Process

User Research & Guerrilla Research

Persona

User Journey & User Stories

Wireframing

User Testing

Visual Design

Revamping Lynk's Website

Lynk Website Redesign was a freelance UIUX project I had the opportunity to pick up in August 2017. I always get excited about projects like this where I get to re-iterate on my design process and methodology through conducting user research, testing, leading art direction and developing an impact on the future of design culture with the company I work with.

 

Lynk is an international expert-client matching service based in HK. Starting out mostly offline with a sales team, Lynk was trying to move more towards the digital space to reach more potential experts and clients. Being a global business, Lynk was also trying to explore the US market besides growing their main user base in East Asia.

2 of the key screens from the final design deliverables. I wanted the imagery to feel professional yet approachable and realistic. 

 

The Challenge

1. Increase lead generation

2. Increase conversion – successful online expert profile creation

User & Market Research

Starting off, I had no prior knowledge about Expert Network, and because of availability bias, it seems to me like a new concept and not a lot of people know about it. After just some initial research on platforms like Quora and competitors such as GLG, I realized it was much bigger and more widely used than I expected. There was a niche community of end users consisting of senior level professionals.

Being uncertain about the space, I started setting up research calls, finding connections of connections, and setting up dinner with old friends who worked in consulting while having a conversation over the topic of Expert Network by showing Lynk’s existing website to them.

Defining Phase

Starting to get a better sense of what the problem space is all about, I started to set up meetings with the Lynk internal design and marketing team to gather some ideas and feedbacks. The session was fruitful and resolved some misconception I had before. Two key points—

1. Lynk used to be a platform where industry clients can browse experts and connect with them.

 

2. As market demand changed, Lynk wanted to switch to more of an agency model targeting experts and clients who wanted to work closely with Lynk to share professional knowledge, expertise, and insights.

There were also some initial set up in the following aspects—

1. The main business objective is expert conversion— especially those who had minimal experience with consulting on the side.

 

2. Strategy for outdated copy, seo, internal links, etc.

Lynk Team was a talented and enthusiastic team.

More user research and Guerrilla Testing

Original Lynk.global website.

While there were clear points where the usability could be improved, I wanted to have the current interface tested on potential target users to make sure we can a bit more insights into what target users might be thinking. Generally, I tried to keep the guerrilla testing to about 15-20 minutes especially because I wasn’t working with a budget at this phase.

To my surprise, out of 5 sessions I conducted, 3 of which became a lot longer because people I talked to were genuinely interested and happy to help. With that I was able to get to know the users a bit better, understanding their pain points and their typical online habits.

Based on the research, I compiled my findings into personas with stock photos and obscured details to paint an empathy driven persona (they’re fake people based on real results!) This became a useful tool when I went through design decision making with the Lynk team.

Some of the personas compiled based on user research.

Putting ourselves in the users’ shoe

One big topic that we continued to discuss over was motivation— what exactly motivated our users to do what they do in general? With all the data I got from user research. I came up with a few user journeys where I was able to identify some of the key areas of opportunity that I could explore during the wireframing phase.

 

Here are a few opportunity areas we identified:

1. For professionals who have done consulting before: time management and personal fulfillment seems to be a bigger factor than monetization 

 

2. For professional who has not done so much consulting: impact and monetization seem equally important.

 

3. There can be different levels of concerns for confidentiality and conflict of interest. However, amount of impact and lack of credibility seems to be a overarching commonality of user’s first impression on the website.

 

4. Credibility seems to be more important than expected not only for the “is it worth my time” mentality but also a sense of security and privacy protection.

One of the user journeys I came up with based on user research — this one was focused on a potential expert.

User stories were helpful for making sure at the final stage of design and implementation we hit all the requirements. 

Next Steps: Wireframing, LoFi to HiFi, User Testing

Overall, while the whole defining and research phase took a little over a week, Lynk and I were able to get our hands on multiple helpful users who gave us more insights than we originally expected. I was ready to start drawing and putting our inspiration (and concerns) on paper and through sketch to gather some more feedback. 

I am still currently working on the writeup for my wireframing and user testing process. Meanwhile, here are some snippets of the iterations I went through for the following 4 weeks. 

The business direction of Lynk has changed since then, and I have been working with them on implementing some of the changes based on business direction. The design process described above is prior to the business change.