Carnation Mall

Challenge

The Carnation City Mall website was not supplying critical information needed by its users. As part of a graduate school study, my team was assigned to determine how the site could be of better use to their shoppers.

Approach

The team first conducted a competitive analysis to get an understanding of how other area and model malls structure information on their websites. Using the knowledge gained from the competitive analysis, the team constructed a blueprint for the Carnation City Mall website, outlining existing and additional pages that would help customers find the information they need about the mall.

Outcome

The blueprints were used to build navigation models into wireframes for a reconstructed Carnation City Mall website.

Lessons Learned

This project gave me a better understanding of how to implement Jesse James Garrett’s visual vocabulary for describing information architecture and interaction design.

BookMooch

Challenge

BookMooch is a community for exchanging used books; it lets you give away books you no longer need in exchange for books you really want. My team and I worked with the site’s creator, John Buckman, to help him identify the sites that BookMoochers frequent, find out how Moochers learn about the different groups on these sites, and determine what takes place on these sites that could instead take place on BookMooch itself.

Approach

A set of precisely-worded surveys were sent to Moochers who opted-in to research participation on the BookMooch website. These surveys were then analyzed and combed for insights on the social media habits and desires of those Moochers.

Outcome

Results of the survey and the recommendations that we identified were presented directly to John Buckman.

Lessons Learned

It was surprisingly easy to get Moochers to participate in this study, even though there was no incentive offered. By carefully wording our invite and call-to-action, we were able to get Moochers to participate simply to help us make BookMooch a better place to be.

We also learned that it might be better to limit open-ended questions on our surveys, especially if we anticipate strong participation. There was a large amount of textual data that needed to be manually processed as a result of our failure to do that.

Local Yokel Foods

Challenge

Local Yokel Foods, an online farmer’s market company in Columbus, Ohio offers home delivery of produce from local and organic farmers. Customers can purchase fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat, breads, and specialty products via an online shopping cart and checkout.

Because they are a new company with a somewhat innovative approach to grocery shopping, Local Yokel Foods wanted to determine if customers can easily use their website for selecting items and purchasing groceries online. Paper prototyping allowed the company to test these basic usability questions based on their existing website design and make any necessary improvements.

Approach

The paper prototype testing team consisted of a facilitator, who directed the user in a series of tasks, a computer, who manipulated the paper interfaces to simulate computer interaction, and a note taker. Study participants were directed to complete various tasks typical of online customers. They were also asked their opinion about the ease of completing the tasks and suggestions for improvements. Between tests, the team made refinements in the interface to improve usability and correct any problems.

Outcome

A list of recommendations was produced in order to increase the usability of the Local Yokel Foods website.

Lessons Learned

There were quite a few pieces of our prototype that could be reused in many places. We originally mocked up the search and browse pages individually as whole pages. We realized very quickly that this was a lot more work than it needed to be. So we cut out small pieces of paper for each different product the user would see. This worked well for developing the paper prototype, but it also made managing it during user testing more difficult than it seemed it should.