Seattle Tilth Alliance

UX/UI Design
User Research Methods

Background

Seattle Tilth Alliance is a Seattle based non-profit organization which provides services to promote a healthy and sustainable environment. Through this website, users are able to register for classes, events, and volunteer, and find useful tools and information to learn more about creating sustainable environment. However, users had a hard time finding critical information since the original website was densely packed with content. In order to provide information to customers concisely and increase traffic to the website, Seattle Tilth Alliance decided to overhaul their website.

This was an academic project in User Research Methods class and I worked on this project with another teammate. I was both User researcher and UX designer. I took responsibility for all user research activities and visual design recommendations to our client.

Goal

Research and analyze the users' needs and interaction with the website.
Build a clean and logical site structure to help users navigate to the right path.
Make the website more informative to provide relevant information to customers.

Design Process and User Research

I conducted 6 user research activities. Each activity had different strengths, weaknesses, and research goals. Check my final presentation to see all the research details.

Seattle Tilth Alliance User Research Methods and Design Process
Competitive Analysis Find ideas for how similar sites are designed and function
Contextual Interview Identify users' wants and needs and how to meet them
Baseline Testing Establish where there are difficulties with the current site
Card Sorting Establish clear information architecture
Paper Prototype and Comparative Testing Evaluate strengths and weaknesses in initial redesign

Paper Prototype

Seattle Tilth Alliance Papaer Prototype

Low Fidelity Wireframe

Seattle Tilth Wireframe

Visual Design

Seattle Tilth Alliance Visual Design

Insight

PROBLEM SOLUTION
The original navigation had too many lables and some of the namings were too ambiguous for users to predict what the page is about. Reduced the number of the lables in the navigation, and made each name more straight forward so that users are able to navigate to the right path more easily. (*Still need to consider building a dropdown menu)
Since the original home page didn't have any contents besides a navigation and a main large image, there was no information that users can know/learn from the page. Added more contents such as featured classes and tools, and a link to new blog article. It will allow users to notice the latest information and featured products and services when they visit the site.
Since most of the pages were densely packed with a large amout of text, users were having a hard time to browse the pages. New classes/events page visually displays all the categories on the page. Users are able to see discriptions of each category by hovering the image. It made it possible to reduce a large amount of text from their original classes page and give more white space.
In the paper prototype testing, around half of the participants prefered being able to see calendar view besides the categories. By considering both users who prefer using category view and calendar view, I installed a switch button feature with which users are able to switch between the category view and calendar view without scrolling the page or loading another page.

Final Thoughts / Reflection

Through this user research project, I was able to obtain a deeper understanding of how to identify usability issues and establish solutions in design by understanding users. I learned the importance of identifying objectives and goals for each research activity by noticing that some of the interview questions were not appropriate or didn't generate any useful data. By defining what I'm going to learn from users upfront I will be able to choose right tools and make a more solid interview script to collect more useful data. In order to avoid this issue, I also learned that a pilot test will help me to find the problems and fix them before conducting the test with real users.

Seattle Tilth Alliance Website Mac View

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