The Providence Zen Center

The Providence Zen Center (PZC) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that focuses on promoting well-being through Zen practice. My job is to create and implement a new design and content strategy for their website.

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The Challenge

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• Improve the accessibility of the website for newcomers & familiar faces of the community, especially seniors.


Learn by observing current users, potential users, and people who have never even heard of the PZC to identify any pain points.

• Create wireframes to conduct usability tests to see where users struggle and feel they need more.

• Create detailed high-fidelity designs of the future website.


Maintain the website in WordPress.

USER NEEDS vs. BUSINESS NEEDS

"HOW MIGHT WE"s

Addressing User Needs

How might we create more accessible content for new visitors? How might we make the website easier to navigate for all?

Addressing Business Needs

How might we establish a more modern brand look and feel? How might we increase profit for the organization’s facilities? How might we increase donations?

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Research & Interviews

I conducted stakeholder and user interviews, then created archetypes based on what was learned from the research.

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Stakeholder Interviews

Stakeholder interviews revealed what the main concerns of the organization were.

The main takeaways from these interviews and survey were:

Modernization

The new site needs to be more modern. That meant faster loading times on the site and creating updated designs. (I sped up the loading time by an impressive 15 seconds.)

Ease of Use

The new site needs to be easy to use for everyone – from the Board of Directors, the director, current users, future users, while also not forgetting organizations the PZC wants to partner with.

Accessibility

The site needs to be easier to navigate. The menus are too complex and prevent users from finding the desired information.

User Interviews

I interviewed 15 people in total. I utilized a flexible script and impromptu and scheduled (Zoom) interviews.

Colin

Colin the College Student is new to everything Zen. He is discovering a passion for Zen, but does not have transportation or a deep understanding of everything yet. He's busy but is trying to go to the Zen Center regularly.

Three main themes emerged from user interviews that showed the users’ priorities.

Authenticity

Users want to feel like the site is really simple, and not look/feel too corporate or cluttered. It should feel authentic, conveying tranquility and peace.

Trust

Users need to feel like they can trust the PZC, which could be done by providing more information.

Accessibility

The new site needs to use language that explains and presents information in a way that makes it feel more accessible to everyone and easy to use.

New Information Architecture

The results of a content inventory/audit as well as an SEO audit showed there was a lot of work to be done.

Conducted a Content Inventory & Audit to Determine New Information Architecture.

The organization’s SEO was severely diluted due to having many low-utilization and outdated pages and by having 958 event pages. There were 30 core pages in total.

This is a high level overview of the FigJam board that was used to determine the information architecture of the new Providence Zen Center site. The blue square represents the home page, the orange squares represent the menu items, the purple squares are the submenu items, the green squares are the headers on each page, and pink squares represent the content.

Initial Information Architecture: This image shows the first iteration of the new information architecture in a FigJam board. 

Remove Unnecessary Pages

There were many pages that are not needed/being used on the site.

Address Business Needs

The business needs (including increasing revenue, receiving more donations, etc.) needed to be addressed in the new information architecture.

Identify Gaps

The content audit revealed that the site lacks guidance for visitors and descriptions of the basics of meditation. User interviews emphasized the importance of addressing these gaps.

FinalInformationArchitecture

The final information architecture that I decided upon was a culmination of the results from the user interviews and usability testing.

Wireframes & Usability Tests

Wireframes

I created wireframes and ran usability tests to learn some valuable insights.

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I first sketched my designs by hand, and then moved into Figma, utilizing the information architecture that was initially developed for the menu and sitemap.

While creating these wireframes, I focused on...

Accessibility

The main issues that I worried about were: How would users from older generations be able to use the site? How would someone landing on the site for the first time understand Zen?

User Needs

I kept the user needs and the user archetypes at the forefront of my mind at all times – who was I designing for? What would they need to know? What don’t they know already?

Business Goals

The purpose of the site is to not only bring new people to the Providence Zen Center, but to help the Providence Zen Center to be able to afford various repairs, such as for the roof.

Usability Tests

I interviewed users who were familiar with the site, as well as users who had never seen or heard of the the PZC before with a test script that I developed.

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Key Takeaways:

Additional Information Needed

Participants felt that there needed to be more clarity in labels and copy, and that they still wanted more information about the PZC and meditation.

Navigation Optimization

The wireframes were still somewhat difficult for users to navigate – some users ended up getting stuck in loops and could not complete certain tasks.

Improved Usefulness

Overall, users found the content and information presented were more understandable and easier to use than the current site.

An Unexpected Twist

I presented my new branding concepts and wireframes to the stakeholder.
He had different ideas.

I had to lean on my Agile skills.

I received unexpected feedback from the stakeholder after presenting my wireframes and research. I took that information, pivoted, and iterated to provide the best user experience for everyone.

Color-Scheme

Embracing The Suck

To quote the stakeholder directly, “I don’t like blue.” So, I found accessible colors that still reflected the brand and tone.

New Competitive Analysis

I conducted a more extensive competitive analysis to provide a compelling and differentiating experience in the market.

New Business Strategy

While working with a different nonprofit, I discovered that there were other ways that people could donate to the PZC that were not previously considered. I presented it as a new business strategy.

Final User Interface Designs

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Idea Synthesis – Like An Everything Bagel!

I made sure that my final UI designs integrated everything I had learned from the user interviews, usability tests, and stakeholder feedback.

The competitive analysis provided inspiration for components that I utilized in my own designs.

My new UI factored in the final information architecture, as well as my finalized copy developed after the usability tests. I also made the UI accessible, especially for older generations, so the buttons are extra large.

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Next Steps

The site is going to be developed in Wordpress starting from scratch. It will be optimized to be as fast and lightweight as possible, with as few plugins as possible. I will be building the frontend using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Like what you've seen? Then please reach out to let me know!

Selected Works

The Providence Zen CenterContent Strategy, Information Architecture, UX Research, UX Design, UX Writing

FanFindrContent Strategy, UX Design, Information Architecture, UX Writing

ChurchSpaceContent Strategy, Business Strategy, UX Research, UX Design

Global Justice Ecology ProjectContent Strategy, Information Architecture, UX Research, UX Design

Contact

© Serena Entezary 2023
UX Researcher & Designer

"Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray."

– Molana Rumi