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COVID Facts: A friendly and useful website with up-to-date, trusted information on all things COVID-19. 

Student Work from CUNY TechWorks UX Design Program

Timeline: 3 Day Challenge, April 27, 2020 - April 29, 2020

Role: UX Research, UX/UI Design, Visual Design

Prototype

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On a team with four other UX design students, I participated in an end-to-end design process that resulted in COVID FACTS—a website concept with up-to-date information on all things COVID-19.

PROMPT

Create an infographic with hand-washing guidelines for COVID-19 prevention. 

At first we asked: How might we communicate to people how to wash their hands to prevent the spread of COVID-19?

But in our process, we soon discovered that user needs called for something other than the infographic that was asked for. 

RESEARCH AND INSIGHTS

User surveys told us the most popular way to find prevention information is online, through social media and online news publications.

User Survey Results

73% of those surveyed use social media and 68% use online news publications.

Users felt they were already well-informed about proper hand-washing techniques. 

  • 87.3% of participants informed us that they use the proper hand-washing techniques.

  • 99.2% of participants use hand-washing as a technique to prevent the spread of Covid 19.

  • All interview participants told us that they use the proper hand-washing techniques and were able to confirm when they described the techniques to us. 

  • All of interview participants practice more than 1 technique to keep safe and to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Interview Quotes

But finding new information on prevention was not as easy.

  • Less than 40% of survey participants found information on the prevention of Covid 19 to be very clear.

  • Less than 40% of survey participants responded that finding trustworthy information about the spread of Covid 19 was very easy.

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Affinity map of the interview results.

PERSONAS

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Sarah

Civil Engineer
(Essential Worker)

Sarah wants accurate and concise information that she can trust. Her main motivation is to protect herself and her family.

Smiling Man

Richard

Accountant for a Non-Profit (Working Remotely)

Richard would like to be aware of the trends in order to reopen the economy, get back to work and return to normal life. He does not trust the media so as a result he verifies all that he consumes.

Sarah User Journey

User Journey for Sarah

Mapping out Sarah’s journey helped us identify opportunities. We discovered the need to break down credible information to a format that is clear, concise, and easy to share. 

WHAT WE LEARNED SO FAR...

The data gathered informed us that people already know the proper hand washing techniques and are actively practicing it. The problem found with our participants is that they had difficulties with finding up-to-date and trustworthy COVID-19 news. In addition, they mostly relied on social media and online publications for news. 

We also heard from people about their feelings in general - they were feeling uncertainty, fear of the unknown, and several interviewees talked about frustration with the media and conflicting advice about prevention.

RE-DEFINING THE PROBLEM

How might we design a mobile-friendly solution that consolidates clear and trustworthy information in order to help people get easily informed about COVID-19?

We agreed that prevention was still important, but users were already informed about hand-washing, and wanted more information about other techniques. We decided that we would expand on the original request, and focus on a solution that would help people get the latest news from trusted sources. A mobile first design would be important for users on the go.

LOW FIDELITY

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Low fidelity wireframes

CREATIVE DIRECTION

For creative direction, I explored how we could use the initial idea of an infographic in a digital format that would fit user needs. I then created a palette of uplifting, calming colors. Finally, I designed the graphic elements and type scale.

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Exploring examples of other digital infographics for inspiration

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Given the short timeframe, I used Open Peeps, a great resource, as a starting point for the illustrations.

I then added my own illustrative elements to customize the graphics for our needs.

SOLUTION

We began with a mobile-first responsive web design approach, as our users stated they needed information on the go and on their mobile devices. We made "News" the first page because in our usability testing we found that several users wanted the latest news to be the first thing they could access. We also made sure to reference expert sources wherever we were giving COVID-19 prevention information.

REFLECTIONS AND NEXT STEPS 💭 

When reflecting on our process, we realized that our biases may have gotten in the way of collecting potentially important data.

We used connections from our personal networks for survey participants and interviewees. We did not ask for demographic information about race, gender, or income. Given that COVID-19 has been shown to disproportionately affect some communities over others, the omission of key demographic information from our surveys was a missed opportunity.

To understand a diverse set of users and their pain points, our next steps would be to gather more data and test it against what we have already discovered. Specifically, usability testing of the high fidelity prototype would be important. We feel this is a rapidly evolving time we are living in, and what people need may shift as rapidly. It would be important to do more testing and several iterations to address those needs in earnest.

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