Sara Clayton — UX Designer based in Seattle

HSDC Website

Led a team of four to redesign the Hearing, Speech, and Deaf Center of Puget Sound’s website.

ForRedesigning the Hearing, Speech, and Deaf Center of Puget Sound’s website experience. RoleProject Manager and UX Designer
DateMarch 2017
As one of the nation’s largest deaf-blind communities, Seattle is home to a number of helpful non-profits that cater a wide range of services. We were approached by the Hearing, Speech and Deaf Center (HSDC) of Puget Sound to attain its main goal for FY17 – to increase awareness of their services within the local and greater community. I was tasked with recruiting and managing a group of volunteers from across the company. While I had recruited volunteers with a wide range of skills (i.e. marketing, research, etc.), we also realized - through interviews and diving into the center's web analytics - there was a strong need for a website redesign.

During our interview with select directors of HSDC, they mentioned that their current WordPress site was difficult to work with and that it was not responsive. Based on website analytics, we found that most people initially came to the page to find out more on how to volunteer and to learn more about the services they offer. During that process, we also saw that their "404" page was the fifth most visited page overall on their site - never a good sign. From there, three-fifths of the top pages visited after were related to contacting the center.
From personal observation, there was so much content to wade through that we were drowning in content. We also brought in our accessibility team for user testing and used three different scenarios to guide them through site navigation. From these sessions, we found that much of the site would fail a standard accessibility test. Problem: Website visitors have a hard time finding what they want on the website because of the sheer amount of content, distracting interactions and overall user experience across all devices. Due to these issues with the website, HSDC is not capturing all possible leads to the website.

Solution: A website that is easy to navigate with defined categories, succinct content and device responsiveness. This website should also be easy to use from a site administrator’s perspective, complete with pre-made post elements. Success for the website would mean a lower first-page bounce rate and an increase in appointments made from the website (as opposed to phone and in-person).
We started out by going through the whole site, making note of all the pages, then narrowing down the best categories for as much of the content as we could consolidate. Then we re-organized their information architecture. From there, we brainstormed the content that would go into these sections by working on user scenarios and went on to create wireframes. We moved forward with hi-fi comps, which we showed to stakeholders to get their feedback continuously through the process. From there, we worked closely with development and jumped into help at times, testing and populating content where we could. The development team built custom post elements using Shortcake based on the different content needs from the wireframes, making the website editing process easier for the team at HSDC. Templates were also built so that the HSDC team could switch themes back and forth in just one step. While in the development process, I asked several volunteers to shoot photos of the center and of the employees so we could use real people from HSDC on the site. I also asked a HSDC director to connect us with a few clients so we could get their feedback on the site. For the sake of brevity, you can find these narratives and feedback documentation here. It's a total game-changer. One of our core principles is to remove communication barriers and having great technology can help do that.
Lindsay Klarman, Executive Director at HSDC
Learnings: This project was a great learning lesson in stepping outside of the "notorious" Microsoft bubble. While it's a no-brainer to allow time for socializing designs among stakeholders on our projects, when working with HSDC, this was one step we didn't give enough time for. Because of this, we had to push back the launch date, but we were still able to get the job done. Better to have a complete site and happy stakeholders than an almost done site and unhappy stakholders. Due to resources, there were also a few features we wanted to implement but couldn't include a custom scheduling system HSDC could use.