Website and Application Improvements & Feature Design
Research, Strategy & Concept
As a part of student project for the User Experience Research Methods class, my team and I worked collaboratively through the research, analysis, and design phases of the ‘Improving the UX of the Harford County Website and App’ project.
Overview & Client Details
Harford County is a county in the U.S. state of Maryland. Harford County was formed on March 22, 1774 from the eastern part of Baltimore County with a population of 13,000 people.
The Harford County Department of Planning and Zoning is responsible for overseeing the growth and development of Harford County. The Department seeks to better meet the needs of county visitors by enhancing its current app and website. They currently provide access to county services, information and resources, including: news, calendar, facilities, mini-apps and sign up for county notifications but it does not specifically encourage tourist activities. It is most heavily used by 30-40 year-olds, however, the county would like to enhance the app to more fully engage business and vacationing visitors, and expand its user base beyond the core user group.
Project Focus, Mission & Business Goals
Our project focus were promoting county tourism to visitors and expanding the website and app’s core user group; by understanding the experience of trip planning and information requirement while making decision. Our mission and business goals were:
- Increase engagement with non-residents including business and vacationing visitors
- Promote county tourism to residents and non-residents
- Expand the core user group of the app beyond 30-40 year olds
- Improve accessibility of information from the app/website
In the background research process, we analyzed Harford County app and website, did comparative analysis of similar websites, and analyzed popular trip planning sites. Then, we conducted 8 contextual interviews across the varied demographics, formulated affinity diagrams from notes made in the interpretation sessions. We also built three Contextual Design Experience Models to show the structure of users’ lives from the multiple points of view and help us to collect, incorporate and use our data.
Contextual Design Experience Models
Sequence Model Day In the Life Model Identity Model
After doing user research, competitive and complimentary analysis and lots of concepting and ideation, we came up with some design ideas and then created prototypes for our proposed solutions. We wanted to create a more engaging online experience for users, which we achieved through observing and doing retrospective account of the listed activities in a series of interviews.
Key Methods & Tools
Competitive Analysis • Contextual User Interviews • Sketching • Prototyping • Presentation • Affinity Diagramming • Sketching • Storyboarding
Combining insights into cohesive experiences through user stories.
Design Ideas & Prototypes
- Put attractive pictures on the main page. Replace generic stock images on the main webpage with images from the county
- Advertise interesting and novel experiences / attractions unique to Harford County
Show what people are talking about from social media – Instagram, Facebook, Twitter
- Support trip planning with displaying accurate and up to date information about future events
- Group activities together, so that they are easier to find with respect to what people want to do
- Show user testimonials for activities and places in Harford County
- Give weather based on event options
- Relevant and important information should be easy to find
- Add option to make itinerary which syncs with your personal calendar
Other Design Ideas
- Give information on the different ways one could get there and the time it would take
- Include a virtual tour, to allow users to get a sense of Harford County before they travel
- Suggest pre-planned experiences for travelers to the county
- Provide discussion threads for people to talk about their experiences and ask questions
Home Page | Show everyone how fun Harford can be
Find Events Pages | Let’s find your next muse
Smart Itinerary | Your trip, at a glance