Design Research: Groundwork for the Change

My retrospective on being a part of the research phase of the redesign of Germany’s most known editorial brand for tech-savvy consumers.

Goal and Setup

Chip Online (CHIP) is the widest-reaching editorial technology portal on the German-speaking Internet. The website has grown over the last years and had no consistent design from one page to another. The interface felt cluttered and was confusing for the user.

CHIP before the redesign

I was working as User Experience Designer for CHIP when my manager Kamila Stanitzek asked me to analyze the current flaws and issues of the website. The goal: I should not only come up with recommendations how to improve the existing user flows but as well to execute as a Product Owner with my team on the recommendations. Obvious to say, that I agreed on the mission.

Research

I started by looking into quantitative user metrics from different sources: Google Analytics, Adobe Omniture, tracking results, search log files. Based on that I draw some user flow diagrams and build up hypothesis on user behaviors that I wanted to validate in user tests.

Additionally, together with my manager, we briefed an external market analyses company for conducting user interviews on brand awareness compared with chip competitors.

We gathered as well information from different sales apartments on how the company was making money. I took care of this outcomes as our most important business requirements. These requirements had a massive impact on my interfaces and user flows as the website itself is heavily monetarized by advertisements.

Persona Interviews and User Tests

In a team design workshop we came up with three persona hypothesis and I started to design my user tests. The script included an interview to learn more about our personas. Additional a software usage scenario that began with a task that could be solved with the website (compare smartphones, download software, etc. ) but the solution was open and up to the user. At the end of the test, I asked the participants to make a questionnaire regarding what they saw from the product.

CHIP Personas

Together with the market research company Schmiedl Marktforschung, I created a screener to have at least 5 of each persona represented in our first test series. In a team of 4 user experience designer, we conducted the user tests, reviewed the results and defined design requirements in a workshop altogether.

Brand Definition Phase

With our first insights, I organized together with my manager workshops for stakeholders and our internal designers. At the end of our research phase we had:

  • Defined the brand values
  • Agreed on brand characteristics
  • Knew how to transform that into colors, images, interactions, etc..

Together with what we learned before:

  • About our users and user flows
  • Gathered business requirements
  • Flaws and issues of the website
  • Brand awareness

…we were ready to dive into the design and production phase for the redesign of Germany’s most known tech-savvy editorial brand.

User Interaction Guidelines

What I have learned

It was fascinating not only being a part of the redesign process but to driving the process together Mrs. Stanitzek. We learned a lot from each other and worked perfectly together for creating best results as you will read in the next article.