This multi-semester project was given to us in a very open-ended manner, we were partnered with the YWCA of Greater Lafayette to identify a problem within their organization and create an appropriate solution for it. Because of this, my team and I spent a large amount of time researching the organization to identify issues to address. Eventually, we decided to work specifically with the Domestic Violence program of the YWCA because we found that the organization is struggling to reach out to victims of domestic violence or sexual assault in the Lafayette community. As a result, we created a platform that localizes local resources so that the community has an effective way to appropriately reach out and help domestic violence or sexual assault victims in the community.
For this project, my major contributions were in the final website design, user research, prototype development and usability testing.
At the end of this semester project, we provided the YWCA with a functional prototype of our design. Since this is a multi-semester project, the following semester, another team will be continuing this project with the organization.
This was my first UX project where I had to define my own problem to solve within a given context. It was an eye-opening learning experience to get to know the YWCA and their program in great depth in order to identify areas of opportunities. One of the biggest challenge of this experience is learning how to pivot. Originally, we were working on digitalizing paper works within the organization when we realized that the solution that they need already existed and there was no need to re-invent the wheel. This was when my team and I learned how to identify if a problem fits within our project scope and timeframe and what to do when it doesn't. In this project, I was also able to do a lot of contextual observation and learned a lot about the challenges that comes with it. Even though we did pivot during this project, we were able to recover quickly and move forward with it.
Working on this project taught me about UX but also what it means to work as a team. For this project, I was completely new to the UX process while one of my team member had prior experience so I learned a lot from her during this project. Even though this experience was intimidating at first, I was able to learn rapidly and became more confident. It was really nice to be a part of a team that communicated and cared about each other.
For this part of our process, we wanted to learn about all aspects of the organization.
First, we met up with the staff of YWCA to learn more about their internal processes and the organization. We quickly realized that many of the internal issues present in the organization were our of our scope and so we provided them with alternative methods to address those issues instead.
Support Group Meetings
After our insights from the client meetings, we decided to change directions and decided to explore YWCA's Domestic Violence program. We got permission from the YWCA to observe a Domestic Violence Support Group Meeting. Through this, we learned about the victim's situations and needs. However, we were not able to find an area that we could make an impact on.
YWCA Outreach Presentation
Finally, we heard about the outreach presentations that the YWCA holds at various locations throughout the year to create awareness in the community. We attended this event to gain new perspectives and potential problem area. We were able to identify a couple of needs that we could potentially address with our project which are Children's Program and Central Resource (explained below)
Through our primary research, we were able to narrow down our problem areas into 3 areas.
Considering the scale of the problem, time frame and our skills, we picked this problem to address. We felt that with this problem was the most realistic issue for our team to solve with the resources and time frame we had.
Apart from narrowing down the problem areas, the primary research also provided us with the information to create personas of our users.
We gathered 3 students for a 30 minute activity to help us gain a better understanding of the knowledge level, amount of time people spend to feel like they fully understand domestic violence and patterns while researching.
From there we wanted to find out what type of resources are available locally and nationally as well as what kind of efforts are being made to provide resources for victims of domestic violence. We mainly looked at 4 websites, two of them were national resources and the rest were local to the Lafayette/West Lafayette area. Here are the key insights for each of them.
To see if the design meets the need of the users, we used our research on the users as well as information we got from the our sponsors to formulate questions and tasks for our participants to answer/complete using our platform.
Overall, the users were able to find the information they needed to find quickly and efficiently. However, we also noticed that users struggled with visibility of certain elements and did not understand the full capacity of the safety exit button. Each participant stated that they noticed this element but in the spur of their moment their first instinct was to hit the exit button in the browser. Other than lack of visibility the only real improvements that could be made was resizing elements to make them fit the resized content and creating a solution to the safety button recall.
The insights from the usability tests led us to make the following changes to the final design.
Full Page Sections Initially hard to differentiate between each section
Front Page Added Original design had unclear message of content
Color Changes More contrast between elements
Links Underline Differentiate between normal text and link
Footer Eliminated Unnecessary
05 NEXT STEPS
To maximize the user experience in our website, implementing plug-ins would be beneficial. For example, installing a Google map plug-in in the local resource section would be helpful for users to point out the exact location of the local organization. Moreover, adding a national hotline plug-in would benefit users by giving them better options to reach out for emergency help.
Resource Filtering Option
Add filtering options for users when browsing through the listed local resources. This would be an easy way for users to narrow down their options when searching through the resources.
Site Implementation/Back end Development
Implement and to host the website. After the website has its own domain and goes live, create strong back end development so when the facilitators try to make modifications to the website, it would not require them complex coding.
Improve code so it would be responsive to a wide arrange of screen sizes from mobile to desktop.