I took on the roles of researcher and project manager for this project. I conducted user interviews, usability testing, competitive analysis and feature prioritization. I also coordinated with our point of contact at Green Canopy and insured that they were kept in the loop for what we were doing.
Redesign the Green Canopy website by combining their two websites, greencanopy.com and greencaonpyhomes.com into a single cohesive website, as well as implement a showcase for Green Canopy’s available and in-progress homes.
Proto-Personas, Competitive Analysis, User Interviews, Feature Prioritization
Owen Camber - Researcher, Project Manager
Whitney McDaniel - Interaction Designer
Lind Kim - Content Strategist, Imformation Architech
What is Green Canopy?
Green Canopy is a construction company that builds environmentally friendly and sustainable homes in the Seattle and Portland area. They build ‘Net Zero Homes’, homes that produce enough energy to power themselves by reducing heat loss and solar panels. Green Canopy’s mission is to make these types of homes more affordable so that they are not restricted to the wealthy.
Currently, the navigation within Green Canopy’s website is making users feeling lost and confused, leaving them unable to find the information that they want about sustainable homes.
We believe that by organizing Green Canopy’s website, users will be able to find the information they are looking for easily and without hesitation.
I conducted several user interviews with potential users, people who were interested in purchasing a home, specifically those looking to buy an environmentally friendly home. I focused on two areas during these interviews: their knowledge of environmentally friendly homes and what information was most valuable when looking for a home. This allowed me to get a better understanding of the baseline of knowledge concerning these homes and if users had any concerns about them, and what kind of information to prominently display in the home showcase.
Using information gathered from these interviews, and information provided by Green Canopy, I constructed a primary proto-persona for the homebuyer, Samantha Smith. This was then used to guide development of the wireframes and information architecture.
I also created a secondary proto-persona for the investor, Kathrin Bates. This person was based off of information given to use by Green Canopy. Despite the fact that we were focusing mainly on the homebuyer for this project, I felt that it would be useful to have a persona for the investors, as this would at least help with the information architecture of those areas of the website for the investor.
I also conducted a competitive analysis, looking at five of Green Canopy’s competitors in the Seattle and Portland areas. Doing this allowed me to identify any commonalities between the websites and industry standards that should be included in the Green Canopy website. It also allowed me to look at these sites through the eyes of the persona, identifying features that would work well for them and those that didn’t, so that we could include or improve upon those features in the redesign of the website.
Using the information I gathered from user interviews and the competitive analysis I compiled a list of potential features. Then I prioritized them based on the interviews and the persona. To do this I used a graph comparing the impact of a feature to how much the user expected to find the feature on the website.
I found that information about Net Zero Homes was very important, as no user I spoke to had the correct or even the same definition of what they thought Net Zero Homes were. Also due to the low knowledge of what was involved in make a home environmentally friendly and concerns expressed by users, it was very important to include some educational material on the website about these subjects.
If I could continue this project I would like to conduct user interviews with investors in order to flush out the investor persona. I would also like to conduct usability testing with the educational information, to see if it addresses user concerns.
One of the biggest lessons I took away from this project was the importance of finding interviewees quickly and early, not doing this ended up causing a delay and a very unpleasant all-nighter for me. I also learned to identify the best method of communicating with the client, and to keep pushing if I don’t get a response.