Note: this project was presented at a panel at Boulder Startup Week 2021, where I served as a panelist. You can view the recording online or in an embedded player below.
In October of 2020, Alaina Beaver, the organizer of the Boulder UX Research Meetup requested help to organize a “Giving Back” volunteer project. The goal was to perform UX research for local nonprofits on a volunteer basis. I worked with Alicia to help organize the project, and suggested Colorado Uplift as a potential nonprofit that we could work with because I had donated to them in the past. In December, we organized 5 Giving Back teams, each with a senior UX professional. I took on this role for the group working with Colorado Uplift, working with 3 junior-mid level UX professionals to provide useful UX feedback on the Colorado Uplift website. We carried out a variety of UX research tasks and ultimately delivered a final report and presentation to the Colorado Uplift team, which implemented several of our suggestions.
Meetup event listing
We started by meeting with the Colorado Uplift team to understand their needs. As a nonprofit dedicated to providing personal and educational growth for students through mentorship, they wanted the website to clearly communicate their values and outcomes. They were particularly interested in improving the donation experience on their website as well as better communicating they stood out from other education nonprofits. We noted these needs and developed a strategy to gather data in order to meet the goals. We decided on 3 research methods:
Each team member used Jakob Nielsen’s 10 heuristics, among others, to create a list of potential problems with the existing Colorado Uplift website, with a particular focus on the areas of importance identified by the stakeholders. These were gathered into a large table and combined to both eliminate duplicates and track incidence across the work of the 4 team members, which made it easier to prioritize issues found by multiple teammates.
We created an interview script with several tasks for the user to accomplish on the Colorado Uplift site, as well as related questions. As a team, we conducted 9 sessions with 10 different users (2-3 sessions per team member). Most were remote due to COVID, though a few were conducted in-person. The results of the user sessions were recorded and the notes were consolidated into a findings list, with the most commonly found issues sorted to the top.
In conjunction with our Colorado Uplift stakeholders, we developed a user survey using Google forms. Our initial plan was to send the survey to the Colorado Uplift mailing list as well as a more general group from the meetup, but we quickly realized that, while there was significant overlap, that we would need two separate surveys. We sent the surveys to the two groups and received ~50 responses. We consolidated the data and looked for patterns in issues that users reported.
We took our consolidated findings from the heuristic evaluations, usability study, and survey, and summarized the most frequent and relevant findings in a written report, which itself linked to our consolidated findings in the appendices. We then took the report and created a slide presentation which we presented to the Colorado Uplift team. They were very appreciative of our efforts and planned to use the data in an upcoming website refresh.
Report first page
I participated in all aspects of the process, but encouraged each team member to take a leadership role on one aspect (heuristic evaluation, usability study, etc.). I took a leadership role on the interview script, survey, and final presentation, though I only presented the introduction before handing off to other team members. Overall I spent about 25 hours working on the project.