Case Study: MiVote
Team Members: Sienna, Sean, Rodrigo
Project Time: 3 weeks
Primary point of contact: Joel Stanton, MiVote Marketing Manager
Authors Note: Some material has been amended/not included for its nature of sensitive information.
For this project my role was primarily as UX Designer, focusing on interviews, contextual inquiries and audits. Towards the end of the project my role shifted to UI Designer and Information Architecture.
1 — Discovery
- user and stakeholder interviews
- contextual inquiries
- market and competitive research
- content audit and research
2 — Define and Ideation
- competitive analysis
- swot analysis
- created personas
- user journeys and flows
- problem and solution statement
3 — Design
- information architecture
- usability testing
- hi-fi prototype
4 — Recommendations and iterations
There were several challenges presented to us from when we were first given the brief and including our first interviews with our stakeholders. It was evident and from our assumptions that the scope of the brief was quite large and we needed to discuss closely the real concerns that plagued MiVote.
Notes: From our first team meeting, considering the scale of the brief and how in the coming weeks we would tackle it, we decided to make some house rules for our team so that we all sat on the same page and to avoid building tension in the group. In the end, it brought our group closer together and bonded extremely well.
MiVote needs to more effectively engage and communicate with a wider audience so that they can convert them into users. They also need to encourage and appeal to possible volunteers as well to help increase the organizations ability to produce content and effective campaigns to draw people to the MIVote movement.
User and stakeholder interviews
Part of our discovery process was to interview stakeholders and users. We created a document that we could track all our interviewees. We split up the management of the interviews into three sections. I would take to interview a younger audience as part of our research, primarily I focused on interviewing late high school to late university students. We split stakeholder interviews between the three of us and considering the amount of interviews we did, it was an equal split.
With our contextual inquiries we ran users through different tasks and to explain their experience to us. We recorded these inquiries with the permission of our users so we could use it as further research down the road. It was interesting to note the wide range of users we acquired. Because MiVote doesn’t isn’t meant to attract a certain political wing, we chose to target an audience from all political spheres. Those who are uninterested, uninitiated, those who are engaged and interest and those willing to do something and be the champions of MiVote.
Our contextual inquiries gave us some amazing results, we found that the users we chose, whether they were politically engaged or not, had mutual things to say about the site, the common ones were; the website is confusing, finding information doesn’t help understand what it is/what they do and we quickly found that users were frustrated or gave up in the end. They also though that MiVote was aimed at a particular audience or political wing, the right leaning users thought it was aimed for the left and the left thought it was aimed for the right. As well, we found the younger audience found it aimed towards the older generations whereas it was once again different for those older generations.
We quickly identified several competitors to MiVote but none really were taking the direction that MiVote was. Flux are a direct democracy platform just like MiVote but with several key differences. People Choice was also on that list as well as GetUp! The difference is that MiVote isn’t a political party like its competitors, instead its a political movement trying to bring education and a better democracy for all Australians. Places like GetUp! are great because they stand for the people voice but have been accused of following a left agenda before.
From our assumptions and initial thoughts, it was clear that what MiVote needed was a content strategy, but without proper research and context we had no basis to make that claim. Instead we kept focusing on our research and interviews. At this time I conducted a content audit of the current MiVote website, the content they have, the content they need and what other content we could merge, cut or add.
— Define and Ideation
So with our research we began to analyse and synthesize the data we from both our primary and secondary research. We found strengths, weaknesses and also assessed key features of each competitor. From this we found an opportunity at which MiVote could expand into and it also started guiding our initial assumptions of a content strategy.
Instead of personas, through our research, we found that all three of our personas overlapped with each other and it was just too restricting to limit a persona to one age group identifier. Instead we opted for changing the personas to mindsets. The mindsets work in the same similar fashion in which personas are, the difference is that because they overlap with each other, its much easier to create content strategy to target our weaker audience, to retain the current audience (mindset 2) and to create further interest for our final audience.
With that in mind, we found 3 main mindsets and had one primary with the other two playing as secondary and tertiary.
Mindset 1 is the dis-empowered pragmatist. Someone who is uninterested, isn’t motivated to participate in or understand politics because its not ‘his place’. He doesn’t see how he can make the difference and sees no benefit in trying. He lacks confidence in his intelligence. He cares about challenged that directly affect him or his loved ones but doesn’t make the connection to policy.
Mindset 2 is a do-gooder driven by emotion and causes. She is creative, insightful, curious, and never feels like she does or knows enough. She is prone to insecurity and seeks validation from creating social change on a large scale. She is a critical thinker, talented writer, and podcast connoisseur.
She distrusts political systems without knowing exactly how they operate. For Emma, politics equal bureaucracy and feel altogether ‘other.’ She wishes she knew more about politics, and will drown herself in research in an effort to inform herself — though to no avail. She is driven by emotional connection, finding commonality over social values, and the desire to learn. Instead of pushing for policy change, she volunteers for non-profit’s, puts on screening events, and shares articles on Facebook.
Mindset 3 is a intellect-driven History buff who shares his opinions regularly on social media. An avid Tweeter, Toby wants to encourage political participation on all levels and is disappoint-ed with such widespread political illiteracy.
