Removing chaos from the afterlife

Coping with grief and loss of a loved one can be very hard. “RIP.ie” offers post-death services online and has a huge user base. As a part of this project, we proposed a redesign to their website that would enhance the overall experience and improve their monetization model.

The Challenge

We were asked to pick a website of our choice, evaluate its design through usability testings with a relevant customer segment, and submit our recommendations for its redesign at a lo-fi level

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Proposed Solution

For the project, we chose RIP.ie which is in the top 4 websites in Ireland in terms of daily active users. We redesigned their homepage to improve the general user experience and make it more profitable.

The key areas we focused on while working on our design recommendations were:

KEY DECISIONS

Remove the Map

The central piece is essentially a location filter and does not work on mobile. It uses a lot of real estate above the fold. 

Add Alerts to Home

Previously the only way to access alerts was after login. It was not visible to the majority of the users.

Publish a Family Notice 

The button is not discoverable to everyone. It has utilized space around it. Another CTA can be placed alongside. 

Remove Featured Notices

Space is used to display only 10-12 deaths which are not relevant to the majority of the users coming to the website.

Add Sympathy Card to Home

This is one of the monetization elements of the platform. Earlier it was only visible inside the memorial gifts section.   

Univ. Navigation Bar

The fields have been changed according to the top jobs a user wants to do. It removes the initial friction at home.

My Role

The workload of the project was shared by all 3 members equally. Apart from that I worked as a project manager, and my additional responsibilities included:

Stay on track with the deadlines.

Plan ahead and make a daily to-do list.

Reach out to RIP.ie to get client pain points.

Assemble and deliver the final submission.

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Improve Discoverability
of offered services
Increase the
email/text alerts
Improve the
monetization model
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The Process

Redesign of “RIP.ie” was an intense week-long project and was done in a team of 3 - Marcus, Megan, Paurush. On a higher level, we evaluated the current platform, explored ideas, and tested the paper prototypes. 

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Stats and Survey
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Use Cases
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Usability Tests
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Experience Maps
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Navigation Sort
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Task Flows
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Wireframing
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Usability Testing

Hypothesis

We started out by creating a profiling canvas for our website and it's users. This was based on our own experience and exposure to the platform. 

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Second Opinion

In order to validate our hypothesis, we created a google form and sent it out to the relevant user base. We received 43 responses and some of the statistics of our responses are shown below:

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TOP TASKS

1. Search for a death notice.

We analyzed the responses and selected the major tasks that the users wanted to do on the website. Our final list of top 5 jobs was:

2. Post a death notice.

3. Publish a death anniversary.

4. Search for a month's mind.

5. Setting up an

alert.

Use Cases

For each task, we created a use case doc that explained the ideal scenario that an ideal user will go through. This was made to act as a reference while evaluating a real user's performance in a usability test. An example is shown below:

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Usability Testing

We did Gorilla testing and one to one interviews. In the limited time frame, we were able to do a total of 6 interviews and recorded how people approached a specific task, their success rate, and their comfort level towards the task.

Plotting Emotions

We made experience maps for each task plotting their response at each step of the task flow. Once we had combined the experience for every user we could see emerging patterns.

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Extracting Insights

The next step was to translate the peaks and valleys into insights that were pointing towards usability issues. Overall the graphs showed us a neutral start, chaotic middle, and a happy ending. The top 3 insights were:

The homepage has friction - discoverability is causing most of the stress points.

There is a technology gap with a very important segment of the user base.

Posting a death notice cannot be done via the website but is assumed as a primary feature.

Team Goals

Based on the results from usability testing and our own observations we made an actionable strategy for the redesign phase:

Redo the navigation system of the website to make top jobs easily accessible. 

Make a UI inventory list to remove ambiguous and inconsistent UI elements.

Do a heuristic evaluation of the top job flows to find usability issues.

Make the online store more visible and improve the monetization model.

Optimize task flows of top jobs and streamline them to reduce the number of clicks.

Clearly mention what the website cannot do, for instance, "Post a death notice"

EXploring Task FLows

We went deep into the micro-interactions and played all the possible ways of reaching from point A to B on the website. We then made our own version of task flows to reduce the number of clicks to accomplish the top jobs. An example of a specific task is shown below:

Navigation Review

An important part of making top jobs more accessible was to make them more discoverable. We figured the problem with rip.ie was their navigation system. So we decided to apply card sorting and make it more user friendly.

Exploring Solutions

We started exploring different ways to incorporate our research findings into the website and remove the pain points from the user's journey to accomplish top jobs. Our go-to method was sketching wireframes.

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We explored different layouts for the home page through rough sketches. A different set of sketches was done with a different purpose i.e. increase monetization, reduce the complexity of primary features, increase the discoverability of secondary features, etc.

Paper Prototype

To test different concepts, we create a paper prototype for the desktop version of the website. We tested them with the people in our to see what worked and what did not work.

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Based on the feedback we made tweaks in the placement and prioritized the elements above the fold. We made a stop motion video of the paper prototype's final flow. Here is a video of one of the tasks:

Key Decisions

In order to make the website more user friendly and improve its monetization, we changed the placement of some existing UI elements and introduce some new ones above the fold. The top 6 are mentioned below:

Remove the Map

The central piece is essentially a location filter and does not work on mobile. It uses a lot of real estate above the fold. 

Add Alerts to Home

Previously the only way to access alerts was after login. It was not visible to the majority of the users.

Publish a Family Notice 

The button is not discoverable to everyone. It has utilized space around it. Another CTA can be placed alongside. 

Remove Featured Notices

Space is used to display only 10-12 deaths which are not relevant to the majority of the users coming to the website.

Add Sympathy Card to Home

This is one of the monetization elements of the platform. Earlier it was only visible inside the memorial gifts section.   

Univ. Navigation Bar

The fields have been changed according to the top jobs a user wants to do. It removes the initial friction at home.

PITCHING IT

The owner of RIP.ie (Jay Coleman) was hyped to hear about our work and decided to meet us in person and review our research. Although there was a split in the traffic driven through the website, mobile, and tablet (15:60:15), most of our observed pain points were in sync and our hypothesis was validated.

He was impressed with our work and decided to take our research for the ongoing revamp of his product - rip.ie!