For my final exam on the multimediadesigner education, I worked together with the company Enghave Wellness. The purpose for this, was to create a big change in the company's online presence. They had a website already, which was around 20 years old.
I started out by talking together with the company about what they had in mind for their goals and to find out where they were succesful already and what could use a boost. The primary focus was to update the website and to collect all of their things in one place, as their setup was divided with multiple websites for each thing they worked with. The website would need to become easier for the users to use, while also becoming more optimized for search engines. We spoke together to determine the primary target audience and the secondary audience, as well as any USPs the company had.
With these things in mind, it was time to move the research on to the audience themselves. The spectrum was quite wide, as the primary requirement was for them to be pet owners, primarily dog and cat owners. I prepared multiple question sheets, for the various options and found people in the target audience. They were able to give insight into a lot of things and I consider it quite fortunate that their experiences varied greatly. Some of them were very new to things such as dog training, while others had many years of experience. Some of the most insightful questions were to find out what those new people wished they knew before starting, while also asking the experienced ones what they'd experienced many times. Here I also learned about some competitors the company could have.
Now that I had insight from both the company and from the target audience, I decided to look into existing websites for competitors, to determine who was more succesful than others and to find out why that was the case. This was with thoughts on what kind of design/content setups worked best and to find out how to best perform SEO of the website. With all that research done, it was time to get to work.
Usually in previous projects, my groups and I used basic wireframes for testing layout setups with audience members. I skipped the wireframe aspect and went straight to minor designs, as previous tests showed that more often than not, the interviewed people struggled to really visualise the end result. For them it was mostly just boxes on paper and I wanted to focus more on getting things correctly as early as possible, to minimise the amount of changes that would be required later on. Once these were done and tested with the audience, I showed the results to the company and we agreed on what to go forward with.
Throughout the project, I went to Enghave Wellness to take photos. As this was during the semi-early days of COVID-19, it was not possible to take pictures of everything I wanted to for this project, but the majority of photos were taken by me, while the rest were taken by Enghave Wellness previously. The photography sessions happened over various days.
Creating the frontend
I started coding up the website in basic HTML and CSS, so that I could have the finished result ready for testing as early as possible. This was because the whole thing would be programmed from scratch, but I wanted to wait with the heavy backend aspects, until I had cleared the frontend entirely. I went on to test the result with the users, to find what went well and what they would struggle with. For this, I used the "thinking aloud" type of test, where I simply sat next to the users, with a list of tasks for them to do and also allowing them to freely roam the site. It went just about as I expected, that mostly they didn't have difficulties with the tasks, but there were a few things that gave trouble for few users. I asked them to share their general thoughts about the experience of the website, the impressions they had and how they would like it changed, for things such as what they struggled with. After implementing these changes, it was time to start creating the backend system.
Creating the backend
The system was created using the Laravel framework for PHP. I started out by creating a simple backend dashboard, that had panels with headlines and then quick-links inside for accessing the various options. Here I created the various CMS pages and tested out the functionality of them, to be sure that everything worked as intended. Once they were created, I went into a testing session with the company, where I once again used the "thinking aloud" test. This was first to test out how they experienced the frontend of the website themselves and if they had any inputs to this. Once they were through with the frontend, came the more interesting test. They received access to the backend system, with no knowledge of how it worked beforehand and without any guidance during the test. This was to see how quickly they would learn the CMS on their own and if there were anything that could use changes. I personally found it interesting, as it was the first time I created a bigger CMS for others to use, so I had very little experience to go by, other than my own experiences with systems I've used. It took a little time for them to adapt to the system, but once they got the hang of it there were no major issues. There were minor adjustments to make, which I implemented later on. I also received a lot of feedback about how excited they were, as their old system didn't always work as they expected and would often require waiting a while before updates would appear. After the entire testing session, I polished up the last few things in the backend system.