Women Enhancing Technology (WeTech) is a non-profit program at the Institute of International Education aimed at promoting women and girls in STEM. I managed the program's communications and outreach. Towards the end of my contract I was tasked with creating a new website for the program that would be more appealing to potential sponsors and visually showcase the program's achievements. I created an implementation plan and managed the project.
Primary Challenge: Create an experience that succinctly and effectively answered the question "What is WeTech?" in an eye catching way
Secondary Challenge: Incorporate visual storytelling with an intuitive navigation
Design Format: Desktop and mobile responsive
Pain Point #2 No Cohesive Story
TELLING THE STORY
WeTech had a lot of different moving parts to its program work. It offered two different mentorships for University and Secondary school students, scholarships at the University level, a seed fund and a Summer camp for primary school students. Additionally, the programs spanned across 20 countries. This made presenting information in a cohesive and succinct way a challenge.
I wanted to make the new site more visual. With the old layout, we were constrained to small image sizes and rails that broke up the content. I made the following changes:
1. Introduced hero banners with program photos to draw the user into the content
2. Drafted an infographic for the homepage to showcase the program's impact
3. Added a photo gallery and a new blog format
I tasked the WeTech managers with describing the program work more succinctly by focusing on answering the who, what, where and why. I asked them to condense the program descriptions to one short paragraph and then choose the most important parts of the program to expound on.
Pain Point #3 Ambiguous Navigation
Balancing the stakeholders
Different stakeholders had different opinions about how the navigation should be organized. The senior members of the team were concerned with fundraising and advocated for organizing the program work into the categories of "Early Immersion" and "Professional Opportunities." I was concerned about this approach. I envisioned each program having its own page and falling under a "Programs" category with the "About" section doing most of the explanation about WeTech's scope of work.
Instead of advocating from my perspective, I thought it would be more impactful to let the senior team members see how users reacted to the navigation. I created pseudo personas based on the knowledge I had of the program audience from managing communications.
From those personas, I identified their user goals and created tasks. Then, I recruited colleagues from other programs to take on a persona and test the tasks using the concurrent think aloud method. I observed six users and had the senior team members sit in on at least one test each.
You can read the pseudo persona and task descriptions here.
All of the users were tripped up by some degree by the "Early Immersion" and "Professional Opportunities" categories. The program team decided to go with the simplified "Programs" category as a result.
This project was the catalyst for my transition into UX Design and a great learning experience. If I had had more time, I would have definitely run a more formal user test with users that were more reflective of our target audience. I might even have applied A/B Testing or a card sort to test the different navigation schemes.
I was aware that testing with colleagues could create a "please the experimenter" bias. However, with the amount of time I had I felt that I illustrated an important point for the team: what makes sense to you doesn't always make sense to others.
After my departure, the team put the project on hold.