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Portfolio

The Inccubator

Overview:

The Inccubator is an inclusive multicultural social networking platform that highlights content from various cultures all in one place. The site was at a point in the beta process where the Inccubator team was ready for launch and wanted to consult with a UX team for fresh eyes. After addressing the concerns of the client and an initial overview of the site, my team of 4 were confronted with an ambitious website with a vast variety of content, features and functions it wanted to have.

Opportunity: Organize the content in a way that users would be able to use The Inccubator to its fullest potential and create an inclusive/community feel to the design.

Outcome: Delivered a design package consisted heavily on research and visual designs focused on reorganizing the website navigation structure with a high fidelity prototype that highlighted the multicultural aesthetic and content the website plans on providing its users.

Role: Project Manager
Software: Figma, Sketch
Skills: Project Management, Usability Testing, Synthesizing Research, Sketching, Information Architecture, Visual Design

Research

My team and I immersed ourselves into the Inccubator site to really get to know its content, functions, features, as well as the new terminology that it contained as a new social media website awaiting its debut. During an initial meeting that consisted of the founder and CEO, we asked them a series of questions to help us get a better understanding of the site such as brand focuses, issues, goals and how it differentiates from sites similar to it. What we learned:

Main goals are to provide a sense of community between people of different cultures and content to learn about other communities to provoke conversation and opportunities.

Team has done little to no research on target users, competitors or design.

There are multiple avenues of income for Incc and users that should be emphasized.

The influx of information and functionalities in the Incc make it difficult to navigate and use in its current state with no prior context.

Slideshow of screenshots before redesign

Competitive Analysis

We conducted a feature inventory to see what number and kind of features competitors offer and to identify any gaps in the market to see where Inccubator could potentially differentiate. Facebook is Inccubator's most significant competition in terms of the number of features offered to users. Youtube provides the fewest features, but perfect execution of those features has made it the second most visited site globally.

User Research

Brax, the content creator, is someone who is building out her brand but she feels that the big social networks can be superficial and doesn’t give enough opportunity as someone who is starting out. Eventually, she wants to be a role model for the under-represented community she is a part of.

The Problem

Users need a more intuitive way to explore and engage with content on the Inccubator so that they can connect and engage with other users to learn about different cultures.

The Solution

By restructuring the information architecture of the Inccubator, we will provide users with more intuitive navigation and consistent content structure, so that they can more effectively engage in content and collaborate with their community.

Ideation

 

Information Architecture

A significant component of our UX consultation was to address some of the information architecture challenges. The overall takeaway of our research was that users found the site not intuitive and challenging to navigate. The guiding design choice behind the proposed site map was to separate the content channels and content feed. This would allow users to realize the site's purpose as a social media platform and provide a space for the content channels and the Inccubator to show their unique content. It was vital for us to keep all of the content from the original Inccubator in the reorganized site, so our main goal was not to change the content but to make it easier to find and use.

Current Site Map
Future Site Map

Click on images above to view details

Our team conducted a design studio where we brainstormed and sketched ideas for the sections of the site we were going to tackle. We concentrated on the user's initial landing page, the profile page and a content channel's landing page to maximize the time we had during this design sprint, as we determined these were three opportunities for improvement with the greatest impact.

Design

Areas of Opportunity

With the site navigation reorganized, we identified three areas of opportunity that we felt would significantly enhance the site and address some of the website's challenges.

Usability Testing with Medium-Fidelity Wireframes

With our areas of focus established, I began building medium-fidelity wireframes based on our sketches, the findings from our current state usability tests and user interviews. We used this prototype to test the new site's navigability and the user's perception of the site's intent.

Click on images to view details

High-Fidelity Wireframes

After testing the prototype, we increased the fidelity to include color and more visual elements with the feedback in mind from the medium-fidelity takeaways. Below are the three main opportunities we developed upon:

Overview

The Inccubator is an inclusive multicultural social networking platform that highlights content from various cultures all in one place. The site was at a point in the beta process where the Inccubator team was ready for launch and wanted to consult with a UX team for fresh eyes. After addressing the concerns of the client and an initial overview of the site, my team of 4 were confronted with an ambitious website with a vast variety of content, features and functions it wanted to have.

Opportunity

Organize the content in a way that users would be able to use The Inccubator to its fullest potential and create an inclusive/community feel to the design.

Outcome 

Delivered a design package consisted heavily on research and visual designs focused on reorganizing the website navigation structure with a high fidelity prototype that highlighted the multicultural aesthetic and content the website plans on providing its users.

