My USTrotting

The United States Trotting Association (USTA/USTrotting) is a membership based organization that provides data warehouse capabilities for the harness racing industry. They provide data for statistics, horse breeding, and industry professionals, and much more.

'My USTrotting' is an innovative design package I created, developed, and presented that will allow USTrotting to iteratively develop an intuitive and engaging user experience. This design package was created to address numerous pain, and confusion points amongst their members.

My Role(s)

Business Analyst, Business Strategist, Front End Designer, Front End Developer, Information Architect, Instructional Designer, Interaction Designer, Project Leader, Requirements Lead, SEO Manager, UX Analyst, UX Project Manager, UX Researcher, Usability Specialist, User Interface Designer, Visual Designer

My Contributions

I created, analyzed, reviewed, designed, developed, documented, tested, and presented the following work in collaboration with the subject matter experts.

Client

United States Trotting Association

Challenges

Decreasing membership count and revenue

Inconsistent user experiences across various channels

Results

Cauterized branding confusion by solidifying the brand imagery

Produced a branded user experience that is intuitive and innovative that encompasses every user type to drive engagement and increase membership revenue

Provided numerous alternatives to business processes to alleviate delays and user experience issues

Tools

Adobe Creative Suite, XD, Google Analytics, Data Studio, SurveyMonkey, Git, GitHub, Atom, Microsoft OneNote, Excel, Outlook, Visio, Teams, Visual Studio, Visual Studio Code, Chrome, Edge, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera, iOS Safari, Android Chrome

Research & Exploration

Research is essential in my process in order to understand any issues that might arise. My research has evolved over the years and is based on atomic design as I have met differing requirements but my core process stays the same. I investigate each facet of the industry, organization, and user experience and identify areas where changes should be made. I employ a variety of tools to acomplish these tasks, including but not limited to: surveys, brainstorming sessions, whiteboard sessions (personally my favorite), and contextual interviewing to provide qualitative and quantitative data points.

I came into this project with minimal knowledge of what a horse race or a horse racing organization does or needs to provide to its customers. This required me to gain valuable insight into the industry, organization, and user needs so I started to document everything.

"Your notes are truly impressive, in fact they are the most detailed I have ever seen and will be a valuable asset moving forward. "
- USTrotting Staff Member

Due to the live membership portals that could not be interrupted, I worked with web staff to create a subdomain to house all redesign publicly available information. This subdomain's goal was to be a single source of truth across the industry, organization, and membership base about all things related to the redesign efforts.

After we decided to generate project specific user data points, I started to generate survey flows for approval. After approval, these flows were implemented in the online survey tool of SurveyMonkey, where they were conducted and administered.

Objective Alignment

It is essential to identify and align the project goals to the the organizations goals. I had a high level view of the organizations goals but not enough information to correctly align the project goals to the organizations, so I conducted meetings to identify and solidify project goals. This inheriently allowed numerous departments to work towards the same objective as well as made decision making much easier.

Industry

Shortly after the start of the project, I began to research major sports and industry sites with very heavy statistics like the National Hockey League (NHL), National Football League (NFL), and many others. This effort aimed at seeing how these organizations designed their experiences, and perhaps USTrotting could replicate some of these with their data heavy statisticas.

Organization

I interviewed department leads to discuss high level internal and external issues as well as identify subject matter experts for future discussions. I then interviewed employees to get pain point specific information about what causes the issue, what users have communicated, and what is potentially being done to address these issues.

Users

After reviewing previous survey results, site analytics, site usability, and current analytic usage trends, I decided to create specific surveys for this project to be administered and conducted through SurveyMonkey. It is only with this specific data would we gather the insights that were needed for this project to be successful.

UX Challenge

User Wants and Needs

It is imperative that organizations understand their users correctly and provide the right information to the right users at the right time.

I architected, designed, developed, and presented numerous data gathering opportunities to gather information about the organizations users.

I collaborated with internal staff and created a subdomain to be a single source of truth for all redesign efforts both publicly and internally.

UX Challenge

Process Efficiency

Organizations thrive when their processes are as simple and effective as possible.

I reviewed, documented, proposed, and presented countless business process efficiencies to leadership and internal staff.

Architecture Challenge

Current State

In order to make improvements with a design project it is critical that there is an understanding of the current structure and functionality requirements.

I designed, consolidated and documented the high visibility sites structures to allow a common understanding across all teams for the work to be done.

