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Overview

TOWN OF CHAPEL HILL

A website redesign project to enhance the residents' engagement and satisfaction with local government service platform

Date: September - December 2018

Team: Connie Kim, Erica Wu, Lucy Hu 

Skills:​​

  • User Research

  • Information Architecture

  • Persona

  • Journey Mapping

  • Wireframing

  • Design Guideline

  • Prototyping & Testing

Town of Chapel Hill sponsored my user experience design class at University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill to work on project redesigning their website to improve the user satisfaction and better facilitate users’ engagement with the local government service. To be exact, based on the early stage user research and benchmark study of other government service focused websites, we have decided to propose a plan that will improve the overall user satisfaction of information acquisition on the website and increase the accuracy and effectiveness with better visual experience.

Design

The website of Town of Chapel Hill is a digital platform for local government to offer residents a wide variety of services and information, and a friendly online community for residents, especially younger generation of people, to engage with the local government.  

 

We believe that through our efforts on understanding the interactions between the site owner and behavior preference of users, we are able to enhance the usage and experience of the site service with a cleaner, consistent layout and easier information acquisition.

Process

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User Research

To begin with, we conducted user observations, interviews and usability testing of the old sites with target audiences, including migrant families, college students, retired senior citizens, restaurant owners, etc. We’ve found that the users of Town of Chapel Hill are varied and the reasons they use the website services are diverse due to their different identities, relationships with Chapel Hill, and specific needs of services. The old site has confused them a lot with the information hierarchy and clarity of the specific action items. 

Information Architecture

By conducting the cart sorting of asset list for the website, we prioritized the most popular and useful features among others and built a foundation for redesigning the flow of the site. We reorganized the information architecture of website content and its original hierarchy to best serve different types of users (residents, visitors, students, etc.), in order to decrease the redundancy and misplacement of content, simplify the categories of functions, and increase the interactivity between users and the site.

Persona

Out of all the target audience we interviewed, we chose the restaurant owner as the example to build the persona in order to better understand the needs and priority of target audience in interacting with the local government website service. By analyzing the goals and motivations behind the persona, it's safe to say that we had a clearer picture on what the site should be like to serve the requirements of certain groups of people. 

Journey Mapping

In addition, by taking the persona through the Think-Do-Feel journey of using the original site, we built a better understanding of the pain points and frustrations of using the old services, which shed lights on the direction of design to ease the difficulties for users and increase the possibility of engagement.

Wireframing, Design Guide & Prototyping

After identifying the priority of information and features, we were able to create the wireframe with the indication of eye tracking movement to demonstrate the flow of information hierarchy. Then, we visualized the wireframes with the design guideline to keep pages and design elements consistent and turned them into the hi-fi prototypes to test the interactivity.

Take-Away

Understanding users mindset and logic

When the project faces the main challenge in sorting out the information and creating a layout to avoid redundancy and detour, card sorting can be introduced as a fun and effective way to test with users and understand their grouping mindset. To understand how the users organize the information in their logic is a first step to design or create something that tailor towards their mentality and behaviors, which will eventually save time for them to locate specific information and increase the possibility of returning users and higher engagement rates. 

Design guideline is important in teamwork 

One of the important lessons I've learned from this project when working on multiple pages in team with designers is to build a design guideline before  implementing the hi-fi prototypes. It's a crucial step in maintaining the same standard of design language and elements across the team and make sure the outcome is consistent.

Demystifying the eye tracking 

This is my first time getting in touch with the concept of eye tracking, a tool to measure the visual attractions from users' perspectives. In the stage of building the wireframing, we applied the concept of eye tracking to help us keep in mind the hypothetical motion of the eye, which turns out to be an important method when we tested with users later since we put the focus of users' eyes at the first place in building the layout.