Role 
Project Manager, Research & Design Floater

Software 
Figma, Sketch, Miro

Skills
Project Management
Usability Testing
User Interviews
Sketching
Information Architecture
Visual Design


PROTOTYPE LINK

About The Inccubator

Launching in early 2021, the Inccubator provides content through an array of digital magazines, or "content channels", that represent cultures and communities who are often underserved. It also contains features similarly found on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, as well as various others, and uniquely houses all of these features in one place.

A user will be able to network from a cultural, business, and creative aspect all in one community. They can easily learn about people from other cultures and their own, read and share stories, while also expanding their own network.

 

Content creators can make a viable income from the Inccubator by being “empowered” from other users who want to directly support them by paying for their exclusive content, as well as other opportunities to market themselves on the site. Through this content, readers will have a space to celebrate and contribute to their community and learn about other cultures.

Slideshow of screenshots before redesign

Research

The Initial Client Meeting

My team and I immersed ourselves into the Inccubator site to really get to know its content, functions, features, as well as the new terminology that it contained as a new social media website awaiting its debut. During an initial meeting that consisted of the founder and CEO, we asked them a series of questions to help us get a better understanding of the site such as brand focuses, issues, goals and how it differentiates from sites similar to it. 

Initial Client Meeting Takeaways
  • Main goals are to provide a sense of community between people of different cultures and content to learn about other communities to provoke conversation and opportunities.

  • Team has done little to no research on target users, competitors or design.

  • There are multiple avenues of income for Incc and users that should be emphasized.

 

  • The influx of information and functionalities in the Incc make it difficult to navigate and use in its current state with no prior context.

Competitive Analysis

We conducted a feature inventory to see what number and kind of features competitors offer and to identify any gaps in the market to see where Inccubator could potentially differentiate. Facebook is Inccubator's most significant competition in terms of the number of features offered to users. Youtube provides the fewest features, but perfect execution of those features has made it the second most visited site globally.

User Research

User Interviews
4
9
Hours
Current Users

We conducted Zoom interviews with current users who were already given context and access to the site while still in beta. These users consisted of the client's close friends and colleagues. It was crucial that their responses remained anonymous so that they could comfortably provide their most honest opinion.

"If I knew nothing about it and I’m logging on for the first time, I’m not quite sure what I’m supposed to be doing."

Usability Tests
5
6
Hours
New Users

Gathering unbiased information was apparent to our research, so we also conducted usability tests with potential users who had never seen the website before and no affiliation with the client. Simple tasks were given to test the functionality of the website, then followed with questions about the overall thoughts and impressions of the site. 

“I think they have a big idea that. If they can figure out the one thing they need to boil it down to, they have the potential to do something pretty great."

Affinity Mapping

We took specific quotes from our user interviews and usability tests that we thought were significant and organized them to see if we could recognize important trends in regards to the user's impression of the Inccubator. As we organized these insights, we realized they all fell under three different umbrellas:

Layout

  • Lack of a homepage for users was challenging

  • Layout and navigation don't foster exploring and interacting with other communities

  • Many pages looked the same making navigating to other sections of the site confusing

Site Functionality

  • When uploading content, users were confused where on the site it would be viewable

  • Terminology used throughout the site wasn't intuitive

  • There was too much scrolling to view content and a lot of unused dead space

Tone of Site

  • Site visually doesn't reflect the communities and connections they are trying to foster

  • Site leaning toward catering to more business/networking users

  • Users confused by what the site is asking of them

Click image to enlarge

Personas

Based on the data that we received from our research, we created 3 personas. Personas are artifacts that emulate potential target users.

The Business Professional
The Content Creator
The Cultural Explorer

A user doesn’t intend to make much of her own original content, but uses the Inccubator as a learning platform to explore all of the cultural content the Incc has to offer. She hates reading into fake news that’s everywhere on social media now.

 

A user who is very business-oriented and wants to give back to the community whether its knowledge, resources, or just inspiration for those who came from a similar background. His pain point is that he doesn't get a sense of community through the current social networks he uses now.

A user who is building out her brand but she feels that the big social networks can be superficial and doesn’t give enough opportunity as someone who is starting out. Eventually, she wants to be a role model for the under-represented community she is a part of.

The Problem

Users need a more intuitive way to explore and engage with content on the Inccubator so that they can connect and engage with other users to learn about different cultures.

The Solution

By restructuring the information architecture of the Inccubator, we will provide users with more intuitive navigation and consistent content structure, so that they can more effectively engage in content and collaborate with their community.

Ideation
 

Information Architecture

A significant responsibility of our UX consultation was to address some of the information architecture challenges. The overall results of our research was that users found the site not intuitive and challenging to navigate. The main design intention behind the proposed site map was to separate the content channels and content feed. This would allow users to realize the site's purpose as a social media platform and provide a specific space for the content channels to showcase the Inccubator's unique content. It was vital for us to keep all of the content from the original Inccubator in the reorganized site, so our main goal was not to change the content but to make it easier to find and use.

