Professional Data Analysts is a full-service program evaluation firm dedicated to helping health initiatives succeed with effective data-centric solutions. PDA’s old site was designed in 2007—they needed a responsive site that represented the look of their new logo and branding.
Based on feedback from PDA, I tailored a plan that didn’t delve too deep into user research but was still founded on a user-centered design. Over a six-month process, we developed a content strategy that met the company’s objectives and focused on their users’ needs. We came up with a colorful, approachable site designed to fit PDA's updated brand identity—and that looks good on any size device.
"Carrie spent ample time getting to know us and our needs before jumping in. She was responsive to our needs and expectations, but also able to clearly communicate when she didn't agree with our ideas based on her experience as a web designer. Carrie also has a great eye on design. This was such a wonderful collaboration. We’re all so, so, so happy with the finished website—she did a fantastic job."
—Harlan Luxenberg, CEO
“It was a pleasure working with Carrie to redesign our company website. She guided me through every step of the process, making it fun and easy. Carrie taught me so much about SEO, writing for the web, elements of a strong website, and more. She created a visually appealing, responsive website that we can be proud of. I hope to work with Carrie again on future design projects!”
—Kelly Laurel, Operations Manager
We wanted PDA’s authenticity and approachability to shine on their new site, so I encouraged them to use real photos of their teams in action instead of stock photos. I provided direction and mood boards for their photographer to ensure we ended up with photos for the site that were tasteful and usable. I adhered to the principles of accessible design across the entire site and went with a duotone design on hero images so headings and subheads are legible.
To help prospective clients feel confident in PDA’s work, we designed the consulting service area pages to automatically pull in related staff and work highlights tagged under those service areas. The work highlights are also organized by service areas.
We incorporated both collapsible accordion boxes and flip cards to allow visitors who wanted more information learn more without leaving the page. These features enabled us to provide a lot of information without making the page feel too dense or text heavy. On mobile, the accordion boxes still function the same but the flip cards have all of the information.
As with all sites I build for clients, PDA can easily edit content and add or remove pages on their own. (Having worked much of my career for non-profits, sustainability is important to me. I make sure my clients aren’t dependent on me to maintain beautiful, usable sites.)
Activities + Deliverables
Have a website you need help with?
Peace Coffee is an amazing fair trade, organic coffee roaster based in Minneapolis. Since 2016 I've enjoyed working with them on various content strategy and user experience (ux) design activities to make improvements to their existing site and prepare for a new website in 2019.
By spring of 2018, we’d worked our way through the following ux and content strategy activities:
We learned last summer our web redesign timeline was dramatically shortened when the company decided to move from Salesforce to Netsuite in time for the 2018 holiday season. Our web team needed to design and build a new website on a new platform—Wordpress + Woo Commerce—in just a few months.
The homepage and a sample product page from Peace Coffee's old website
"Carrie kept our team productive and focused during our expedited timeline for the new site. She added huge expertise every step of the way. She is flexible and capable of playing many roles from project manager, content strategist, UX developer and designer, team cheerleader, basically whatever we needed from her she found a way to help us add value to our new website. The results speak for themselves and are a testament to her incredible work ethic and skills!"
—Melanee Meegan, Director of Marketing
Peace's website was built in 2011 on a now-obsolete platform that didn’t offer many of the eCommerce features that are considered standard these days. The design was dated and not as responsive as we would’ve liked.
Because we had to move quickly, I pared down the content strategy and ux design activities to the bare minimum. We swiftly worked our way through the following:
Sketches and wireframe samples - click to enlarge
The new website launched December 1st and is a drastic improvement over the previous site. While not enough time has passed to draw strong conclusions from Analytics, the new site is already outperforming the old site. Here are a few results from the first two months compared to the same period the previous year:
The homepage and a sample product page on Peace's new website - click to enlarge
Not only do I encourage you to peruse their website to check out the new and improved design but you should also order some of their coffee. It's the best!
Have a website you need help with?
Marcy Porus-Gottlieb is an Executive Coach based in Seattle. Last year she decided to update her website with a fresh design and new content to reflect the new direction of her coaching services.
Since launching the new site in October 2017, traffic has surged and visitors are more engaged—unique visitors and pageviews have nearly tripled. Furthermore, search traffic has doubled so Marcy’s site is ranking higher, thus increasing her reach with prospective clients.
"Carrie’s expertise and guidance in creating my new website were invaluable. The combination of her web and design expertise, her business savvy and her cheerful demeanor—made her an absolute delight to work with. I’m enjoying and benefiting from the increased traffic to my site, but take most pleasure in the positive comments I’m receiving, 'your site is not only beautiful but really expresses who you are and what you do.' Carrie has been a marvelous partner and I look forward to engaging her again in the future."