Documentation Challenge

Limited Existing Documentation

It is imperative that a common understanding of the project and knowledge is shared among the team.

I compiled, documented and continually presented my notes to the team to assure that everyone was on the same page and we were all working towards the one goal of a successful project completion.

What are the pain points and how do I improve the user experience?

Data & Analysis

Data & analysis are key parts for my design process so that I can identify and priorotize issues effectively while collaborating with team members.

I generated an Excel dashboard that consolidated numerous survey contexts into a single view of user responses which was highly effective for presentations to leadership and project decision making. This dashboard provided a concise view for both qualitative and quantitative data point review items for presentations to leadership. This dashboard also housed the action item and priority lists that I used to orchestrate effective discussions and priorty setting meetings.

"Amazing dashboard! You can see so much information about our users! "
- USTrotting Leadership

I also produced business process flows to identify and visualize common user flows throughout the organizations applications. These flows were very influential when discussing the processes and efficiencies that could be had by modifying the process to better serve the end user.

"How do I find stuff on the site without search? "
- Anonymous User Response

I consulted with the web development team about Google Custom Site Search (GCSS) to accomplish site wide searching functionality and subsequently implemented it on the projects subdomain. I also provided demonstrations to the organization about how to access and configure the search.

By analyzing search term trends and reviewing survey responses, a branded logo issue was identified. I created branded variations as solutions that were presented and ultimately agreed upon in order to correct the branded logo confusion.

"Why do I have to go through so many pages to get to the data I want? "
- Anonymous User Response

UX Challenge

Search Functionality

USTrotting had varying degrees of search functionality that were cumbersome to use and could not provide provide the right data to the right person at the right time.

I implemented a branded Google Custom Site Search for the redesign subdomain and debuted it to the organization. It was received extremely well as both the public and internal staff used it daily to find items on the current site with great ease.

UX Challenge

Brand Confusion

USTrotting utilized various logos and trademarks for its digital presence. Also, the primary search term for users to find USTrotting was 'ustrotting', not 'USTA' as the 'USTA' is for another organization that has nothing to do with harness racing.

I researched this user pain point, and reviewed the analytical information and saw a correlation to what users were using to get to the USTrotting site. I then proposed and presented a logo change to USTrotting leadership. The organization approved the change and was taking steps to introduce the new logo.

UX Challenge

Process Inefficiencies

USTrotting has many business processes which is similar to most organizations however, there are many customers that are not as technically savy as most users. This requires the organization to have printed and offline capable processes.

I documented numerous business processes in order to identify tasks that could be automated or made more efficient. I then worked with subject matter experts and refined these designs and ultimately presented them to leadership where they were scheduled to be improved upon over the coming cycles.

584
Survey responses analyzed across 4 contextual surveys
79
Interviews and group meetings
2234
Hours of analysis and design work

Ideation

My ideation process started with collaborative brainstorming sessions around the whiteboard to generate ideas about what functionality of like sites we wanted to incorporate into our experiences. USTrotting and the industry as a whole already had very clearly defined functionality and roles for the key players. This helped our discussions regarding what functionality to allow specific user types to be able to do.

The ideation sessions were a highly collaborative event centered around user types and their specific needs from the organization. One of the primary concerns with moving forward was to not lose functionality as extensive functionality had been built into numerous systems. I was sure to document these functionality points that were going to make the move into the new design.

Shattering the USTrotting status quo and beginning a new era of usability and user experience improvements.

One of the major ideas that took hold was 'My Racing'. Imagine for a moment, as a user, if I log in and everything I would want to know pertaining to racing stats and tracks would be right there in an accessible, intuitive and engaging interface, eliminating the need for me to sift through a multitude of subdomains for a specific bit of information. During numerous discussions with the team, we quickly thought about incorporating other ideas into 'My Racing' such as news articles, or perhaps records that have been broken. The possibilities are endless, 'My Racing' evolved into 'My USTrotting', so that users can cater their dashboard to what they want to see.

UX Challenge

Extended Data Interactivity

USTrotting had varying degrees of data viewing capabilities across numerous sites. I thought of the idea to utilize contexts or subjects to relate data instead of housing them in separate domains and segrating those interactions.

Through discussions with front-end and back-end staff it was determined that the idea of having a contexts instead of domains would take considerable work. With the redesign and the end users needs in focus we discussed various options as to what this would look like.