Current Site Map
Future Site Map

Click on images above to view details

Sketching

Our team conducted a design studio where we brainstormed and sketched ideas for the sections of the site we were going to tackle. We concentrated on the user's initial landing page, the profile page and a content channel's landing page to maximize the time we had during this design sprint, as we determined these were three opportunities for improvement with the greatest impact.

Design

Areas of Opportunity

With the site navigation reorganized, we identified three areas of opportunity that we felt would significantly enhance the site and address some of the website's challenges.

User Landing Page
User Profile Page
Content Channel Page
Usability Testing with Medium-Fidelity Wireframes

With our areas of focus established, our design lead built out medium-fidelity wireframes based on a compilations of our team's sketches, the findings from our current state usability tests and user interviews. We used this prototype to test the new site's navigability and the user's perception of the site's intent.

Click on images to view details

Usability Test Takeaways

Glows

  • The site was easy to navigate.

  • User assigned tasks were easy to complete.

  • Profile page and content channel page were well organized and pleasing to look at.

Grows

  • User landing page is still a bit overwhelming.

  • Content needs to be organized and prioritized.

  • Community/social media/collaboration needs to be included in the content channel pages.

High-Fidelity Wireframes

After testing the prototype, we increased the fidelity to include color and more visual elements with the feedback in mind from the medium-fidelity takeaways. Our intentions were to choose colors that felt inviting to express the inclusive purpose of the site. Below are the three main opportunities we developed upon:

#1: User Landing Page
Challenges
  • Users were confused about the intent of the page. Without a home page, they felt disoriented. They wondered why the same news feed appeared on ten different content channel pages. 

  • The terms Departments, Incc TV and Incc Society had no real meaning to a new user.

  • Features of different priority were given equal space and placement on the page. Users were overwhelmed and unsure of what to do first.

Click on image to view in detail

Recomendations
  • Build a central landing page separate from content channels, which can act as a home page.

  • Simplify the layout of the page to add a hierarchy of features and break up the page visually.

Click on image to view in detail

#2: User Profile Page

Click on image to view in detail

Challenges
  • When users added content, such as blogs or videos, they did not understand where the content was available to view.

  • The user had to continuously scroll to take in all of the information available. If a user had left a category blank, such as their academic path, the user had to scroll past a blank box.

  • The original profile design seemed flat and boxy. One user commented that it looked like the back end of a site, not a finished design.

Recommendations
  • Provide a hub for users to reference their published content. 

  • Utilize tabs to group content and minimize scrolling.

  • Add more color and visual interest, such as photographs of articles and videos, clusters of content, and CTAs.

Click on image to view in detail

#3: Content Channel Page
Challenges
  • Each content channel home also acted as a landing page, effectively creating ten landing pages.

  • Users had to navigate through the site to find content related to one content channel. For example, to view Latinx videos, they had to leave the Latinx page and navigate to Videos. To read Latinx blogs, they had to navigate to Blogs.

Click on image to view in detail

Recomendations
  • Create a central hub for each content channel, separate from the landing page.

  • Group all content related to a content channel, such as articles and videos, on its content channel page. If a user is interest in one content channel, he or she will find a wealth of information in one place.

Click on image to view in detail

Next Steps

During the three-week design sprint, we mainly focused on parts of the website that would make the most significant impact from a UX standpoint. Building a social media platform is an incredible task, so there were some things that we weren't able to address outside of our scope. If given the time, these are a few things we would've liked to work on:

  • Continuing the new design into a mobile and tablet version of the website

  • User onboarding screens for new users logging in for the first time

  • Build out page designs and user flow for the Blog and Discussions sections of the website

  • Develop more of the business centric part of the website

User onboarding fell outside of the scope of our three-week sprint, but it is an important future recommendation that we included in our research deliverable. The Inccubator contains a lot of site-specific features and terminology, which give it a steep learning curve. We provided mockups showing how we imagined a step-by-step tutorial of the Inccubator’s features would look.

Click on images to view details

The Final Meeting

At the final follow-up meeting, our client shared that they were already working with developers to implement some of our recommendations. We understand that not all of our recommendations will make it into the Inccubator at launch, but we believe that we were successful in creating intuitive navigation and providing valuable insights into the user experience. We believe in the Inccubator’s mission to provide an online source of content and community for underrepresented groups. We are grateful for the opportunity to be a small piece of the Inccubator’s story and eagerly await its launch.

As the project manager, there was nothing more satisfying than an accomplished Trello board and a happy client excited about our results.

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