Elisabeth Pefanis
UX Designer

Mural Routes

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Company Overview

Mural Routes is the only member-based not-for-profit arts service organization in Canada dedicated to the creation, development, and promotion of public wall art. The website promotes public wall art in partnership with artists that serve as a catalyst for community building.

Design Challenge

Users enjoyed the colorful visual design and purpose of the Mural Routes website but struggled with some parts of the navigation, lack of transparency of donations / benefits of becoming a member, and the immediate purpose of the website.

Proposed Solutions

  1. Recommendation 1: Reduce visual clutter and implement visual hierarchy/structure

  2. Recommendation 2: Improve site’s information architecture

  3. Recommendation 3: Encourage users to donate and/or join

Design Process

  • Role: UX Researcher

  • Skills Applied: Moderated user interviews, information architecture, and data analyses/aggregation

  • Scope: ~2 months

Research
Mural Routes

Research Objectives

To begin the usability study, our team of UX Designers from the Pratt Center for Digital Experiences met with Mural Routes to clearly define the goals and objectives for their website:

  • Understand users' navigation process

  • Uncover any discoverability or accessibility problems that users may be having when interacting with the website

  • Discover any improvements that could be made to the current interface to enhance user-friendliness

Moderated User Testing

Choosing Participants

Our participant recruitment strategy targeted the user profiles for Mural Art Enthusiasts & Professional Mural Artists/Artists. The recruitment of participants was conducted via social media channels, the Pratt School of Information mailing list, and through targeted recruitment of known mural artists/artists.

To select participants that fit our defined user profiles, a screening questionnaire was developed to examine participant responses against a number of criteria related to their relationship with mural art and art organizations

Mural Routes

User Profiles

Following the recruitment screening process, 10 participants were selected to participate in the user tests.

Testing Structure

Our team of 5 evaluators conducted the usability testing with these 10 participants using the tool UserZoom Go on their desktops/laptops.

10
Moderated Interviews
4
Pre-Test Questions
6
Tasks
5
Post Test Questions

Tasks

The following 6 tasks were presented to the participants to complete while using the website. After completing each task, participants were asked about their general thoughts about the page, and measurements on completion rate and semantic differential (task difficulty scores) were taken

  • TASK 1: Find information about becoming a member

  • TASK 2: Find the last time a monthly member meetup happened

  • TASK 3: You are interested in taking a mural art class. Find a mural art class that has recently been offered by Mural Routes

  • TASK 4: You’re interested in creating a mural project on a building in your community, how would you find relevant information for this project?

  • TASK 5: You want to read about the Keynote speakers from the latest National Mural Symposium. Find the report from the last Mural Symposium

  • TASK 6: You are concerned with how murals are being maintained in your community and want to make a donation. How would you do this?

Interview Results
Mural Routes

Results Overview

The difficulty rating is on a scale of 1 - Very Easy to 5 - Very Difficult.

I created a spreadsheet with all of the interview answers and formulas to easily measure how the user's rated each task and calculate the completion rate.

80%
Would Use This Site Again In The Future
3.7
Average Score For Website Navigation
“I feel like I can join the community members and be able to donate to help mural artist and projects”
Highlight From User Interviewe

Key Takeaways

Our findings from these user tests demonstrated that participants felt the website provided a strong connection to the mission and community of Mural Routes.

