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Social Buzz Club

Case Study: UX Research, Prototyping, Information Architecture

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Social Buzz Club, an online community and content amplification service, approached us with the main goals of increasing their user base and customer conversion from free membership to paid, as well as streamlining key user interactions on the site. Currently, their user base consists mainly of individuals, but they were also seeking to capture more business clients. Working with a partner, together we redesigned the main user experiences with the key goal of establishing credibility to gain customer trust, as well as providing detailed guidance on how to manage the site going forward.

This was the final class project for General Assembly’s User Experience Design Immersive.

Deliverables:

  • Low-fidelity interactive prototype
  • Wireframes
  • User flows
  • Site architecture and navigation schema
  • Detailed case-study report identifying additional ways to improve and manage the service
  • Slide deck detailing decision-making and results of our user testing

Methods & Tools:

  • Field research, market research, expert interviews
  • User research and interviews
  • Detailed process documentation to demonstrate decision-making and keep the project on track
  • Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator to build prototype elements
  • Wireframing in Omnigraffle and prototyping in Invision
  • Live user testing of the prototype

Initial Research

Screenshot of the home page. We took screenshots, noted key problem areas, and kept notes of our experiences using the site. There was also no documented site map or other architecture, so we had to find and map out all of the existing pages.

We performed an analysis of the competitive landscape to get a better sense of the market space. We looked at competing, complimentary, and related services our users were likely to be familiar with. 

Feature analysis of Social Buzz Club vs. its two most similar competitors. SBC lacks a lot of the functional features that other sites have, like analytics, support for multiple projects, and the ability to sort content by topic. We explored which of these features is most valuable to their audience through user interviews.

To help the client achieve their goals of increased user base and paid subscriptions, we needed to have an in-depth understanding of their users and what they would consider valuable enough to pay money for. We read through trade journals, agency and consultancy articles, and postings in online communities.  Interviews were conducted with four social media professionals and one super-user, who was both a customer service representative, and ran social buzz club accounts for people as a virtual assistant.

Focus

  • Major user challenges
  • Areas users would be interested in learning more about
  • The types content they repost
  • Benefits of community-building
  • What kind of content they would pay for
 

Key Feedback

  • Analytics information is invaluable
  • Quality of content in general is extremely important
  • Any reposted content must be high quality and relevant, as it reflects on the credibility of the poster
  • There is already a wealth of free online educational resources, so any paid resources must be very high quality
  • Users desire the ability to link several social media accounts through the service

These findings made it easier to narrow the scope and define how to address the client's goals in concrete terms. This meant focusing on credibility and and usability as the most effective way to increase user comfort with the site, and therefore encourage them to sign up and stay active.


Our Plan of Action

Increase credibility

  • Reorganization of information architecture
  • Adjusting the overall feel/tone to appear more professional and supportive

Increase usability

  • Encouraging integration with major social networks (use of APIs)
  • Reorganization of content
  • Streamlining key flows: submit buzz, share buzz, and sign-up

Integrate requested features

  • Easy account set-up process
  • Refresh the visual design

Design and Prototyping

Flows for the three main user groups. For the client, these diagrams illustrate the behaviors of their target users, and serve as an at-a-glance reference of their key needs.

The new site map. As the architecture of the site is fairly shallow, we created intuitive groupings of related pages.

We felt that using a portfolio metaphor for the interface would resonate with users, and support the context of the visualizations. As we discovered through our research that analytics were very important to users, we wanted to create value by prioritizing this information and making it easy to absorb through at-a-glance visualizations such as charts, ranked lists, and infographics.


Key Interactions

Signup and Onboarding Flow

Sharing Content

In general, users appreciated the simplified flows and helpful text added around the prototype. However, there was still plenty of room for improvement. We noted this constructive feedback, and in the interest of time included it as part of our future recommendations.

In general, users appreciated the simplified flows and helpful text added around the prototype. However, there was still plenty of room for improvement. We noted this constructive feedback, and in the interest of time included it as part of our future recommendations.


Case Study Report

In addition to the wireframes and working prototype, a key deliverable to the client was a professional design review document to detail the changes we recommended for the parts of the website that we did not have a chance to redesign.

This document was meant to serve several purposes: 1) as a snapshot of the current site 2) as a roadmap for future development of the site 3) as a reference document on sound design principles. We presented general principles and specific recommendations for both short and long term changes. The focus of the review centered on projecting credibility, creating value, and long-term sustainability as detailed in our Plan of Action. To set up our client for success, we also included specific sections on quality content management and creation, user behaviors on the web and how to engage with them effectively, visual design basics, and a wealth of resources for further reading. Excerpts are below.

The report included a screen-by-screen analysis for each of the pages we didn’t have time to redesign so we could recommend more specific detail-oriented or visual changes. We also assigned them priority levels of Medium and High with a corresponding impact rating to make it easier for the client to decide what to prioritize and where to allocate resources.


Final Recommendations

Summary of our final recommendations to the client.

Summary of our final recommendations to the client.