Room Magazine Website Redesign

UX Case Study

Room is Canada’s oldest feminist literary journal, and has published fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, art, interviews, and book reviews for forty years. Published quarterly by the West Coast Feminist Literary Magazine Society, also known as the Growing Room Collective, Room showcases writing and art by women (cisgender and transgender), transgender men, Two-Spirit and nonbinary people. 


Website redesign to promote brand update and conversion from Drupal CMS to WordPress. An overhaul is overdue and will help Room attract more members and volunteers.

Emphathize with Users

Zoom virtual meeting
Note: This photo is only a representation of our virtual meetings. No photos allowed!

The site has been around for 10 years and acquires increasing traffic from work submissions, events, promotions and provides fresh literary content weekly.

I knew who their fans because I’ve been a member for quite some time but I wanted to check if there’s been a change and to check with Room management of the direction and marketing plans to grow membership and subscribers. I conducted user research to identify site visitors and audience using Google Analytics.

To further understand pain points of the site visitors, I conducted heuristic evaluation on main pages calling for subscriptions, submissions for magazine, contests and navigation of literary pages. No critical issues but several medium levels that may have contributed to low engagement


Define the Problem

Problem Space

How might we improve the online experience of new and returning visitors to RoomMagazine.com to help them find and read different types of genres and then encourage them to commit to 1 or 2 years subscription.

There are two groups in this project – site visitors and administrators/member

  • Missed opportunities to promote membership and knowing more about members for Room
  • Design does not represent brand
  • Issues using Drupal as their CMS. Training was difficult and limits their ability to make more site updates.
  • Difficult to navigate, users not interacting with the site
  • Visual clutter- too many elements competing on the home page


Ideate

iPad sketch
My weapon of choice: Procreate app on my iPad

Now that I have a better understanding of the visitors from the research and analytics I reviewed, it’s time to sketch.

This website had too many goals to fulfill. To design for all is to design for no one.

Our goal for the site is to improve user experience by helping them easily find information and complete their main goal- submit their work to contests and buy subscription to the magazine.


Prototype

It’s time to fire up Adobe XD! This is an existing website so I also did website audit. These are the deliverables

  • Sitemap – Draw.io
  • Process from User Flows to Wireframes
  • Prototype and UI Elements
Room website sitemap
Room sitemap
Room Magazine Web Style Guide
Room Magazine Style Guide

If you are curious, you can read the complete presentation for Room’s Web Redesign Project (Drupal to WordPress) PDF file 2.3 MB

Complete wireframes were sent to the a few members to test, review and comment.


Testing

This is not the ideal situation here but due to budget constraints I had to get creative and move the testing up with the wireframes.

Some errors were identified and fixed. So we move on to building the site.


Web Development and Launch

Before starting development, a full site audit was done. In total there were about 1,000 published posts that I tried my best to find and tag appropriately into categories. Drupal to WordPress conversion preparation is a beast!

The site was launched December 2020. My role in this project – User research, IA, UI Design, Web Design and WordPress Web Development, Training

Room website on viewed on desktop and mobile

View Live Website

Post Launch

What have I learned from this project. First, and it must be said again, Drupal to WordPress conversion is a beast! But really it’s because this site is huge

The clients were happy that the site now truly reflects the new generation Room members. We are continuously reviewing stats and seeing where we can improve. Our choice of tools to do this – Google Analytics and Hotjar.

There is still some room for improvement for accessibility and page speed. But the main pull of the site is the amazing content regularly posted and dedication of the members who make sure site always has new and compelling content while also spreading the news on social media how Room champions emerging writers in Canada.

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