Website Design

AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety

Project

Saving Lives through 
Research and Education

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is the research and education arm of AAA. Their mission is to save lives by preventing traffic crashes and reducing injuries when crashes occur. Their four main research priorities are Driver Behavior and Performance, Emerging Technologies, Roadway Systems and Drivers, and Vulnerable Road Users.

The Beekeeper Group team (including me) was brought in to redesign the Foundation’s site, aaafoundation.org, which was old, outdated, and hard to navigate.

Homepage for AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety

Discovery

Research & Takeaways

We conducted interviews with the Foundation team to understand the pain points of their current site and their goals for the new site.

We learned the Foundation’s most important content was their impressive body of research, which was getting lost on their current site. They needed this content to be easier to find, easier to search, and accessible for scholars and non-experts alike. We spoke with them in-depth about their different types of documents—Reports, Research Briefs, and Fact Sheets—and created templates that handled their individual nuances.

Another pain point of the current site was that the outdated look made the Foundation’s content feel less credible. The Foundation actually follows rigorous academic guidelines. All their content is nonpartisan and peer-reviewed, and they’re a nonprofit—they don’t take money from the auto industry. The Foundation team wanted their new site to look professional, provide context and transparency around their work, and highlight their experts.

Example of a Research Brief

Site Goal

To promote the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety as a leader in traffic safety to a wider academic and consumer audience, so the Foundation’s landmark studies will be used to save more lives on the road.

Discovery

Target Audiences

We identified 3 main audience groups:

Academic community—Want them to use and reference the Foundation’s research in their work, and promote the Foundation as an authoritative source of best practices on traffic safety issues.

Consumers—Want them to understand the value the Foundation provides, and incorporate their most important findings into their transportation habits.

Media—Want them to view the Foundation as an authoritative source of best practices in traffic safety, and use and reference their content when writing relevant news stories.

Design

Visual Style

The client wanted their site to feel academic, but not stuffy, and to incorporate their current branding (which is different than AAA’s brand). We kept the design clean and simple, and especially focused on making the lengthy text pleasant to read.

Finding photography for the site proved to be more challenging than expected. The Foundation doesn’t have its own photo library, so we stuck primarily with stock photos. It was important for all images to depict people practicing traffic safety, including proper hand position on the steering wheel, proper seatbelt positioning, cyclists wearing helmets, no limbs out the window, no cell phones, etc. Many stock images show comically poor traffic safety, so our team spent hours digging through for appropriate images.

  • Photo of mom driving kid
  • Photo of gridlock
  • Photo of driver, with hands correctly on the steering wheel
  • Photo of teen learning to drive
  • Photo of kid waiting to cross the street, holding adult's hand
  • Photo of responsible teen drivers

Design

A Focus on Research

The new site puts the Foundation’s research front-and-center. Notable features:

  • Main Research landing page lets users filter by their 4 main research categories to better browse through hundreds of studies. It is also optimized to be searchable by Google Scholar.
  • Individual Report and Research Brief pages include Suggested Citation text, to encourage academics to reference Foundation work (and improve the Foundation’s Impact Factor).
  • Detailed People pages highlight their researchers’ expertise and include a list of their internal and external publications.

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