User Research - Critical insights
From the perspective of the office staff, customers calling the office instead of using the website. Mostly, they wanted to get fewer calls so they could focus on expanding the business. But my user research revealed a deeper problem. The confusing presentation, especially of the costs, was causing potential customers to lose trust in the organization and drop out completely. To build trust, my solution proposed a complete description of the costs and, secondly, with the user only having to divulge their zip code.
Like many websites, Springback’s organization, menus, and content reflected the employees’ perspective and didn’t make much sense to the customer. The revision creates a structure that matches the perspective of a person with mattresses to recycle, who thinks, “I don’t want to have to puzzle out where my house fits on your map.” That’s why the form asks only 1. What’s your zip code? And 2. How many mattress? Many customers call in and ask if a box spring counts as mattress, so even though Springback doesn't really need to know any more than the total number, we ask “How many box springs?” just to save the user that moment of confusion. It’s a simple example of effective Information Architecture.
Strategy - Redefining the Problem
The office at Springback was overwhelmed by phone calls “asking the same questions that are already answered on the website,” they reported with exasperation. They didn’t know to ask for a dialog box that asked for a zip code, nor did I know to suggest it until I’d completed more User Research and actually gotten into the Wireframes. At that point, the solution of making wording and graphics more clear just didn’t work. The failure of the first strategy led to a more permanent solution of the zip code dialog.
Prototyping with Real Data
My ah ha moment was “It could all be solved by zip codes.” I’d spend hours trying to fix the website by improving the wording and graphics when the idea of zip codes popped into my head. As a non-profit, Springback didn’t have development resources so I needed to find a solution within their current tools: Wix and Jotforms. I downloaded a database of Colorado zip codes into a spreadsheet, then imported them into Google maps to visualize their location, which allowed me to categorize each into Springback’s zones and then create conditional logic in Jotforms, and embed it into their Wix site.