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Meet Natalia Cordoba: Navigating the DMV Maze

Natalia Cordoba, a 23-year-old transfer student juggling late-night shifts and a fast-paced food service job, epitomizes the diverse users navigating the Labyrinthine Nevada DMV website. For Natalia, every spare moment is precious. Seeking a personalized license plate – a symbol of her independence and individuality – becomes a metaphor for the broader DMV experience: a quest for clarity, efficiency, and a feeling of control amidst bureaucratic complexities.

Deciphering the Bureaucracy:

Natalia's story exposes the critical challenges users face:

  • Information Overload: Mountains of forms, regulations, and hidden fees felt like a bureaucratic blizzard, leaving users lost and frustrated.

  • Navigation Nightmare: Cluttered menus and illogical page structures transformed simple tasks into arduous treks, adding unnecessary stress to a complex process.

  • Accessibility Abyss: The outdated design excluded visually impaired users, tech-challenged individuals, and non-English speakers, widening the accessibility gap.

Natalia's Journey – The Design Compass:

Understanding Natalia's needs became the driving force behind the redesign. We aimed to create a website that puts the user at the center, empowering them to:

  • Navigate with Ease: Streamlined content organization, clear labeling, and intuitive navigation transform the maze into a clear path, saving users time and frustration.

  • Find Answers Effortlessly: User-friendly search functions and task-oriented guidance give users the necessary information, minimizing cognitive load and stress.

  • Access Without Exception: Conformance to WCAG guidelines and incorporation of assistive technologies ensure that everyone can participate in the DMV experience regardless of ability.

Beyond Pixels: Empowering Users:

Redesigning the Nevada DMV website went beyond aesthetics. It was about understanding users like Natalia and crafting a website that puts them first. By tackling information overload, simplifying navigation, and championing accessibility, we transformed the bureaucratic maze into a user-centered oasis. Natalia's journey through the DMV is now a smoother, more efficient, and ultimately empowering experience for her and countless others.

Ditch the Dust Devils: Navigating the New Nevada DMV

nevada dmv case study

Keren Levi Faran

Project: UC Berkeley Bootcamp Project App & Web Redesign

Role: UX|UI Design
Tools: Figma, Miro, Google, USWDS, Zoom, Usability Hub 

Nevada DMV

Navigating for Clarity

"A driver reaches a destination by driving on that road, not by laying back to enjoy the view."

Nabil N. Jamal

Imagine navigating a bureaucratic blizzard, forms swirling like snowflakes and regulations hidden in icy drifts. This was the reality for countless users on the Nevada DMV website, including Natalia Cordoba, a 23-year-old juggling late-night shifts and studies. Her simple quest for a personalized license plate – a symbol of her independence – became a labyrinthine trek. We needed to see through Natalia's eyes to dismantle this icy labyrinth truly.


User testing exposed the website's treacherous pathways, while accessibility evaluations uncovered hidden crevasses that excluded users like Natalia. Armed with empathy and a research toolkit of heuristic evaluations and 5-second tests, we charted a new course.


Leveraging the familiar colors of the existing landscape, we built a clear information architecture, replacing confusion with intuitive pathways. Each pixel in the redesigned website and its companion app was meticulously crafted for Natalia and every user seeking a smooth journey through the bureaucratic wilderness.

Empathic Research Fuels the Nevada DMV Redesign

Guided by an inspiring mood board and UI style guide, we crafted a tile of possibilities for the new Nevada DMV website. To ensure clarity and ease of use, we employed 5-second tests. Flashing the homepage for just five seconds, we asked users two questions: what's this site for? And what do you remember? The results were music to our ears!
100% recognized the DMV's purpose, and 80% recalled keywords.


Armed with this validation, we built a prototype and tested it. Four users successfully tackled their tasks, prompting minor but impactful tweaks. We added a trusty "back" button and a filter bar to tame the 60-strong license plate options. Finally, an AB test on the desktop version ensured the perfect design found its audience. This iterative process, a blend of intuition and user insights, transformed the DMV experience into a transparent, efficient, and, ultimately, delightful ride.

Beyond Aesthetics: Data-Driven Tweaks Make DMV Tasks a Breeze

"A road less traveled is a road less traveled for a reason." 

Robert Frost 

Reaching Beyond Horizons:

This redesigned Nevada DMV website is not just a destination; it's the culmination of a journey guided by user-centered principles. While hindsight illuminates new paths, the initial usability tests were our first compass for deeper understanding. If I could retrace this trek, I'd broaden the map, inviting older travelers, tech-wary explorers, and seasoned professionals like truck drivers, their diverse needs enriching the destination for all. And like a trusty cartographer, real-time Google Analytics data would become our ever-evolving map, revealing user footprints and guiding future iterations.

Milestones on the Road to Clarity:

Looking back, two pivotal decisions proved our most vital landmarks on this sometimes arduous road. The first was stepping away from the vibrant initial palette, choosing instead to navigate by the comfort of the existing colors. Simplicity became our beacon, cutting through confusion and leading users to their destinations with apparent, user-friendly ease. The second milestone was the complete overhaul of the information architecture. Here, we tore down the old, labyrinthine structures and meticulously built anew, each logical path leading users swiftly and intuitively to their desired resources.

Evolving to Serve Every Driver:

This redesigned website is a testament to the power of iterative, user-centered design. Every hurdle identified in usability tests has been systematically addressed, paving a smoother path for all users. The critical redesign of form downloads and FAQs, powered by the USWDS Design System, empowers users to reach their destinations – essential information and completed tasks – with newfound confidence. With a streamlined layout, intuitive navigation, and readily accessible resources, even the most complex DMV journeys can be traversed with clarity and minimal stress.

The Perpetual Journey:

But this is not the end of the road. This redesign is just a single stop on a continuous journey of improvement. By consistently incorporating diverse user perspectives, analyzing real-world data like a map unveils hidden paths, and embracing agile iterations, the Nevada DMV website can perpetually evolve to serve its community to the highest standard. As Robert Frost reminds us, "A road less traveled is a road less traveled for a reason." And it's precisely by venturing beyond familiar paths, embracing inclusivity, and refining our design through user-centered principles, we each have the most rewarding destinations: websites that empower every user to navigate life's bureaucratic complexities with ease and confidence.

Parking Zone... Final Thoughts