Sea Smart is a charity in Vancouver, Canada that primarily educates children on ocean related topics and also offers a range of programs for adults and companies.
My Role Lead UX Research & Concept
Length August 2021 ~ 3 weeks
Sector #Non-Profit #Nature Conservation #Education
Team UX Research & Design: Valleria & Helmar, Project Management: Paloma
Tools Miro, Figma & Zoom
After the rapid redesign of Sea Smart's website we planned and conducted an usability test with testers representative to Sea Smart's user segments.
Evidence from usability testing showed the current information architecture is confusing.
However, for a re-iteration additional convincing was needed.
After moderated testing the first obstacle was to create buy-in for the project and convince the charity's founder of the severity of the navigational issue we uncovered.
To communicate the business impact of the navigational flaw I created storyboards featuring quotes from our usability testing sessions.
Upon presenting it to the management I achieved buy-in for the following iteration.
Storyboards of Happy Path vs Exploration
Before anything else we needed to align within our 2 headed design team and our manager.
A holistic map created in collaboration with the manager helped to bring clarity into how the Sea Smart School communicates with Community Managers of prospective donors.
For additional alignment we assessed the Information Architecture and held a session of Problem Framing.
Problem- & Opportunity statement lead to our Hypothesis to fix the naviational issue by designing an “internal landing page” and rehaul entry points.
How might we.. improve findability & navigation, so that our prospective partners have a seamless experience while exploring and navigating back & forth on the website?
To understand our user segment of prospective donors we did desk research about corporate sponsors and created an agnostic Proto Persona combined with findings from Usability Testing.
Competitive Research lead us to understand recognizable signifiers to recommend entry points and cater to Jakob's Law.
Here I present the traceability of our insights leading to features in the delivered mockup.
Based on the current Design System and hierachy of the the charity's website layout we created wireframes of the internal sub-landing page. We presented multiple versions for review and gather feedback from the manager.
Here is a collection of points to rationalize the design concept we moved on with.
Starting on Miro and from there moving to Figma we reviewed & discussed different iterations with the project manager and implementation team in collaborative meetings.
Above all this was the first project that I took a lead on and it truly was a challenge, I wasn’t prepared for but when are we really? Every Product Design challenge is different in some regard and we need to make use of our experience with the tools we learned with confidence. I couldn't have lead the process of this project without the mentorship in my past training - neverthless I wished for more guidance.
In the beginning of the project an early usability testing would have uncovered flaws of the website and help us to make evidence-based design decisions. However, this gave me the opportunity to learn and back up design decision with research in the subsequent project.
Both are vital for the success of any project and there need to be extra efforts made when working with remote teams and multiple stakeholders. There are plenty of Workshop formats that can be utilized catering to this need. Involving stakeholders actively only comes with benefits.
The other UX Volunteer as well as the Project Manager who worked with me discontinued their work with Sea Smart School as other opportunities arose for them.
As much as I loved to test the implementation, I decided to also stop my volunteering commitment as working across so many time-zones was already taking a toll on me and I needed to focus on finding a paid employment above all.
Soon after I started volunteering for a local Meetup Berlin Product Designers, that I am still commited to as of today, and also found my first role as a Junior UX Consultant.