For LIS 643: Information Architecture and Interaction Design at Pratt Institute this semester long project involved creating a prototype for a hypothetical Intrepid website redesign. My design story looks at the different elements that helped inform the final prototype for my group.
Interviewing Users to Create Personas
Part of the process of creating a persona involved the first user research I did for this class. Doing the user research component helped me start thinking about, who is this website for? What elements do users want to see on a website? This helped get my thought process in motion for the next steps of the project and it helped me to keep these questions in mind throughout.
I found card sorting to be one of the foundational steps of the entire prototype process. I liked the analysis tools in Optimal Workshop (pictured above) and the way they helped visually analyze the data to see similarities between the different user card sorts. This definitely assisted in creating categories to help construct a preliminary site map for the tree test. The user research also helped give us further insight into how users think and might interact with the Intrepid website information.
I set up the tree test for my group based on the analyzed, shared categories we derived from the card sort. At this stage, we began to get an idea of how to organize the enormous amount of information the Intrepid website has to offer and how we might be able to set up a different navigational system for our prototype. Within the navigation, our options were defined by what we learned users thought belonged in certain categories from the card sort.
For both tests I used four different people so it was really great to get those different perspectives about what the website could look like. It helped crystallize awareness of issues like the Tours section and the Get Involved section, which we would later discover had its own down sides.
Creating the sitemap on paper as a group helped me visualize what the different categories of navigation were. It was also a really good way as a group to pool the results of our analyzed areas in a non-digital way and to compare anecdotally the results of our tree tests and card sorts.
I evaluated the homepage portion of the competitors’ websites for this analysis and it really allowed me to focus on an area of a website that is the introduction to the rest of the website. This evaluation taught me one thing I really don’t like about some homepages is all the scrolling. I think it’s important to keep information on the homepage succinct and easy to navigate. I tried to keep this in mind throughout to help inform our prototype.
The first prototype provided some very helpful feedback. I had the opportunity to look at the prototype with two very opinionated users and they made me realize the issues with the Get Involved area of the website, which I had thought we did a great job of developing during the sitemap phase. It was really eye opening, in a positive way, to have other people look at something we had become overly comfortable with and poke holes into it.
The Final Prototype
Interestingly, throughout the process the taskflows pretty much remained the same from the first prototype evaluation to the final one. I think this shows that we created decent navigation that carried us throughout the process despite some labeling changes.
From all our testing, we definitely tried to stay away from the long scrolling of the current Intrepid site, while focusing more on the content and specific visual elements. This information came from a lot of discussions with users.
The calendar had varying success with usability tests. It went through a few iterations. Initially it started with just day-of details without the full month calendar but my users said they wanted to see a fuller picture of events.
The Get Involved area saw the most “controversy” with users. It was always meant to include membership but user feedback made us realize that Get Involved did not properly indicate membership. The name was meant to be inclusive but ended up just being confusing.
The process really came together in the end. All the steps contributed in their own way to final prototype, which is a clean and easy to navigate. Here are the links to the prototypes: