USPS Taps AKQA for Site Design

The United States Postal Service tapped AKQA to handle interactive design for its online presence at USPS.com, a contract that could last five years and yield as much as $55 million in billings.” Separately, the agency launched a new mobile marketing unit, called AKQA mobile.

The USPS account previously belonged to Aquilent, formerly known as Commerce One, which provides IT and Web services to Federal agencies.

AKQA will handle the work from its Washington D.C. office, whose other clients include AOL and ESPN. It will develop all online experiences for the site, while outsourcing the technical and analytics portions of the assignment to Accenture.

“The fact that they engaged AKQA is such a sea change for the Postal Service,” said Jason Whiting, managing director of AKQA’s D.C. office. “They’re used to working with the IBMs and Hewlett Packards — these huge integrators.”

Whiting said the assignment will require a balance between preserving the continuity of the existing user experience and embracing a new wave of interactive services and design concepts.

“We have to make sure people who have used the Postal Service site for the past five years can find what they’re used to,” he said. “At the same time, we don’t want new users to think USPS.com is stodgy… [but] that they have the latest of what other companies are creating on the Web.”

The contract specifies that AKQA will handle interactive design for up to five years, and that the account will be reviewed each year. Total billings are not to exceed $55 million.

Separately, the agency started a new wireless unit, AKQA Mobile, to be led by Daniel Rosen, a founder of mobile marketing firm 12snap and later an executive with U.K.-based agency Greenland.

“Right now I can’t think of a single AKQA client that is not working on a mobile project of some kind with us, so in that respect the whole company is driving this forward and part of it,” said AKQA Chairman Ajaz Ahmed.

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