City of Seattle Cornerstone Optimization
Project for General Assembly UX Immersive Bootcamp
Seattle is a seaport city on the West Coast of the United States. It is the seat of King County, Washington. Seattle is the largest city in both the state of Washington and the Pacific Northwest region of North America. According to U.S. Census data released in 2019, the Seattle metropolitan area’s population stands at 3.98 million, and ranks as the 15th-largest in the United States.
This was the fifth and final project of my User Experience Design Immersive (Cohort 31), at General Assembly Seattle. The City of Seattle were my first “real” UX clients in the program.
Methods (Click to see insights and process):
- How often do you login to your account?
- What are pages that you visit/access the most and why?
- What else can you tell us about your experience? (Your likes and dislikes)
- What are some features you would like to be on the home page and very accessible?
User interviews were conducted with our entire team alternating who interviewed who. Our lead researcher was tasked with synthesis of the data. This required a lot of clear team communication and organization. Since we were working remotely, we relied heavily on Zoom, Slack, and Google Drive to keep all information accessible to the team.
Who Our Researchers Interviewed
Employees of The City of Seattle
(Who were system administrators)
Those Who Do Not Have Admin Access
Via Zoom, we interviewed City of Seattle employees and asked them complete the following tasks and got their feedback on the current website
- How would you view your performance review?
- How would you review the performance of a subordinate?
- How would you request and/or assign a training?
- How would you browse for training?
(Where consent allowed) We recorded each user interview via zoom, utilizing the screenshare option to record contextual interviews. We then recorded interesting insights and comments from our users. We used those comments to begin defining our user problems and their solutions.
User Insights, City of Seattle EmployeesOur user researchers compiled their data into Google docs. Our lead researcher synthesized the information from all of our data. After we identified trends in the user data, as a group, we further compiled the user points to one motivation/desire statement per grouping.
The System Usability Scale (SUS) provides a “quick and dirty”, reliable tool for measuring the usability. It consists of a 10 item questionnaire with five response options for respondents; from Strongly agree to Strongly disagree.
Based on research, a SUS score above a 68 would be considered above average and anything below 68 is below average, however the best way to interpret your results involves “normalizing” the scores to produce a percentile ranking.
Data was collected using a survey which was distributed to City of Seattle employees.
Developing Personas:After synthesizing our data into a singular user need, want, and/or motivation based on affinity map trends, we translated these insights into one distinct user personas; Mindy Manager. We initially assumed that we would need at least two personas (one for end users, one for admins) but there was not enough user data to justify splitting into two personas.
- 42 years old
- Seattle Local
- HR Manager
- “I want a more modern and engaging interface”
- “I expect clear, visible button labeling and feedback”
- “I expect intuitive training filtering options.”
- “I expect class updates”
- “I want my learning dashboard and the dashboards of those I manage on the homepage”
- “I want clear navigation”
- “I want clear menu labeling”
- My Dashboard and progress is not on the home page
- Unclear or non-existent class updates; calendar does not update
- Difficulty navigating and orienting
- Design is clunky and not engaging
- Assign and approve goals and trainings
- Write performance reviews
- Monitor team progress
- Complete her own required training
- Read her own performance review
City of Seattle
Mindy needs Cornerstone to have clear navigation, intuitive training filtering, up to date information on training and classes, and easy access to learning dashboards because she has to manage a large team effectively and efficiently.
Information Architecture: Site Mapping
b) "Resources and Contact Us" includes some of the same info displayed on landing page for "Cornerstone, general info"
c) "Browse for trainings" and "Catalog" direct to the same page
d) E3 Performance Management is not in the top navigation, only the landing page
e) Admin > Preferences seems to entail editing the Welcome Page (landing page), however the division filter is unclear to how it is relevant to editing the landing page, seems to not update the Welcome Page at all
f) With current resources, current global navigation cannot be changed After a cardsort completed by city employees, we also reorganized some menu options.
Reorganizing Menu Structure
Menu Structure Mapping- Before/After
- Remote Contextual Interviews
User Testing Results
On average tested users said:
- Our design was 85% more successful in helping them accomplish key tasks
- Our design was 80% more engaging
- Our menu restructuring was 92.5% more helpful
- With changes, signing up for classes took 2 mins instead of 4
- Users were able to reach performance reviews in under a minute
“I want clear navigation”
“I want clear menu labeling”
These insights suggest a need for a brand tone/voice so users have a standard level of communication to expect from Cornerstone- regardless of poster.
The personality that The City of Seattle’s Cornerstone needs to have is:
- Consummately professional
- Concise and active language
- Clear and direct
- Austere but warm and engaging
Even when the style varies, it’s important to remember that the underlying tone should remain the same.
Our designs were successful with users, resulting in an overall experience that improved by an average of 85%.
- There was much actionable data from users that we could not change due to system constraints. We presented this information to the client in their final handoff report.
- Additional user testing to validate results
- Standardize language and design solutions across all departments
Thank you for reading!