Ouelessebougou

(Wuh-less-a-boo-goo) Helping the people of Mali become self sufficient.

The Challenge

The Ouelessebougou Alliance came to us looking for a way to increase followers of millennials so that they could have more resources to help the people of Mali for many years to come. With their current state they were doing well enough, but knew that they needed to make some changes to be sustained in the future. Redesigning their website was one of the crucial steps they wanted to focus on and that's why they came to us. They wanted to redesign because they wanted to create a deeper connection with people in younger age groups, and they knew that their website needed some changes to make this happen.

Planning

After hearing about their story and the current state of affairs, we started digging into potential resources and interviewing potential users of the website. We figured out what their current goals and constraints are and what they expected from us. Then we started to plan out how we could begin. We analyzed the current website and started getting ready for research.

Home Screen of old website design

The landing page of website before redesign

One of the persona profiles that we created.

A Persona that we created based on research

Research

Because a good design needs to be based on good information we needed to get out and talk with people and look for inspiration from similar organizations. After conducting interviews with multiple potential users we discovered that no one we talked with had ever heard of the Ouelessebougou Alliance before. We created some persona profiles so that we could understand and share our findings with the Alliance. We wanted to understand how these people thought and functioned and what would motivate them and we found out some pretty important things.

We also created Design Principles according to the research we had done that would help guide our work moving forward. These principles embody the wants and needs that the people we talked with had and because of that we knew they would help us focus.

One of the persona profiles that we created.

In order to better understand what we were working with we compiled all the requirements and constraints together and then analyzed them. Much of the content, colors and branding had to remain the same, and the experience needed to be simplified. Most importantly, the Alliance wanted to increase the amount of young people making regular donations.

The functional requirements of the project written on sticky notes.

In order to do this we would focus on a few items.
• Make the website layout responsive and use current best practices for web design.
• The donation process needed to be simplified and opened up to more digital payment options.
• The ability to donate whatever someone is able and to know that it's making a difference no matter how small.

The constraints of the project written on sticky notes.

We also wrote down which content on the site needed to remain and what kind of new content would help to enhance the experience in the future. These discoveries were made through our own analysis of the current website as well as the interviews conducted with others. Then we listed the difference experiences and qualities that people could have while visiting the site. The experiences listed would be ones that could enhance the time spent on the Alliance's website.

One of the persona profiles that we created.
One of the persona profiles that we created.

Next we went through different scenarios that people visiting the site would want to take and organized them into groups. By having all of this information available in a visual format it was easier to organize, analyze and refer back to as the project continued moving forward.

A Scenario Map of possible routes and options people would take when visiting the site.

At the end of the research phase we began sketching out possible designs and layouts to match the research that was done. We kept it simple by using a whiteboard and markers so that we could be loose and open with the process.

One of the persona profiles that we created.
One of the persona profiles that we created.
One of the persona profiles that we created.

Design

At the end of the project we split up to finish a few crucial tasks. We needed to have a working prototype of the new website design and a document that consolidated all of our research and ideas. With that document the Alliance could thoughtfully take the project in the way they felt was best.

I volunteered to work on the prototype because that was the part of the project that I was most excited about at the time. It started with wireframes of the design, no color and no images just to get the basic layout and structure. We started with the mobile website design since they wanted to focus on making it more accessible to the millennial generation primarily. After that was solidified we knew that it would be easy to scale up.

We wanted to make the home screen simple and personalized so that each person could feel like it was just for them when they visited the site. To do this we decided to ask them 2 questions that would help gauge their interest in coming to the website. The menu would be available in the navbar if they wanted to navigate to any other part of the website instead. We also made the donate button the primary action that would be visible at the top of every page in the navbar.

A redesigned home screen for mobile.

After they answered the questions on the homepage they would be able to read about a real person in Mali who could use their help. They would be able to understand exactly what their donation was doing to help, even if it was just a few dollars. We always kept the goal in mind of keeping each page focused on the most relevant information and then giving options for people to explore and learn more if they wanted to.

A redesigned home screen for mobile.

After adding color and images to the prototype we began to test with people in the target audience. The biggest change that we discovered was for the homepage. People wanted the homepage to have more information about the organization and what it does so that they could make a more informed decision. We had wanted to keep it simple and focused on how they could help because we thought it would be a more focused and enjoyable experience. By combining our original idea with additional information about Ouelessebougou it had become a much better experience, and it was still very simple and easy to follow.

What's Next?

I was very happy with the way that the project went and the final products that we were able to create. Whether they are used or not is up to the Alliance, but we have presented our information and explained our reasoning behind it. We learned along the way how to create a better experience and how to work with a company that had a real need and it was a great experience!

Check out the high-fidelity prototype yourself to the right