WhoWhatWhy

Problem

The goal is to research and identify user experience improvements for the current investigative journalism WhoWhatWhy website.

Reading time: 1 minute

 

Timeline

8 Months

Role

My role is UX Researcher, Designer, and accessibility specialist. 

Approach

We built and implemented surveys, usability tests, and prototypes to develop plans for the site user experience and redesign to increase site traffic and retention. Our design process was to implement new features for the website based on priority. As a group, we voted to decipher which user experience issues were the most important and proceeded to design solutions for the most important while the remaining issues went into the icebox.

A quick look at our survey to find out more about user news reading habits.

The current WhoWhatWhy website home page.

Challenge

I was tasked to redesign the About Us page and began by completing a heuristic analysis before beginning the redesign. During my heuristic analysis I found the length of the About Us page to be very long for the reader, eight pages printed on desktop. My first challenge was to condense this rich information visually so the reader could scan and find information without losing important details about WhoWhatWhy’s staff. Another challenge I had was to balance the cognitive load on the page. High cognitive load between the “RussiaGate” and “Election Integrity News” tiles forced users to decide what was more important, to read the story About Us or click to these pages. 

The existing About Us page contains a very long list of staff and important contributors with details about their careers. My challenge was to explore a reorganized About Us user experience design without losing their valuable bio information while streamlining the look and feel of the page for users.

Design Process

I began my design process by completing a competitive analysis. After analyzing the About Us pages of several news organizations and nonprofits I began sketching. My sketches show multiple approaches to minimize and expand details about staff while maintaining the important details about their career, background, and history. After showing my sketches to the team, we decided through critique the best sketches to use. I combined and moved forward with sketches that aligned well with  interactions the rest of the team were working on. These sketches explored a reorganized About Us user experience design with collapsible expansion below the member image similar to several competitors’ treatment. This is to ensure we kept their valuable bio information while streamlining the look and feel of the page for users. I began working in Sketch on low to mid fidelity mockups to test with users. 

My initial sketches of the desktop, tablet, and mobile layouts for the responsive About Us page redesign as well as interactions and details.

My low fidelity Sketch prototype of the About Us page redesign interactions on desktop tested with users.

My WhoWhatWhy redesigned About Us page prototype created using InVision tested with users on iPhone.

Learnings

I learned a lot about what it takes to redesign a large news organization’s website through the duration of this project. We had many designers working on this project so it was very important to collaborate over Google Drive and Slack to ensure our designs were aligned to create one cohesive website redesign for the development team. Although the project is not yet finished I have many more ideas for interactions on the site design to make WhoWhatWhy the leading source of news for their target users.

Project Outcome

The WhoWhatWhy website user experience redesign is currently in progress. Stay tuned for more information about the new website experience.

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