Revenue Challenge

Advertisement Income

USTrotting had many areas of their sites that generated advertising revenue by placing both equine and generic advertisements from various sources.

I designed, developed, and presented contextual advertising opportunities that would drive additional targeted revenue by allowing contexts to specifically target their audience within the USTrotting user experience design.

UX Challenge

Brand Confusion

USTrotting utilized various logos and trademarks for its digital presence. Also, the primary search term for users to find USTrotting was 'ustrotting', not 'USTA' as the 'USTA' is for another organization that has nothing to do with harness racing.

I created variations of the logo to address this brand confusion pain point and then presented the logo change to USTrotting leadership, it was accepted and they are moving forward with a new logo to address this pain point.

What if 'My Racing' was more than racing information?

What would 'My USTrotting' look like with user preferences?

Design

More times than not any design process is not a linear one. During the Ideation phase, ideas are generated in surplus and are readily pulled into the design phase as work continues and progresses. 'My USTrotting' evolved into a wholistic view of the users experience with USTrotting. By allowing a user to login and cater their view to information they want to see based on their user type, user roles, and user preferences, this new and innovative user experience could provide the best user experience in the industry and help USTrotting with membership retention.

Low Fidelity

I produced and presented numerous low fidelity designs, wireframes, mockups, and sketches to be reviewed for feasability with the collaborative team and subject matter experts.

High Fidelity

I produced and presented numerous high fidelity designs, and concepts to leadership for feasability and information architecture review with the collaborative team and subject matter experts.

Interactions

I produced and presented numerous interactions to leadership, project team, and subject matter expers for review.

Revenue Challenge

Advertisement Income

USTrotting had many areas of their sites that generated advertising revenue by placing both equine and generic advertisements from various sources.

I designed, developed, and presented contextual advertising opportunities that would drive additional targeted revenue by allowing contexts to specifically target their audience within the USTrotting user experience design.

Design Challenge

Brand Standards

USTrotting had numerous subdomains that were branded differently and some were even using varying versions of the logo. As a designer at heart I created a standardized brand sheet for designers and development that housed all of the information in a single set of files.

I designed, developed, and presented this branding sheet to the organization and it was well received as it is the first of its kind at the organization.

UX Challenge

Deeply Related Data Interactions

Prior to the redesign, many of the valuable data points were segregated and only viewable through reports. I wanted to change how users interacted with these valuable data points by rethinking the viewing structure. Through discussions with the web staff we decided to move towards contextual subjects like horse, race, track, and person. Instead of the individualized silos and subdomains for each of these areas. This changed the way users interact with the data by providing a fluid cohesive experience that allows users to actively move through the data in an intuitive manner.

I designed and presented a major function of the current site that was reworked into an intuitive material designed card component architecture where the user can intuitively navigate through the data heavy areas of 'Week At A Glance'.

UX Challenge

User Preferences

Prior to the redesign, many of the user preferences were set through the member portal and were primarily account related. With the redesign a new concept of a contextual dashboard would require additional preference setting capabilities in order to facilitate the best user experience.

I designed and presented an innovative and engaging card layout with preference panels inspired by Material Design by Google that would provide the needed functionality.

How do I interact with these designs?

Development

Early on we identified that the current technology stack would not support the additional requirements for the new and improved user experience. I proposed Angular and a standardized Application Programming Interface (API) to address many of the concerns. The team decided to start work towards the Angular components and API layer for data transmission.

I took the lead to create, develop, and present the initial components, structure and layouts for the redesigned page to the design and development staff.

The team at USTrotting was going to take on the responsibility to iteratively build out the development as per the design already set forth over the coming cycles.

Methodologies

Material Design by Google

Front End

Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML), Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), JavaScript (JS), Bootstrap, Angular, IntroJS

Back End

.NET Core, REST API, SQL

Deliver

I conducted numerous training sessions regarding my documentation notes, design files, configurations of vendor services, and many more items. I have laid the ground work for the USTrotting team to continue to implement my design work as they see fit when their development cycles allow for user experience improvement.

Results

I delivered an exceptional design package for an innovative, intuitive, and engaging new user experience as well as provided the base components and designs to allow internal staff to build out the future of user experiences for the organization.

The team at USTrotting were ecstatic with what I delivered and are very happy with my contribution to the ongoing efforts of improving the user experience for their users.

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