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Case Study US Army MWR


Challenge

The Family and Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) team, is a division of the U.S. Army, dedicated to helping individuals/families thrive while living on garrisons. Upon analysis of their suite of websites in preparation of their redesign, they recognized that the process would call for more than a maturation of aesthetics. They challenged me to research the needs of both their audience and the administrators at their garrisons, worldwide, and establish a meaningful IA/UX that would enable their web team to design/build with confidence, on a validated foundation.

Primary Objectives

“Mark provided a very thorough user experience audit and gave our whole team a fresh perspective on how to revamp our product. Being so close to the product, we hadn’t considered many of the now-obvious improvements he pointed out. He was thorough, provided sophisticated solutions to the user interface improvements he recommended, and made it easy for us to understand the ‘why’ behind his reasoning. I also appreciated how he incorporated psychological concepts like ‘paradox of choice’ to make a strong case for his design decisions. Mark’s strong background in user experience and design coupled with a neutral perspective on our product definitely added immense value to our user-centered design process, giving us a much clearer roadmap towards our future product state.”

Jesse Barlow, Product Manager

Approach

Right out of the gate, I identified a disconnect between the headquarters (HQ) website and the garrison websites (Enterprise Web). There was an array of redundant information, and even missing information where one assumed the other was publishing it. I wanted to analyze the full structures of each, and optimize the IA between them, so they could work together for a complete UX. The idea was to understand the contextual relevance of the HQ site vs an Enterprise Web site, and distribute content respectively. After an IA map was drafted for each, journeys between all of the garrisons and the HQ site were mapped out to accommodate necessary task flows and contextually-related content gateways. Because of the complexity and high volume of content, I also crafted a taxonomy to be distributed to all content managers. This would help retain long-term integrity of the connections between websites.

Scope of Work

  • Heuristic audits
  • Analytics audits
  • User personas
  • Stakeholder interviews
  • End-user interviews
  • Task flows
  • Use case scenarios
  • IA and wireframes
  • User testing
  • Taxonomies

Results

My process uncovered a number of shortcomings that would be addressed as part of this process, and a broad spectrum of new challenges that would require additional attention. This prompted my client to put into motion a second phase of the project, and reprioritize their entire effort. A minimum viable product was completed and published, and immediately thereafter I began leading a greater, in-depth process to produce a more comprehensive suite of websites.

The MVP did, however, yield a number of measurable improvements. Post-launch analytics audits revealed great success in the following areas:

18%
Increase in mobile users
20%
Increase in return visitors
21%
Increase in pageviews

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03 - Work