Web-Redesign Exercise

Web-Redesign Exercise

As part of an exercise to learn how to tailor information and understand user groups, we had two weeks to solve an interesting usability problem as our topic:  how to redesign a product or web site for a totally different audience.  In our case we chose to redesign WebMD, a famous web site targeted to adults, for teenagers.  The resources of the group consisted of:  two computer scientist, a product designer and a social psychologist.  Part of the exercise was also to learn how to collaborate across disciplines. The first days were spent trying to understand the differences between the target groups, for example, what should be different in the site to attract and convey the information to teenagers?

Project: Redesign of a medical web-site in order to target it to teens.
Role: Lead UX researcher (questionnaire design and evaluation of results)

After the literature review, utilizing several guidelines, reviewing other teen sites as well as popular teen magazines and such, we focused on designing a prototype.  A simple flash application was designed and the topic chosen to present in the prototype was acne.  As an iterative process, the importance of user testing was very high, so contextual interviews and questionnaires were conducted three different times at a local high school with 16 participants.  Heuristic evaluations were also conducted in order to get experts’ opinions on the usability and possible content of the site.

The final design included a very simple interface with a white background, highly interactive content with polls and quizes, easy navigation without multiple layers, and usage of simple words for the content.

The result of our final iteration showed that most participants found the web site engaging and easy to understand but a too simple and dull.  For that reason the ability to change background was added to include more interaction and make it more visually appealing.  Due to the short time of the project another iteration with the new changes was not conducted but left as suggestion for future steps.

The importance of understanding end users was conveyed through this exercise.  Also, the ability to conduct usability testing with non-traditional groups (usually our testers are university students or adults) was refined.


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