He’s a technical guy who cares about budget allocation and knows his local MP by name and phone number. Toby has a political opinion and is not afraid to share it — no matter how abrasive it may be. He is not scared of conflict, and in fact loves debating. He sees the fallacy of partisan politics and believes the government should be a servant of the people, no matter what the people want.
He will take the time to read through the website, yet is not easily persuaded, and will put up a ‘factually substantiated’ fight. If he can champion the platform’s intelligence and foresight, however, he will hop on board.
User Journeys & Flows
Next we created user journey’s and flows. We found that through contextual inquiries and interviews, the users found the website too confusing, navigational elements weren’t global and users were going through too many pages to find further information or it took too long for them to find the necessary information to then start voting.
— Problem Statement
- Users don’t need to be told its broken
They already know the system is broken, they will be able to list the things that to them represent how it is broken. Telling them it is broken doesn’t help nor engage them. As you are just saying what all of your competitors are already saying.
- Users want to be told how it can be fixed
One of the key things we noticed when conducting both interviews and contextual inquiries was that users did not want nor need to be told the system is broken. A large number felt that they know the system is broken but its the best they had, So what they wanted instead is to be told how you can fix or improve it the system. They want to see solutions rather than problems
- The language used is too complicated
Currently a number of users felt the language used was too complicated “Too many sticky words that make your brain hurt.” The language used to push your message should be easily understandable to your target audience and not require them to read for long periods of time. A number of users requested that info graphics or videos might be better than having the large amounts of text on screen.
— Solution Statement
MiVote will need to develop a content strategy that speaks to users on how MiVote will benefit them most. This is because most users do not directly take action on their behalf unless something has occurred to trigger this. This will normally involve some form of policy effecting them or their loved ones.
- Clear Messaging
Outline how MiVote can help their audience and users by giving them a voice, giving them a place where their opinion on the direction of the country matters. The message and language needs to be clear and concise, in a simple manner that all audiences will be able to understand and feel empowered by this new knowledge.
- Building a story about MiVote that informs them of what you do and shows you are human:
MiVote isn’t a political party, they’re human, the movement is run by humans just like their audience, for people just like their audience. The users need to understand that the reasons for this are real (for your children to have a better world, to insure all Australians have an equal say, to make Australia fairer).
- Show MiVote is a community that they can be a part of. (Your opinion matters).
We need to show how people can be involved and how welcoming the MiVote community is. Show how their opinion matters, that they will be listened to. Show that being a part of MiVote (if they volunteer or even be a member) that they will grow with MiVote. This could be done by offering some form of education through MiVote’s volunteering process.
Messaging, Tone and Voice
- Avoid words like: Democracy, Policy, Politics, Revolution
When conducting user research we found that these 4 words were the ones that most turned people away. The reasoning for this is Democracy, Policy and Politics all associate you more with being a political party rather then a movement, it is also the language your competition uses. Also MiVote needed to avoid the word revolution, majority of Australians do not feel like the government needs to be overthrown (which is what this word implies). This doesn’t mean they can’t use these words, they just should use it to a minimum as we know that MiVote deals directly with policy and sooner or later these words will come up to education the users.
- Humanize MiVote’s language in its messaging and collateral
We needed to keep the language simple and easy to digest/understand in a short period of time. Users have limited time to understand what it is MiVote does and how it will benefit them and those they love. We do not want to alienate the users by using language that is too complicated/complex for them to understand. As our user research shows a number of users do not feel they have the education, or know enough about politics to understand it. MiVote needs to show this is not the case.
When I was conducting the audit, I found that they did not have an information architecture structure and a lot of the problem we found with the website was due to this oversight. Granted, they didn’t have UX Designers originally to catch this on, I took it upon myself to create and design an information architecture for them. I took the research, the contextual inquiries and the content audit and began designing the IA.
Moving onto the wireframes and sitemaps, once the information architecture was completed it was very easy to create new sitemaps and design a new homepage for MiVote. So what is it? Information architecture is the structure of all the information in your website. With the IA I designed, this further helps MiVote down the road when they wish to implement new pages, new features or change existing pages. Why is it needed? Well, simply put, when we put care into the arrangement of information, we can make it easier to understand and navigate. This is especially in the case of MiVote with through our research we found that their users found it hard to navigate and understand the site architecture. The IA fixes these issues and puts into place an immediate structure and information for users to identify.
— HI-FIDELITY WEBSITE & USABILITY TESTING
Originally within our scope we didn’t have implemented a plan to have a website demo. But because of time we were able to squeeze one in. I quickly designed and created one up in Adobe XD. I did some usability testing with the first iteration before making second adjustments and then showing it again for testing.
The purpose of the hi-fi was to demonstrate to MiVote how simple we could make the webpage for ALL audiences, to simplify the language and make a story out of it, make it more human.
From testing: User Darren | Student
It’s definitely easier to reach more people when you speak in a way that they’ll understand. I prefer this over the MiVote website.
— MIVOTE PROTOTYPE
To check out the prototype head to this link