PROJECT OVERVIEW: Re-Designing the Existing US Servas Website
US Servas needs a re-designed website so that it is easier for users to navigate, complete forms, and find the information they seek. The site also needs to be more inviting and entice users to explore further. The website should clearly illustrate the benefits of joining Servas and encourage younger members to sign up to use Servas.
The goals for this project were to streamline the membership signup process and to make the website more enticing for new members.
The Role & Process
UX designer, on a team of two consulting with the US Servas Web Revisions Committee:
o comparative analysis
o conducted content inventory, created site map for current and proposed website
o user research synthesis
o prototype creation & testing
o Deciding the MVP to meet Servas' needs in 2.5 weeks
o Working with legacy systems
o Liaising with clients with varying levels of technology/internet knowledge
ABOUT SERVAS & THE PROJECT
US Servas is part of a worldwide cultural exchange network composed of member hosts and travelers working together to foster peace, goodwill and mutual respect. Servas seeks to realize these aims by providing opportunities for person-to-person contacts between people of diverse cultures and backgrounds.
Unfortunately the current Servas website is outdated and text-heavy. It also does not reflect their central goal of creating personal connections between people of different cultures. We kept this goal in mind throughout the process and made sure our design reflected the importance of these personal connections over just traveling.
We used a survey to identify potential members of Servas, by asking about peoples perceptions of homestays in general. From the 21 responses we got, we were able to have more detailed interviews with 7 people interested in the Servas experience.
We recorded each idea, feature, and want from the users responses and created an affinity diagram. The results clearly showed that the following are the top features people want and have come to expect:
- member profiles
- more pictures and stories of visits
- a clear and straightforward sign-up process
- member verification supported by user feedback
- in-site messaging
At this point, my partner focused on making personas while I worked on the user flow for applying for membership. Servas has a fairly involved membership process that they weren't planning to change (references, interview, etc..), so we focused on streamlining the process and re-arranging some of the steps.
The current process has the user entering all their information up front before the interview and being accepted as a member of Servas. This is a lot of work to ask when a person isn’t assured of membership. Further the process moves on and off the site more than necessary, which provides several points to lose people.
The proposed flow moves the bulk of profile setup to after the member is accepted, and modifies the process so that all offsite activities are grouped together at one point of the process.
CONTENT INVENTORY & SITE ORGANIZATION
I conducted a content inventory of the current site to get a full understanding of what we were working with and how it was arranged. I noted all the files present on the page, how recent the content was, and what the content was.
With this information it became very clear that there was redundancy in both the navigation and the actual content, many pages presented only outdated information, and many similar pages had only one or two pieces of information on them.
The proposed organization consolidates similar information into fewer pages, and introduces clearer terminology. This will make it easier for potential members to learn about the benefits of joining Servas and be enticed by other members experiences.
SKETCHING TO PROTOTYPE
We then sketched out ideas for the homepage, main membership information page, the membership application, and the resulting member profile. We tested these sketches on potential members and experts. Based on that feedback we were able to consolidate the application even further and refined how the membership information was laid out.
My partner then created the visuals for the prototype and I made them interactive using Marvel. We were able to do a round of testing with 3 current members as well as 3 potential users and were able to incorporate some of the feedback regarding terminology, and order of entering information on the application form.
We then presented our research findings and prototype to the US Servas Web Revisions Committee. We also provided them with a set of deliverables to be presented at the US Servas Board Strategic Planning Retreat, June 4-5, 2014.