Some areas of the site that posed the most difficulty for users included:

  • Discovering upcoming events

  • Navigating the Resources page

  • Overwhelming amount of text

  • Lack of images

  • Automatic scrolling carousel on the homepage

  • Felt the homepage was too busy

  • Lack of transparency of donations

  • Didn't immediately understand the mission of Mural Routes

  • Wanted more information on the benefits of becoming a member

The new designs focus on the three recommendations to address the above issues:

  1. Recommendation 1: Reduce visual clutter and implement visual hierarchy/structure

  2. Recommendation 2: Improve site’s information architecture by restructuring content and including drop-down menus

  3. Recommendation 3: Encourage users to donate and/or join by giving them clearer information about Mural Routes’ offerings

Recommendation 1: Reduce visual clutter and implement visual hierarchy/structure

Areas of Opportunity

  • Add Mission Statement: Include the vision of Mural Routes on the homepage so users can immediately identify the purpose and feel connected

  • Remove Automation From Carousel and Red Swirl Background: Allowing users to continue at their own pace and removing distracting backgrounds will reduce distractions and increase awareness

  • Add More Images: Users want to see the products and feel connected

  • Reduce Text: Helps users accomplish their goals by prioritizing key information

  • Add Current Projects Below The Fold: Users can see the most recent projects without having to search for them in the about section

Mural Routes Homepage

Mural Routes Homepage

Recommended Homepage

Our proposed design keeps the playful tone of the website but has toned down distractions like the amount of text, graphics, and automations.

Images of murals and a quick mission statement are given the spotlight in the carousel. The user can now quickly understand the purpose of the website and accomplish their goals.

New Homepage

New Homepage

Recommendation 2: Improve site’s information
architecture

New Recommended Site Map

Based on the research conducted and taking into account learned user behaviors, I reimagined the site map to place content where users expected it, prioritize key content important to Mural Routes' mission, and group similar content together.

Mural Routes

Areas Of Opportunity

  • Replace "News" with "Events": Users were confused to find events in the news tab

  • Move "News" under "About" section: This is where users would expect it to be

  • Add dropdowns to navigation: Users will be able to easily see what is available in each section

  • Move all member related content under "Member" tab: Users were confused that member information/events was not under the "Member" tab but was instead under "News"

Recommended Site Map

Recommended Site Map

Mural Routes

Adding Dropdowns

Dropdowns allow users to quickly understand what each section contains and how they should navigate the website to accomplish their goals.

Recommendation 3: Encourage users to donate
and/or join
Existing Donations Page

Existing Donations Page

Areas Of Opportunity - Donation Page

  • Add Images: Users want to see the murals their donations are helping to create and maintain

  • Reduce Text: The amount of text is overwhelming and distracts the user from the goal of the page - to donate

Recommended Donation Page: Includes more motivation with images and information

Recommended Donation Page: Includes more motivation with images and information

"If people know where their money is going, they will trust you more to give it…"
User From Interview
Mural Routes

Areas Of Opportunity Continued - Donation Page

Add Transparency/Control: Users want transparency and control as to where/how their donations will be used

Mural Routes

Recommended Donation Details

Allow users to choose where their donations will go so they feel more comfortable to donate.

"The information is helpful for people who already want to become a member, but it is not very helpful for people who are not sure or not completely convinced about becoming a member"
User From Interview
Mural Routes

Areas of Opportunity - Membership Page

  • Reduce Text: The page does not reflect the playful nature of the rest of the website. Users want text to be prioritized and have the ability to read it quickly

  • Add Testimonials: This page is missing motivation to become a member

Mural Routes

Recommended Membership Page

More images and color has been added to the page so the theming is consistent with the other updated pages

Mural Routes

Member Testimonials

Adding testimonials helps encourage others to become a member and inspires trust

Conclusion

Client Feedback

We presented to the client and provided a report with the in depth findings. The presentation was well received by the client and included problems they knew about as well as some new pieces of information. What was most helpful were designs that illustrated how some of these findings could be implemented.

Key Takeaways

Mural Routes provides a great benefit to the mural art community - helping connect artists to organizations, maintaining murals, and providing resources. The research that led the design was centered around bringing awareness to all of the great benefits Mural Routes offers.

Next Steps

  • Add more pictures that highlight murals and the Mural Routes community

  • Add more context about Murali: Mural Art Learning Institute

  • Reduce text

  • Add consistent theming and messaging throughout the website

  • Make designs responsive