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Presented changes to staff, established a methodology for incorporating UX into product design and later presented the methodology to external users.
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• Mixed method research, lightweight UI design, developer handoff.
• Presented changes to staff, established a methodology for incorporating UX into product design and later presented the methodology to external users.
Answer: 95% of our Drupal accounts set up since 2012 had never set any goals hours.
(This was a pretty large and unwieldy dataset which I pulled with great zeal. After this experience I vowed to work with smaller but still representative chunks of data).
This number was so high that the answer as to whether or not to commit development time to the widget was pretty much done. However, the goal of getting to know users and the New York Cares organization was not yet achieved.
Answer: Most users did not keep their goals aligned, and the widget’s presence on the website was causing inadvertent negative consequences. I found this out through a mixture of research methods.
This scatter plot is a visual snapshot of the spread of alignment between goals and actual behavior. Very few users fall along the centerline (green box).
I turned to qualitative research and recruited participants from across the spectrum of alignment. Remote moderated research showed that few volunteers were motivated by this extrinsic widget and that they were motivated internally, by their own personal goals. Additionally, many of them never visited this home page, and even if they did, the widget was below the fold and few people scrolled down to visit it.
Metricizing volunteer behavior was having demoralizing outcomes. At New York Cares, every volunteer is valuable, whether they are able to work on one project a year or one thousand. However, this is not the message this widget was sending.
These are screen shots of what some of our users were experiencing.
In the course of the research, I observed a number of usability issues on the home page as well as others. Although the scope for this project was narrow it felt inefficient not to act on these observations. Changes included removing non-semantic uses of the color red, clarifying button styling, and revealing content without relying on the hover state.
Sharing research and recommendations is deeply important. I instituted a monthly ‘state of the website’ meeting with key staff but failed to share the reasoning for the changes externally. Months after the changes were implemented a small but devoted group of users complained. They used this widget to keep track of their projects. They loved it! Why had we taken it down without consulting them? Ouch. We held a meeting with a representative group and I presented the research. This mollified them but their needs remained valid. So, we generated a small dynamic widget that showed their volunteer data, and displayed in their personal profile.
Volunteer summary in personal profile