Project Overview

As a User Experience Architect and Visual Designer, I was part of a small and tremendously powerful team that was tasked to use our user-centered design thinking in order to tame the chaos of 10+ disparate websites for one of the world’s largest membership organizations serving over 400,000 members in more than 140 countries. Working closely with our client and their users, we created an intuitive, efficient, and scalable global design architecture.

Not only did we deliver the tangibles of personas, usability test summaries and a beautiful and flexible design pattern library, we also helped plant a future-focused and user-centered culture for the entire org.

Activities

During the initial phase of this project, I performed a competitive analysis and landscape review of several other membership organizations, both related and unrelated to the client’s business area.

I also began a review of the analytics across the client’s various sites and continued to monitor and reveal usage habits throughout the project.

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One of several personas created

During this defining stage of the project, the team and I worked to explore and refine several personas that the client supplied us, and in turn used them in our creation of use cases and a high-level system sitemap.

Once gaining subject-matter expert level knowledge of the client and their members, I conducted an open card sort consisting of 40 cards that represented key content types found in the client’s current system in order to inform the global information architecture.

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Dendrogram visualization for card sort analysis

After careful analysis of the card sort data, I was able to present the findings to both our internal team as well as our client, creating an open and on-going discussion on the client’s content and how best to organize it for ease of discovery.

During the time the card sort was taking place, I helped conduct several usability tests of the client’s current system at our client’s office and at an industry conference. A colleague and I both took turns moderating the testing sessions and taking notes. The usability testing of 12 critical tasks provided our team with insights on painful experiences, which were conveyed to the client through a detailed report.

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UT task success grid

Once the pain points across the critical paths were identified and validated, I created customer journey maps describing when and where friction was occurring, and begin to explore improved flows in order to alleviate the users’ anxiety and frustrations. These new flows were integral in informing the wireframes and prototypes the team and I created.

account-wire

With the wireframed prototypes of the new elegant and intuitive global system created, we conducted usability testing on the new proposed system on the same critical tasks as the initial testing. During the testing, we were able to make minor tweaks to continuously improve the system as any minor issues arose. The results were measured against the previous usability test results, proving that our new global architecture was an astounding success.

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With a new and improved prototyped, tested and validated global architecture system created, reusable design patterns (with influence by Atomic Design) were documented in a design pattern library, visually showing stakeholders what and how each item works, and its role in the larger system.