Web Design, Case Study
Joann S. Lublin is the Management News Editor for The Wall Street Journal. She primarily writes about the obstacles that women face in the business world, and she is passionate about empowering women in overcoming these obstacles to advance their careers. I redesigned Joann's old website to create an intuitive new design for clients and organizations to contact her with ease for any speaking engagements and other inquiries. She also wanted the website to promote her new book titled, "Earning It: Hard-Won Lessons from Trailblazing Women at the Top of the Business World."
Joann Lublin really needed her website to be redesigned in order to achieve a simple, easy, and accessible look to maximize site inquiries and increase client conversions.
Lublin wasn't getting inquiries from her website as desired. She also needed her website to promote her new book, speaking arrangements, and news publications.
I redesigned Lublin's website to compose a classic and bold new structure that reflects her fervent passion for empowering women in the business world.
Her website also was reconstructed that drove client conversions, led to effective inquiries, and promoted her book in order to create sales.
User Interviews; User Testing; User Research & Site Analytics; Persona & Scenario Modeling; Brand Development; Wireframes; Prototype; Experience Design; Concept Design; Interaction Design; UX Strategy
HTML; CSS; Sketch; Photoshop; Illustrator; Invision; Ethn.io; Basecamp; Dropbox
Web Designer & Brand Strategist
During the next several months until the launch of Lublin's re-designed website, I set to achieve and implement three main research goals:
Expand interactive site content to create a direct route to contact Lublin
Compose a sequential layout of frames on the site that serve distinct purposes
Create a site map and make it easily accessible at any time
During the first month, I conducted 10 interviews with Lublin's users, 7 user tests, and 3 contextual inquiries to meet my research goals. I asked my interviewees to take me through their process of entering the website, responding to the website's immediate impressions, buying her book, learning about her calendar events and past appearances, and contacting Joann. For user tests and contextual inquiries, I asked the users to visit Lublin's former website, interact with its design, identify discordances along the way, and attempt at submitting a client inquiry.
Based on the insights I gathered from each user interview, test, and contextual inquiry, I created three key customers to focus Lublin's target market. Each user has different website needs that could provide a personalized experience.
Wants to advance from entry-level position
Uses JoannLublin.com to attend breakthrough events
Likes to act against misconceptions about women
Wants to break the corporate glass ceiling
Wants to contact Lublin for her company's speaking event
Uses website recommend to publicize Lublin's appearances
Likes to collaborate with Lublin in supporting women
Needs to stay informed about Lublin's book launches
"Striving Yet Stuck Employee"
Wants to learn how to move forward in business
Uses JoannLublin.com to buy book as a guide
Likes comfort of position but itches to pursue her dreams
Needs to transform detrimental behavioral patterns in work
After collecting audio recordings and videos I began to synthesizemy findings. To determine what features were most important for JoannLublin.com users, I divided the affinity diagram into the following six sections: Routine, Frustrations, Environment, Devices/Tech, Wants/Needs, and Author/Speaker Websites. The differently colored sticky notes represented the levels of importance to the user or how frequently the user mentioned a particular aspect in our interviews, from magenta being the highest degree, to pink, yellow, green, and then blue.
Users care about Joann S. Lublin's calendar events, and want to know each upcoming date.
Users want to also see Lublin's past appearances to connect themes in her speaking engagement topics and decide whether or not to attend a future calendar event.
An author and speaker website should include a brief professional biography, book descriptions, high resolution book cover images, links to major online retailers such as Amazon, contact information and a contact form, links to public social media profiles, and an email newsletter signup. These components will form a clear and streamlined website experience for JoannLublin.com.
Lublin's former website needs a contact form and an inviting interactive interface for users to explore.
Adding an obvious horizontal navigation bar frozen at the top of the website while scrolling downwards is important to users.
Clear menu navigation must be visible at all times
Minimalist design must be intuitive to use
Exhibit Lublin's assertive professionalism
Direct pathway to contact Lublin or attend an event
A clean design that informs users and keeps them engaged
Invite user interaction with website at all times
Websites of major authors who also offer speaking engagements, such as J.K. Rowling, Alice Hoffman, Norah Roberts, Gillian Flynn, Isabel Allende, Nicholas Sparks, Carlos Ruiz Zafon, and Bernard Cornwell feature either lists upon lists of books to buy, or they are not personable and feel out of touch. One of the main issues is that users are not provided with a combination of straightforward access to contact the author or speaker, welcoming information that connects with the user, and clear direction about how to purchase their books.
Author and speaker websites are oftentimes loaded with extraneous content without providing a clear avenue for the client or organization to simply submit an inquiry. While these types of websites must communicate the credibility of the author, the increase of inquiries and client conversations won't occur if users are distracted by information, loose interest, and aren't given an inviting pathway for immediate contact with the author.
I sketched ideas to create a Mind Map that organized each design concept. I formed solutions to improve Lublin's website and developed a deeper understanding of the problems experienced by users.
Starting with a blank sheet of paper, I put 3 sticky notes on it. Each sticky note represented one frame in the storyboard. I expanded upon ideas from my Mind Map that sparked the most curiosity.
I conducted 7 usability tests with participants. Here were a few key insights:
Users thought the onboarding was accessible, but felt the large headline at the top of the website needed to be the title of Lublin's new book launch, "Earning It: Hard-Won Lessons from Trailblazing Women at the Top of the Business World."
Users envisioned having a "Past Appearances" plugin that automatically lists events once they've occurred on the event calendar.
Users liked to see the accessible menu navigation created as it stayed frozen while scrolling.
They liked to be informed about Lublin's frequent updates on Twitter.
There was confusion about how Lublin will keep them updated in signing up for her mailing list.
Based on insights from several sessions of usability testing, I created a high-fidelity prototype to present to Lublin.
Before & After
While Lublin was felt the website's redesign matched her business goals to launch, I also shared the following recommendations which we intend on addressing in the future.
Provide additional out of box information such as videos of her speaking events and appearances
Join the Amazon Affiliate Program and increase her book's revenues through this steady stream
Add more images of events that show her speaking to an audience
Create more social media profiles, such as on Facebook and Instagram, to further promote her book and speaking events, and then add these respective plugins to populate automatic updates on the website.