Searchable “Best” Listings

My Role

Research, UX Design, UI Design

Team Members

Chris Combs, Tom Shafer

Overview

The purpose of this project was to create a searchable database for users to easily find DC professionals mentioned in the magazine’s “Best” lists (Top Doctors, Wedding Vendors, Private Schools, etc.). To accomplish this, we created filters and a search system users are familiar with to sort through profile listings. We also created elements for the professionals listed in the database that would result in more engagement and traffic to their websites.

With 14 finders (and counting) this is a project we’re constantly iterating upon. The finders are updated every 6 months to a year and the design process refreshes from there. When a finder is coming up on a content update, we start the UX process again and research, meet with stakeholders and interview users to see what is working well and what isn’t, and push new iterations.

UX Process

Research methods: Stakeholder interviews, competitive analysis and layout comparison, quantitative Heuristic evaluation of Washingtonian’s finders compared to similar online resources, and a statistics review from Google Analytics.

Ideation: Created proto-personas based off of research. Constructed user flows for users who are looking for a professional, as well as for the professionals who are using the site to look up their profile and peers’ profiles.

Wireframes: Used user flows to sketch a new design for the Washingtonian listings.

Design: Move sketches over to Figma and work with the developer to iron out technical details. I present these designs to stakeholders for feedback and make the necessary changes and updates to launch the minimum viable product.

Prototype: The final design before moving to a testing development environment where the digital team tests the design and usability before launching. We test, receive user and stakeholder feedback and continue to iterate until we reach the site design we have today.

Most recent prototype for a finder.

Most recent prototype for a finder.

Project challenges and lessons learned: The biggest challenge during this project was balancing the needs of two very different user groups: Washingtonian readers and the professionals who are listed in the finders (many of whom are also advertising clients).

Readers need search tools and filters to narrow down the listing results to find the right professional for their needs, whether it’s finding a wedding vendor or a real estate agent. Many of the professionals’ wants vary depending on the list they are in. Wedding vendors, for example, need very visual profile pages and CTAs to social media profiles. Lawyers, on the other hand, ask for a minimal design with very few filtering options. It’s my goal to always be on the lookout for new design solutions to make these finders as useful as they can be for our readers, while also meeting the needs of the professionals in the listings.

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