Marcy’s website was outdated—both design- and content-wise. It felt text heavy and lacked clear calls to action. While Marcy is an excellent writer, her writing wasn’t optimized for the web.
When we first met, Marcy was ready to dive straight into design—the fun stuff! I helped Marcy realize that to build a strong website and optimal user experience, we first needed to focus on user research to define and understand her target audience, perform multiple activities to ensure all written content satisfied their needs, and then get to design.
To cut down on project costs, I coached Marcy through some activities that she could do on her own. We created an online survey to get feedback from current clients. A competitive analysis of four websites offered design and content inspiration and guidance for the new site's information architecture. Marcy rewrote most copy that experience multiple rounds of edits and I edited her blog posts to optimize them for web consumption.
I refreshed Marcy’s logo and created a new style guide reflecting the logo’s new font and design. Once the website was ready to launch, I set Marcy up with a Mailchimp account, created templates to easily send emails and taught her how to use the platform. Lastly, I guided Marcy through setting up a Google Business page to improve her search ranking.
Activities + Deliverables
Interested in updating your own website?
Forterra is a Seattle-based non-profit organization working in urban and rural land conservation. They had a limited budget to use an external design agency to revamp their two-year-old website. They wanted to ensure they got the most bang for their buck so I helped them determine the scope and direction of the update by learning about their users and assessing the state of their existing digital content.
"Carrie helped us evaluate our website’s issues holistically and make data-driven changes after testing with actual users—something we'd never done before."
—Lucy Shirley, Digital Media Manager, Forterra
While just two years old, Forterra's website had its share of issues. They'd heard complaints from visitors and key stakeholders alike: users struggled to find what they were looking for and the website wasn't meeting internal needs either. Forterra knew the site's bounce rate was higher than average but they didn't know why. They had ideas on possible problem areas but were making a lot of assumptions grounded in personal opinion—not on actual user research.
I collaborated with Forterra's Digital Media Manager to develop a plan that fit their short timeline and limited budget. I worked to cut down the project costs by creating templates and coaching her through some of the activities to do on her own. Through user research across multiple social channels and the website, we identified key audience insights. Through qualitative and quantitative content audits, we identified the "low-hanging fruit"—changes to improve the user experience that could be done in-house to save Forterra money. We conducted a stakeholder workshop that provided useful user insights from different departments and increased buy-in for the redesign. We performed usability testing and card sorting with users to find critical pain points. Once we conducted the following activities, I delivered Forterra with a report with recommendations to guide their web updates with the designers.
Activities + Deliverables
Launched in 2016, DFS Lab is a fintech startup accelerator funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. I created a short video as their first effective communications tool that is used both online and in presentations their staff give across the world.
"Carrie's video is a massive hit. I have showed it to so many people in lieu of a Power Point or hand-waving description of what we do—people just get it instantly and are really engaged. She really created an asset for us."
—Jake Kendall, Director, Digital Financial Services Innovation Lab
As a rather new organization, DFS Lab had just a one page website to explain their unique model. They needed an effective tool that could attract prospective startups from around the world to their accelerator as well as investors to fund their portfolio companies.
I attended DFS Lab's first design sprint for FinTech startups in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania to shoot footage of the sprint and record interviews with DFS Lab staff and sprint participants. The final video captured both the expertise of DFS Lab as a startup accelerator and the benefits to DFS Lab startup participants and investors. Post-production work and two rounds of edits were completed in just a few weeks and DFS Lab was able to post the below video to YouTube within four weeks of the sprint.
Peace Coffee is an established coffee roaster with three cafes in Minneapolis. In an increasingly more competitive market, they needed to improve their online content to keep current customers and attract new ones. I created a content strategy plan to help them improve user experience regardless of location, platform or screen.
"Carrie's content strategy work for Peace Coffee increased online sales, improved SEO rankings and strengthened overall content and messaging. She has incredible insight and knowledge and is an excellent communicator, writer and strategist."
—Mel Meegan, Director of Marketing, Peace Coffee
Peace Coffee's website was three years old and offered a responsive design and a relatively straight-forward, hassle-free shopping experience but they knew it could improved. Their small marketing team invested little energy into the site and wanted a plan to help them maintain and update the website regularly. They were also seeking low-cost, quick fixes to increase online sales.
Over seven weeks, I created a content strategy plan for Peace Coffee that was informed by a web analytics and search engine optimization review, a competitive analysis of three coffee brands and one out-of-industry website review, a content audit of 29 web pages and template pages, user persona and journey mapping of three different user segments, and a sample editorial cycle. To assist Peace Coffee with implementation, the plan concluded with a month-by-month suggested roadmap.