The Health-E Research Group is a research team is at the University of Washington that focuses on studying how to use technologies to keep older adults living at home independently longer. While the group had a website for many years, it was cluttered, difficult to use on non-desktop browsers, and lagged in current information due to its difficulty of updating.
Stakeholders found it difficult to keep the site updated, while first-time users to the site found it difficult to skim various pages to efficiently find the information they sought. The site had also not been optimized for users on smaller screens, leading to an a less than optimal experience while browsing the site. Although the site had been satisfactory upon its initial completion, I was tasked to redesign the site to better meet the needs of the various stakeholders that the present time.
Analysis of Current Design & Other Research Group Websites
Taking into account the client’s stated aims, I mapped the current site’s hierarchy and navigation and where the client thought it was lacking. Taking this under consideration, I also identified commonalities across other research group websites and where they differed from the existing site, and identified existing patterns and solutions to a similar problem.
Interviews with Stakeholders & Task Identification
In order to better understand the needs of users and stakeholders, I interviewed various stakeholders to see what their various needs were, including current students, potential students, faculty, and those responsible for updating the website. After the interviews, I identified common tasks/questions that each stakeholder group would want to achieve/answered when visiting a research group’s website.
Information Architecture & Layout sketches
Once the tasks and information needs of various stakeholders were identified, common needs were grouped together and then categorized to create the structural framework of the site so as to facilitate quick access for the various stakeholders. Next, several initial layout sketches were done to explore the various ways stakeholders could navigate the site.
Wireframes, Prototypes & Iteration
Based off stakeholder feedback and iteration, I selected a sketch and then converted sketch into wireframes. Feedback was solicited from stakeholders on placement, navigation and general content and then incorporated into the design. After several iterations, an interactive prototype was created based off the wireframes. This prototype was then iteratively improved with feedback from the various stakeholders and client.
The redesign alleviated many of the frustrations and concerns of the original site. The site now utilizes a graphical backend to facilitate ease of updates, leading to more frequent and current news and updates to the site. Much of the visual clutter was removed, leading to a less frustrating experience, and the site is responsive, leading to a better experience on small and big screens.
Department of Biomedical Informatics & Medical Education
School of Medicine
University of Washington
UW Box BIME-SLU 358047
Seattle, WA 98195