The Yale Usability & Web Accessibility website needs an update and facelift. I led the UX discovery effort that provided recommendations to improve the content, layout, user flow, and search capabilities of the website.
I was the lead UX Designer on this effort and to assist me, we also had a business analyst and our UX researcher. My responsibilities included user interviews, site analytics, content audit, archetype creation, and UX suggestions based on the findings for a potential full project.
Our content audit examined, assessed, and evaluated the quality of the content that is hosted on the Yale Usability website. During this process, I noticed a correlation when there was a page that performed poorly on the content audit, the page views directly reflected it. This allowed us to target pages that required assistance and put them on a priority over pages and sections that were performing well.
Another pattern that I noticed from the content audit was siloed page views. Both the “Understanding Your User” and “Accessibility” sections performed 3-10x better than the following sections. This insinuates that the majority of the users who stumbled on these pages did not find interest in the other sections.
To gain a better understanding of how our users interact with the Yale Usability site, I analyzed our Google analytics. The following data is taken from a 31 day period from 08/01/2021 - 08/31/2021.
Currently, the traffic from usability.yale.edu is sitting at 69% organic, 27% direct, and 3% referral. It is important to note that, generally, the direct traffic is higher than normal. This can be attributed to the main audience of the website being Yale-affiliated people knowing the website address and being confident enough to directly type in the URL.
Most of the pages on the Yale Usability site were close in page views, however, one page in particular, outperformed the entire UX section. The “User Interview Question Example” page had 38,930 views over a 30 day period. The team is assuming the success is due to the nature of the page being transactional. Users love examples that they can use in their projects and be able to easily copy and paste these questions into their own scenarios. However, the drop-off rate on this page is 95.5%, which means the users are leaving the website.
To understand our users' needs and goals, I interviewed 13 people who fall under Yale employees, UX professionals, other ivy league UX designers, and UX design students. We chose these user groups based on data collected by our Google analytics, competitor analysis, and stakeholder interviews.
The following data is the top user needs and pain points that were collected during the user interviews:
The biggest takeaway from the user interviews was the educational nature of the website. All of our users wanted to utilize our usability website to either gain a better understanding of UX topics or provide someone else with information about UX.
To help to build empathy for users and understand their needs, we created user archetypes that help model, summarize, and communicate information about users who have been observed or researched. I created three archetypes that represent the users we should be designing for in the future: the student, scholar, and ambassador.
While the discovery phase of this project is completed, there is still design and implementation to be done. Check back soon to see how our discovery findings influenced the future of usability.yale.edu!