In order to respect the NDA I have signed, I will purposely be vague on some of the aspects of this project (this is also the reason why some of the images will be slightly blurred).
Initially I was hired to improve on 3 sections of their business proposition that weren’t getting the traction that Which had intended.
On a first glance there were some critical usability issues in accessing and searching those 3 sections as well as user awareness on their proposition.
The idea was following the double diamond approach. In that context that would mean starting with the research. Specifically, User Interviews as the Stakeholder ones had already been done before I joined.
After that, the idea would be to crunch the data, present it and then start the ideation phase and design process. This last phase would sit in a loop as the design would be refined by the 2 rounds of testing we had available with a specific user panel.
The research phase was split between multiple processes.
Starting from the interviews phase, these were conducted by myself, and a hired agency specialised in user research.
As the time to present the findings was tight, we have taken the strategic decision of splitting responsibilities. As such, I would focus on the usability aspect of the interview whereas the agency would provide a holistic analysis of the findings.
During the interviews, besides those questions, I would also do a simple usability exercise to the interviewee to access the intuitiveness of those 3 existing sections on the website. This allowed me to start identifying the pain points.
Although I can’t comment much on the research findings, we have identified mainly 3 personas(which we categorised them as archetypes) that required different levels of depth within their sought-after information.
Before starting any design phase and to avoid reinventing the wheel, I always do a competitive analysis.
This is a continuous process throughout the whole design phase as it gives me an inside on how competitors display their information architecture, what design elements they use, and creates opportunities to improve on what they did on our new designs.
This analysis was done not only on direct competitors, but also on organisations with slightly related business models as well as unrelated ones (that contained well executed features that I thought were useful for that business case).
As such my design recommendations were slightly different to what they were expecting but tackled multiple usability, searchability and intuitiveness issues I came across during the interviews phase.
Although I can’t specify much about this, for the first time in my career, my proposition was to consolidate the 3 different sections of the website into one. For that, there were mechanisms that were created to help the user navigate between the three types of content in a clear and seamless way.
There was also an innovative way to search for information based on current data selected by a specific user topic.
Although it’s recommended to do user testing throughout the entire design phase, due to the fact that the targeted panel was comprised of very busy individuals, we have decided to do this process only once during the design stage and at the end of it. As such, after the high-fidelity design was concluded I have created and conducted two user testing sessions per archetype(with 6 people on each phase) and gathered the data in a spreadsheet.
This data was based on the users’ answers (to test the Attitudinal aspect) and the watched videos of them interacting with the system (to test the Behavioural aspect).
After this, I have presented the findings, and iterated the designs accordingly. Then tested the second time to validate it.
This project was initially completely out of my comfort zone as I have never dealt with that kind of industry niche before. However, it was very interesting to propose, design and explain the benefits of creating a completely different approach to what the senior management was initially expecting.
I wish we had a higher availability from the testing panel side but overall, I think we could reach some conclusive results. The small usability testing I have proposed during the interviews were a valuable resource to overcome this issue.
A year after completing this project, I was notified on LinkedIn that they had finally launched it. It was very gratifying to see that, despite of only working in the initial phase of this project, Which? has implemented around 75% of my design proposals and research findings.