Data & Society Research Institute is seeking to engage a dynamic and experienced UX professional to support the Communications team in 1) auditing and analyzing user flows; and 2) planning initial designs toward the summer optimization and upgrade (but not redesign) of our website.
About Data & Society
Data & Society focuses on the social and cultural issues arising from data centric technological development. Our field is comprised of researchers, journalists, policymakers, technologists, industry leaders and workers, funders, advocates, and civil society actors. We are committed to helping this field engage substantively, and with an evidence base, in debates over implications arising from the increasing reliance on data at scale to automated decision-making across a range of sectors.
The work and well-being of Data & Society is strengthened by the diversity of our network and our differences in background, culture, experience, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, and much more. We welcome applications from people of color, women, the LGBTQIA community, and persons with disabilities.
About the Project
Data & Society Research Institute is a future-forward nonprofit think tank that generates a steady stream of original research on the cutting edge of data-centric tech, focusing especially on how these innovations are rapidly altering our society and culture. We are growing after three years of existence and need to bring our shoestring website up to date with evolving UX and brand standards.
As a first step, we are looking for support with 1) evaluating and auditing user experience flows, 2) defining immediately actionable suggestions for optimization, and 3) imagining a new site architecture. For us, the next step after this consultancy would be a redesign process.
Because that redesign will not be immediate, the consultant’s plan must respond to the technical capabilities and restraints with both our satellite developers, and the full-time team who will maintain the upgraded site. Specifically, the contractor will be working directly with the website manager and Director of Communications to review these constraints and propose solutions that are in line with our budget and capacity.
The goal is to have a succinct surface layer that tells the story in a simple way, and options for the user to dive deeper. The content we create is deeply exciting, and lacks only an elegant digital framing with obvious calls to action, and a more intuitive hierarchy of information. We also need a website that elevates our researchers and fellows as obvious sources for expert consultation, press appearances, and speaking engagements.
On the most basic level, we need website visitors to be able to access inviting gateways to concise information about a diverse array of publications, events, and research initiatives. Because we have multiple audiences, optimizing content can require compromises. We need usability insights in order to select which content receives “pride of place.”
We have already defined and prepared:
- Select UI sketches of output/publications/press and “people” pages, created by an in-house team
- Our key personae and their motivational drivers (though additional refinement is possible, based on consultant’s insights)
- Current brand standards and a desired hierarchy of information for our key public offerings and research projects, including potential calls to action
- An exhaustive plaintext site map of our content
- A list of relevant peer/competitor sites that have similar audiences or aspirational aesthetics
Scope of Work
The project is staged in the following phases:
- Call or meeting with Director of Communications and Design Lead (website manager) to review user needs, existing information, and identify opportunities to optimize and streamline presentation and content. In advance of the meeting, consultant will review our content requirements, site map, brand standards, technical constraints, and peer/competitor sites in order to bring a clear strategy to the table. This meeting is also a moment to review technical capabilities and constraints with the one-person team that will be maintaining the optimized site.
Deliverable: Notes from call with delineated next steps that address a recommended approach that takes into account our content requirements, site map, brand standards, technical constraints, and peer/competitor sites—including a realistic “wish list” for a revised navigational and taxonomy structure that privileges a strong homepage.
- Collect and analyze user flows, receiving insights on audience from Communications Assistant’s ongoing stakeholder interviews. Consultant will review and refine our key user archetypes and their motivational drivers, defining success for each persona.
Deliverable: Edits to our user archetypes and provide consultation on any potential misconceptions about who uses our website, and how.
- Perform usability testing, defining immediately actionable suggestions for optimization. Advise on incorporating analytics into design decisions.
Deliverable: Deck that showcases options for an immediate optimized site architecture; timeline of next steps; wish list for redesign priorities.
- Ability to create meaningful analytics benchmarks for quantitative analysis
- Experience with user testing: designing tests, coordinating, moderating, and interpreting results.
- Portfolio of developed products, including mobile, standalone, case studies and web applications.
- Experience creating annotated wireframes
- Experience with xml and schema.org parameters
- Strong previous client references
- Library science a plus
- Previous work with academic, research institutions, and/or publications a plus.
$8,000, remitted in three stages:
- $2,000 upon receipt of the consultation deliverable;
- $3,000 upon receipt of the collection and analysis deliverable;
- $3,000 upon receipt of the deck that integrates usability testing findings into a revised UX upgrade plan.
Anticipated Timeline: 5-week engagement beginning early July 2017