There was just a little over 30,000 visits a month to LaunchCode.com, and we didn't have a way to keep conversations going. There was a lost opportunity to engage the audience, and we have a great following on social. At the time they were using some third party tool that lets them add the blog.launchcode.org domain name to individually designed websites from a drag and drop WYSIWYG editor. My suggestion for this all over the place pseudo blog is to convert all of the outstanding pages into one CMS.
Due to the limited time and the available money for tech team development, the project manager suggested that I would have to design the product and I would also have to code it along with my general UX smash up. Also, the marketing team put urgency around needing this tool to move forward with their job. This in terms decreased my turnaround time to three to four weeks to do everything.
UX or Design research is conducted to help inform the design process from the perspective of the end user. It involved gathering data and synthesizing that data to improve usability. Part of collecting data is learning about the project requirements from the stakeholders, and learning about the needs and goals of the end users.
The stakeholders in this project where the VP of Tech and the marketing team. The VP of Tech stated the product should be its "own site" and linked from LaunchCode.org. He also wanted some quantitative element that would allow them to measure success. The marketing team wanted an easy to use tool that would enable them to make easy uploads and corrections.
After talking to the stakeholders, I found a few missed opportunities. The possibility to spotlight employees as subject matter experts and showing company culture.
The stakeholders were only thinking about prospectives students as the end users, but while combing through the website visits, it seems we had a fair number of individuals from the business sector who wanted to work with us, but the were on the fence. So I also include them in the interviews and surveys I conducted.
After a brief poll during our night class, I was able to get a rough number of who's seen our pseudo blog post and who haven't. I separated the 150 students in two groups and asked questions about why the clicked on the ads and did click on the ads, how the found LaunchCode, what type of information where they were looking for when they got to a page, etc.
I wasn't approved to talk to our employer partners, but I used my charm to speak with individuals who came into speak with us during the week. I asked them how they found out about us, did they see and add, what type of information did they want to know about the organization, what they wish they knew before working with us, etc.
In synthesizing the data, I knew the user wanted to see stories from people like them who had success with LaunchCode and information on how they can attain the same success. Business partners wanted to know if there was as cost, did we vet the talent, and how to read are the individuals once they hit their team.
All I could see is a blog with big blocks of data with quotes and photos. So I created some fast wireframes to help me layout where the information would go.
After I've had a few rounds of wireframes, I used them in Invasion app and Adobe XD to create mocks that the users can use to test. Using both quantitative & qualitative research methods for this experiment.
Due to timing, I couldn't do another round of testing with the final, but I was able to deliver and good working site. If I had the opportunity today, there would be more changes and updates to the design. They are not using the design as intended. The original design was created with the expectation that the home Image would always be in a shade of dark blue according to the brand guidelines. Also, I intended for there to be a few differentiation of how the Los blocks are later out. This was done to help the blog maintain a fresh look and appeal.
Note: After my departure from the organzation the blog has been update outside of the orginal design. blog.launchcode.org