They coordinate with thousands of health and human service agencies to provide fast response. Michigan 2-1-1 responds to calls for help, similar to 9-1-1, by tapping into a large network of partners across Michigan. They help struggling families with everyday concerns, like mounting bills, childcare, food assistance programs and job placement. They are also a resource in times of crisis, offering services for domestic abuse victims and reporting human trafficking.
In addition, Michigan 2-1-1 collects valuable data from calls and web visits to learn more about social needs in certain communities. Government officials often use this data to enact policies to improve the lives of Michigan residents where it’s most needed.
In 2018, Michigan 2-1-1 sought to work with a web development agency to redesign their website. The majority of their web traffic was coming from mobile devices, yet their website was unresponsive, making it difficult for users to navigate information. Many services were difficult for residents to access, or they were unaware that certain services existed.
Michigan 2-1-1 hired Gravity Works to built a user-focused website that helps people connect with the resources they need as quickly as possible.
The website needed to meet the needs of their audience, which is primary females living in low income environments, aged 24–45. Most importantly, it needed to make it simple for people to get help, even in an emotional situation or mental state. That’s why we designed the homepage to guide users to the information they need, ideally in one click. The homepage design needed to have clear navigation and present information in a way that’s easy to process.
We built search functionality and filters into the hero space of the homepage. When users first access the website, they are asked a simple question – ”How can we help you?” Users can begin typing in a response (e.g. bill pay assistance) which will generate a list of results with those keywords. There’s also a filter to narrow your result further by a specific location. The homepage displays a set of categories (with helpful icons) to make it simple for users to take advantage of services and programs offered through Michigan 2-1-1. Each major category (e.g. healthcare or disaster services) has a dedicated landing page with detailed information.
Another important feature of the new website is the interactive map, which helps users connect with Michigan 2-1-1 at the community level. By clicking on any service or program, users are presented with a map of every location across the state. Filtering options are available to narrow results to a particular area. Once users have found their ideal service locations, they can easily connect online or over the phone. They can choose to add services to their “favorites” list or print information to access at a later time.
We’re continuing to work with Michigan 2-1-1 toward a barrier-free web experience, connecting Michigan families to life-improving services, programs and resources.