"So what now?
Now that we had completed 16 semi-structured interviews, analyzed the data, and identified the core problem themes, what did we do next?
We looked at problem themes from multiple angles.
Below, we've listed our top findings from our first round of research into redesigning our perspectives page.
To ensure we're building something from many perspectives, we spent a working session just understanding the problem from different angles.
In the table below, you'll find identified issues alongside the diverse challenges we'd have to overcome (research isn't included in the table, as it helped identify these issues):
By using this type of structured decision-making, we make it easier to come up with collaborative solutions. All of our team members feel heard, getting some level of ownership over the problem.
It also helps our team understand what's possible as a solution, especially when it's not directly obvious.
We decided to take a design-led perspective because we wanted to make the reading experience as enjoyable as possible.
By putting the reader first, we were confident we could make the interviews more engaging AND still hit our business goals.
Next was the fun part: envisioning the future of the perspectives page.
Before getting started, we did a check-in with the team about the problems.
Before we started creating solutions, we wanted to level set with the team about the problems. Not all user issues are the same: Some problems NEED to be fixed now while others could be added to the backlog.
Also, not every part of a business will agree on which problems to tackle first. By looking at the issues across the different teams we have at Apple & Banana, we were able to focus our solutions:
We had some solutions that we felt confident would help.
After aligning internally, we ideated some high-level solutions. Each team viewed our solutions differently, so it took some back and forth to come to an agreement.
To make life easier, we consolidated the 6 problems into 4 main issues and then created 4 corresponding solutions:
We ran through dozens of iterations of the page.
While we had the proposed solutions written down, we still had to design, build and test the site as we went along.
Below are some of the new ideas our Head of Design was testing. After each test with users, we would keep what was working and fix what wasn't.
We assessed changes from a “before and after” lens.
Below you can see a visual comparison of the old and new elements on the Perspectives page. Next to each, you can read the reason why things look and work a certain way.
Long walls of text → Chat bubbles
First, we made all of the text into chat bubbles.
Chat bubbles are synonymous with conversations around the world. We wanted a visual metaphor to break the wall of text and chat bubbles were the way to go.
To go a step further, we added the guest's image to make the conversation more human (something that was missing in v1.0).
Lastly, we added different colors and alignments to adhere to classic messaging styles.
All of these changes should make the interview more easy and engaging to read:
Quote boxes → Big type
Next, we changed the important quotes into standalone large text.
Since the chat bubbles were the new “visual baseline”, we wanted a different visual so important quotes wouldn't get lost or clash.
Large type plus a center-alignment drastically breaks the visual layout so the quotes really stand out:
Tiring to scroll → Topics menu
We also created a ”Topics“ menu to let readers see and jump to what they want to read.
The ”Topics“ menu is also fixed to the top of the page so users always have the option to switch to a new topic.
This was a major change to the page's framework so we had to essentially start over and look at interviews from the Topic-level, and not the Question-level:
Not useful → Connect/Resources section
Lastly, we wanted to make the interviews more useful by updating the Connection and Resources section.
Even, if the interview/guest wasn't meeting user's expectations, we wanted to create a standalone space where readers could get a lot of functionality.
By combining the guest's info plus any resources, we now have spot just for pure utility:
Our new page scales responsively to mobile screens as well.
We believe in “Progressive Advancement“ so we started with mobile-first designs that scale up to desktop, instead of the other way around.
Designing for a smaller screen forces us to be cognizant of space, size and responsiveness. Something that works on a smaller screen will also tend to work on a larger one.
(We've showcased the Desktop changes here since the images would be larger than on a phone!)
We know that our work isn't done.
We purposefully haven't done evaluative research on this redesign.
Why? Our priorities had to shift to other more pressing matters, such as creating an updated book sample, testing out various chapters and guides (contact us if you'd like to help test the book), growing our partnerships, and working through our backlog of content.
The truth is that testing every change isn't always possible. Timelines shift, roadmaps get crowded, and backlogs don't get revisited.
What this two-part series is designed to do is showcase the "hidden" side of building something so that we can all empathize and learn from one another.
With that said, if you go to the latest perspectives article, you may still experience some issues. As we believe in listening deeply to our readers, feel free to send any feedback below:
We hope you enjoyed this candid review of how we build here at Apple & Banana. While it's not easy showcasing the many ways that research influences and collaborates with cross-functional teams, it's important to have an honest look into how it all comes together. And we look forward to other UX leaders being vulnerable in how and why they build what they build.
Listen to "Your Research Character."
The concept of the "research persona" or "research character" isn't something common but is very important to consider. Who you are in your daily life and who you have to become in your qualitative & direct research sessions are (and should) be two separate things.
Laura & Kate dive into this concept and help you understand the line between standardized & human research.
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