June 2018 - Oct 2018
HTML, CSS, JS
I interviewed 6 undergraduate students and 4 instructors (i.e. professors, lecturers, etc.) because they were the journal's main stakeholders. I found 4 themes:
Students and instructors are busy people! Providing quick links can be helpful.
"I want to be able to easily find what I want right from the start. I don't want to have to scroll somewhere to find the information I'm interested in."
What makes this journal important or interesting? To a student? An instructor? A random visitor?
"I think the mission of the journal is really important and it provides an amazing opportunity to get student work out there. "
Provide some call to action. If someone likes the journal, how can they get involved? Be specific and have multiple ways to get to the pages that detail how people can get involved with the journal.
"I first heard about a publishing opportunity at The Equilibrium through a professor. I only wanted to know where I can submit my research to be considered."
People want to know whether or not this journal is something worth looking into or getting involved with. Provide evidence of past success and/or of works in progress.
"I've never heard of The Equilibrium before. But apparently, they already have 4 complete journals out! It was amazing to see student work come together into an impressive product."
In order to include all of the journal's target users, I created personas to identify each group's goals, need, and attitude. These personas helped guide my designs to ensure they addressed user needs.
Looking to get involved
Interested in research
Alex is looking for a way to get involved in an on campus organization. He found university resources and attended club fairs, but he still doesn't entirely know which one to join.
Visual Arts major
Trying to get published
Erika wants to publish her honors thesis research. She's looking for a on campus journal that isn't just for science majors. She just wants to know what she can do to get thesis published.
Devon likes to keep up with student opportunities to pass along to her students. She's very busy with teaching and her own research lab, so she doesn't have much time to really read entire websites.
I used Sketch to create low-fidelity website wireframes of the website to visualize layout, information placement, and outline the information architecture.
The homepage was the biggest opportunity to improve branding and usability because it is the first page that visitors see when they go on the website. The old website homepage had minimal information as to what The Equilibrium was. The only content was an events calendar that was empty for more than 90% of the time, which meant that the rest of the page was empty.
In the redesign, the landing section of the homepage is a maroon geometric background in order to create a stronger brand image. Additionally, I included quick links below the journal name for users to easily access the information they want: what the journal is, what it does, and how to get involved with the journal. In addition to quick links, there are short information blurbs to give more information about each section.
Submitting a manuscript to publish is different from applying to join the journal's editorial board. Thus, I changed the site's architecture. I created two separate pages: one "Submit" page for authors to learn how to submit their research for consideration and one "Join" page for students who want to join the journal.
These pages were the biggest opportunity to expand our readership and show people what we do. The original page only had links to the online readers. However, there was a lot of new information to include and we wanted the website to be a hub for all journal publications.
I included sections for the online readers, our involvement with eScholarship, and individual articles in order to be a showcase of the journal's work, the organization growth, and increased involvement with the UC San Diego and UC system community.
I conducted a series of usability tests to ensure that the redesign was addressing the pain points and original problems. I tested with 9 people total, 3 people in each of the persona categories I identified. I asked them to accomplish tasks (e.g. find out how to submit a research piece, how can you contact the editorial board, where can you find past issues, etc.) and to think aloud when attempting to complete the tasks. During the task, I observed and noted their mouse movements and their spoken words. Additionally, I asked them debrief questions as well.
The other 1/3 went to the gobal navigation bar.
... but it should be way more obvious.
"Definitely couldn't get lost in this website."
Navigation and information hunting was easy, but the visual aesthetics could be better.
I think one of my biggest weakness as a designer, and also based on the usability tests I performed, is visual design. So, I will be revisiting the aesthetics of the website and find ways to make the visual design more appealing.
Additionally, the journal is growing! As more issues are published and the journal becomes more established, policies will change. As the journal changes, the website will need to change and address any different or additional user needs as well.