Brand: General Assembly
Project: Responsive Website
Timeframe: 2 Weeks
The ask was to explore a need or problem for an existing brand. Being a student at General Assembly, I noticed a true passion among my peers to seek knowledge in the hopes of making their dreams a reality. Through research, my team and I validated that people need a way to gain feedback and build upon their ideas from peers and professionals in the tech community. We then asked ourselves: What if we brought General Assembly's campus culture online to exchange knowledge with the greater community? And from there we developed Idea Incubator — a trustworthy question-and-answer platform with social, project management, and educational capabilities.*
RESEARCH & DISCOVERY
Through surveys and interviews, we found that nearly everyone had an idea that they put on the back burner due to a lack of knowledge or apparent resources. The need for this site was almost palpable from the “idea-maker” side. Most people just needed a place where they could get trusted validation of their idea. Beyond that, the largest needs were for a general outline of next steps, quick technical information, and a way to connect with interested parties to form a team.
We conducted comparative analyses of other Q&A platforms as well as startup incubator websites, and found a few notable gaps. The Q&A websites were full of misinformation and untrustworthy sources. While on the other hand, the incubators were largely private and focused on teams who already had a business proposal.
From the 13 user interviews conducted, we developed 4 personas, representing our user base of Idea Makers and/or Contributors.
The needs of our personas, and interviewees, helped in prioritizing some of our tougher-to-assess features. We knew that posting, comments, and profiles would be necessary, but other features such as the project board would be prioritized after we had the core foundation.
- Be able to post questions or ideas
- Be able to leave comments
- Be able to create/sign in to profile
- Be able to rate comments
- Be able to add connections
- Be able to upload and share documents
- Be able to send direct messages
- Be able to search by topic
- Be able to adjust privacy settings
- Receive notifications
- Track project process
- Provide project management tools
- Incorporate GA video tools
Before wireframing, my team conducted design studio, sketching out the different pages. From there, we developed medium fidelity wireframes for initial user testing, which were eventually transformed to high fidelity mockups. We drew much of our design inspiration from General Assembly's existing visual elements in keeping with brand style.
Through usability testing, we found users were having difficulty with the iconography in the navigation, which were eventually updated to clearer text links. We also had to completely overhaul the network page as initial testers were not able to search for and add new contacts. Overall, we went through 4 iterations before landing at the final prototype.
Due to the amount of content and features, a responsive website was the most appropriate platform choice for Idea Incubator. Once we finalized the desktop features and validated usability through testing, we designed the mobile and tablet views. For these devices, we considered font resizing, adjusting content locations, consolidating menus, and button sizes.
The final prototype presented demonstrates how a user would post a question, view responses, review profiles, and navigate the different pages. Overall, we validated through usability testing that users are able to accomplish these tasks.
Prototype made with Axure: http://61gjzx.axshare.com/#c=2
*This project was completed as part of the UXDI curriculum at General Assembly.