County Health Rankings & Roadmaps

The County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program is run by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute (UW PHI) and funded by grants from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). The website provides health rankings and data for counties across the United States as well as numerous resources to help communities utilize the data to improve their health.

Final homepage design Final home page design.

Final rankings app design Final design of the health rankings application.

Final designs Final designs of a health factor page, the action center, and the blog.

My Role

As UX Lead, I was ultimately responsible the website’s user experience. I also coordinated the work of my design team, a UX associate and interaction designer.


Business goals workshops, use-case development, content audit, content strategy, analytics strategy and implementation, information architecture, usability studies, sketching, wireframing, and HTML prototyping.

Design Problems

  • Visitors had difficulty finding the resources in the Action Center, a repository of articles on how to improve health in your community.
  • Incorporate two long-form reports into the site.
  • While the local health data brought many visitors, it was a challenge for them to zoom out and find more information about health factors, additional measures, and next steps.
  • It was cumbersome to navigate between different counties and states within the rankings application.

What We Did

  • Redesigned the Action Center after an analytics review and usability study. Long articles were separated into smaller ones, making resources easier to find on the page.
  • Created a reusable, long-form report content type for their annual report and a custom solution for their Health Gaps report, a state-specific publication. Both reports were based on the same design. A new Reports section was also added to the site.
  • Conducted a comprehensive content inventory.
  • Added canonical pages for additional measures, optimizing for search. Navigation was added between these pages and related state-specific measure pages.
  • Site search was completely redesigned to add rankings application results and auto-complete features.

A New Action Center

I reviewed the site’s analytics data first to set a performance baseline and see how users were using the Action Center. Then came wireframes, prototypes, and usability testing. The final design incorporated the usability testing findings and a modernized visual design.

At the initial kickoff meeting we had decided the client’s annual conference, the American Public Health Association (APHA), would be the perfect place to run the usability study. Attending the conference would give us access to the target audience, namely policy makers, public health officials and workers, and educators. This gave us approximately two months to do our analytics review, develop prototypes, and create the study materials.

Screencast of prototype 1 Bootstrap prototype of the first concept to test. Design utilizes a modal dialog for the Activities content.

Screencast of prototype 2 Bootstrap prototype of the second concept. Separate pages are used here for the Activities content.

Wireframes after the usability study Wireframes of the Action Center showing changes made to the design after conducting usability studies at APHA.

Final style guide We updated the style guide to modernize the design and optimize for legibility.

Final designs for the Action Center Final designs for the Action Center.


After launching the redesigned Action Center we saw improvements across a variety of metrics.

Measurable improvements


With each year’s release of the data the site receives a lot of press. Here are some of my favorites.

“With a dazzling website, the survey offers a breadth of health information at the county level including tobacco use, obesity and heavy alcohol use.” -

  • Income Inequality: It’s Also Bad for Your Health - NY Times
  • The Health Profile Of Every County In America, Mapped - Fast Company
  • Early death rates dropping, but not in many poor areas - USA Today
  • This Map Shows the Deadliest Counties in the U.S. - Time
  • What Your ZIP Code Says About Your Health - The Takeaway

Visit County Health Rankings & Roadmaps at: