by Dunnhill James Magculang
The client is a social enterprise that focuses on diverting food waste away from landfills to regenerate soil in agricultural lands, driven by the goal to save the environment by creating a sustainable food system.
It aims to achieve this through a flagship program, which trains individuals, communities, and organizations to manage their food waste at the household and community level.
“Since they started their flagship program, the client noticed approximately 30% of the participants drop off the program. How might we create a better user experience for the participants of the program so they don’t drop off from the flagship program?”
Prior to the start of the project, the client mentioned that they conducted an initial behavioral study, which served as a basis for their four (4) proto-personas and make-shift user journey map. While key insights were generated from the initial research, the client wanted to validate the findings of the study with the help of an external research firm.
Prior to the user interviews, prospective participants were screened using a screener form based on their involvement in the flagship program.
The initial goal was to recruit 10 participants, or five participants for each user segment, to participate in the user interview sessions to be conducted remotely via Zoom.
The criteria used to define the two user segments in the study was completion and certification from the program. As such, five of the participants completed and got certification from the program, while the other five participants were neither able to complete nor get the certification.
However, due to issues encountered during the recruitment process, only seven participants were interviewed, completing five participants from the user segment who finished the program and obtained certification while securing only two participants from the user segment who failed to either finish the program or obtain certification.
The insights generated from the participants through the user interviews were transcribed and transferred to Miro. Using these insights, patterns were identified through Affinity Mapping and two (2) User Personas and a User Journey Map were created.
In terms of challenges encountered, users who are committed to multiple responsibilities find the program time-consuming and demanding, which is contrary to what the flagship program offers—an initiative that allows people with little time to help the environment. This shows that the program requires an overhaul in the process to reduce drop off rate and encourage more people to join and participate.
In this research, I crafted two (2) personas, namely Christine and Elena, based on the behaviors, goals, motivations, and frustrations I observed from the participants during the user interviews.
Engaged Elena is the social enterprise’s ideal user since they have sufficient knowledge about environmental causes and the willingness to partake in conservation initiatives that requires minimal time and effort.
Curious Christine, on the other hand, is the social enterprise’s potential user since they typically have the time to participate in programs that promote common good but they don’t know which initiatives to partake in.
From the research findings, I also crafted a User Journey Map using the participants’ responses regarding their initial encounter to their experience after participating in the flagship program.
User Journey Map illustrates the phases of a user’s journey from awareness to advocacy. In the user journey that I created from the insights, I used five (5) phases, namely Awareness, Consideration, Registration, Participation, Advocacy. In each phase, I detailed the user actions, touch points, thoughts, pain points, and emotions.
In the flagship program, users take the most actions, experience the most pain points, and consider the most options during the participation phase. Since the participation phase encapsulates the entirety of the experience of the users with the program, it is essential to bridge the gaps between the users and the program to address the pain points and reduce the non-completion rate.
Doing this UX Research project was no easy task. It definitely required tenacity to be able to deliver quality user research output for the client within the set timeline. I am grateful to have been surrounded and mentored by my seniors as I accomplish this research project.
My biggest key takeaway from this experience is to learn how to listen carefully and probe effectively to gain holistic insights sensitive to the context of each participant. Now that I’ve learned how to become more effective and efficient as a UX Research, I look forward to applying my hard-earned skills in my future engagements as an incoming professional in the field.
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