The foundation for my final major project was the quantitative and qualitative research conducted in my Research Proposal
After identifying a target category of users through in-person surveys and observation, I set out to determine the needs and struggles of visitors to create relevant solutions.
The first step in this process was connecting with the users through empathy maps. "An Empathy Map consists of four quadrants. The four quadrants reflect four key traits, which the user demonstrated/possessed during the observation/research stage. The four quadrants refer to what the user: Said, Did, Thought, and Felt." (Dam, R. and Siang, T., 2019)
The empathy maps created were based on demographical information gathered through previous research and became the basis for four corresponding engaging personas
Engaging personas are a sum of goal and role-based ones. In addition to them, they provide a fictional background and information about the user's feelings and mindset, increasing the perception of empathy. (Dam, R. and Siang, T., 2019)
"The purpose of the engaging perspective is to move from designers seeing the user as a stereotype with whom they are unable to identify and whose life they cannot envision, to designers actively involving themselves in the lives of the personas. The other persona perspectives are criticized for causing a risk of stereotypical descriptions by not looking at the whole person, but instead focusing only on behavior." - Lene Nielsen (Dam, R. and Siang, T., 2019)
My analysis of personas comprised of a description of the character’s job, personal life and feelings towards cultural heritage, especially in relation to England. Other than this, main frustrations and interests were outlined. The “Day in the life” section provides an overview of a typical day experienced by the persona, which proved very useful for the creation of user journeys, alongside the empathy maps.
Personas and user journeys were also helpful to narrow down the necessary content
to include in the website. For instance, the Inês persona is a 32-year-old influencer and “travelholic”; as a consequence, she’s always thinking about her next trip and carefully planning her schedule ahead. It is plausible that Inês would benefit from a section on the website where the main attractions of the Great Hall are presented, and another one where she could explore future events and activities. On the other hand, the Lindsay persona is passionate about history and would appreciate cultural sections more, such as one with information about heraldry or with a map of the old Winchester Castle. Being a student with a tight budget, she would also need information about ticket prices and concessions.
After this preliminary analysis, a list of all the sections for the website was jotted down, forming a content inventory
. In order to involve users throughout the information architecture stage, I resorted to a card sorting survey
with closed categories. Ten participants, recruited through Prolific
, were asked to sort cards describing discrete elements of the website into predetermined categories. To create the survey, I took advantage of the Optimal Workshop platform
Results of the card sorting were the starting point for establishing the taxonomy of the website and creating a tree architecture diagram.