ERIC CARLE MUSEUM OF PICTURE BOOK ART
Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art (ECM) is a non-profit organization in Amherst, MA, and their mission is to inspire a love of art and reading through picture books. My team and I were tasked with refreshing their website with the needs of their users in mind while delivering an experience as rich as the physical museum itself.
Our team met virtually with 9 stakeholders and SMEs who work at the ECM to find what they envision for the product. Some of our objectives were to:
Identify the business goals and needs
Define the wants, needs, and pain points of the site’s users
Determine the actual website user base
Gain a better understanding of the goals and expectations of the donors
Understand our competitors' services and techniques
Some of our main takeaways were:
Current site is too busy and visually disorganized
Regular museum visitors don't use the site often and they rely on social media for marketing
Museum staff aren't very technical so they need a website that they can easily update and curate
Want a site that targets their main audience: scholars & young people
BUT...we soon found out that we were assigned a unique group of users: the donors. They weren't the typical museum-goers, but very important to ECM. So we needed to refocus and identify the pain points and opportunities for us to improve their donation experience. With this new information, we decided to conduct further research with a focus on the donors.
We were given 11 users to interview, which included both donors and non-donors. It was important to evaluate the wants and the needs of the donors, but we wanted to know how we can appeal to non-donors as well. Seven of our users were donors, and they were:
Background in Education
Married with Children
Here are the main takeaways from the interviews:
Motivation for donations
Most of the donors donated because they believed in the museum's mission and wanted to support the museum's programs.
However, we realized that we were not identifying a true need for donors. Because of their love for the ECM, they were not able to tell us what they really needed. So we had to dig deeper to figure out what they really needed.
So we went back to our data and identified new insights:
The current process doesn’t feel personal
Donors want to see what their money is supporting
Donors want their support to be acknowledged
With this realization, we went back into research to learn more about the donation process, to better understand how it works. During this process, we connected with Rebecca, the Director of Development at ECM. We found that:
I redid the competitive analysis with a focus on their donation processes and the major takeaways are that they:
Go into depth about how donations affect their organization
Let donors choose how to direct their donations
From further research, we found that “donors want to feel their impact and know that they’re making a difference.” This further strengthened the insights and conclusions that we came to from our reassessment of user interviews.
DEFINING THE PROBLEM
With our new insights from interviews, competitive analysis, and domain research, we created a persona, Carol, and her journey as a donor. We also revised problem statement and design principles which better addressed the donor’s needs.
Our persona, Carol
Revised problem statement:
The enthusiastic museum supporter wants to feel acknowledged and involved with their donations to see how their money helps with the museum’s growth because they don’t feel recognized or connected to the impact they have.
These revised design principles helped us guide through our design process to keep our design solutions true to our research and problem statement:
With our defined problem and keeping our persona in mind, we started ideate solutions. We wanted to create concepts that addressed the users' needs but at the same time, aligned with the business goals as well.
My team and I came up with these five concepts:
I created a crowdfunding page to connect donors and garner support for specific parts of the museum.
Shows progress of how much has been funded
Provides detail of why the funding is needed
Allows users to make comments
Recognizes the supporters (or anonymous) that have funded the program
I created a personal portal for donors to keep track of their donations and be engaged in the donation process.
Gives donors control of their donation process as they want to be engaged
Lets them have control over their support & be inspired to donate more
A visually engaging homepage that highlights the importance of donors for the prosperity of the museum.
Expresses to the community the importance of their donations
Bold CTA for Support
Donor recognition throughout the site
An easy streamlined donation process that makes users feel appreciated as if having a conversation.
Thanks the donors for all they do by using photos and videos to express the museum’s gratitude towards them throughout the donation process
A process to help current and potential donors customize their donation experience.
Shows transparency on where their donations go, allowing the donors to control how they support the museum.
With these concepts, we conducted remote concept testing with eight users familiar with the website & project, six being the donors. We wanted to better understand their overall feelings and if our ideas could solve a problem for them. Did these concepts solve a problem for them? Is there a new problem that’s highlighted by this experience? We also wanted to evaluate whether users want a more personal or community-driven experience on what the potential donors like to see and encourage them to start donating.
Here are the main takeaways:
The importance of donations needs to be visible on the homepage
Expressing appreciation immediately made the experience more inviting
Users would need more purpose to create an account for a personal portal
Users liked knowing there were other options beyond monetary donations
Users didn’t like having to choose specific programs to donate to
Users liked the ability to tailor donations
From the feedback we received, we decided to take the elements from Kickstart and Personal concepts and roll into the donation process. From the Visual concept, we received feedback that donor appreciation should be highlighted more in a sincere way. We decided to combine Appreciation and Customize concepts into a streamlined donation process
REFINEMENTS AND TESTING
From the feedback we received from concept testing, we created an interactive prototype. For our final usability testing, we presented these to a mix of prior users and two new users who were unfamiliar with the project, to get a fresh perspective as well.
Why Your Support Matters
Expand the “in honor/memory of” notification process
Users liked the "in honor/memory of" for their donations and wanted more options for this step (i.e. e-cards, customized messages with images)
Add an explanation of restricted donations
Although the Kickstart concept originally failed, there was resonance with users interested in supporting more specific fundraisers
Flesh out the available support options
Users liked the different support options available on the support page but we did not have time to flesh this out
Re-explore developing a Donor portal
With usability testing, several users brought up the desire to save or access information in regards to their donations
I had a lot of fun working on the EMC project. It was definitely a learning experience as it was my first in-person project working with other UX designers. There were stressful moments, but I learned to work through it with my teammates and really appreciated having people work for the same goal. It was also a first time conducting remote interviews with user groups which consisted of mostly senior citizens, so I learned to find the best possible way to conduct the interviews with the limited resources I had. Through feedback from my teammates, I learned to ask better follow-up questions to figure out the reasons behind their behaviors. This project helped me to really dig deeper into the user needs, learn the importance of UX research, and helped me grow as a UX designer. And of course, getting back on track quickly after failing.
Icon credits to flaticon.com