On April 22nd 2004, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), launched its first website. 13 years later, the organization had evolved in a way that a new structure and fresher design was needed. The redesign proposal focused on the challenge of simplifying users' tasks by creating a system revolving directly around their needs and making available tools and services that are critical for carrying out humanitarian operations accessible to everyone.
This is a project I worked on during my time at UNOCHA, in the Design and Multimedia Unit formed by one project manager, two UX/UI designers, two web developers and one researcher. I had the opportunity to participate in the project from beginning to completion and provided strategic direction and guidance on the conceptualization, ideation, style, and participate in the redesign process of the website as a UX/UI Designer.
1 × project manager
2 × UX/UI designers
2 × web developers
1 × researcher
User-centric Redesign | The challenges of maintaining optimal functionality, while simultaneously steering unocha.org through a one-year redesign process, brought to light a number of best practices and lessons learned for the IM profession.
Phase 1: Research & Discover
Sample user Personas of the website's main users were created, this included: Headquarters-based humanitarian professionals, field-based humanitarian professionals, donor agencies, government officials and new users. In order to build a better understanding of how the unocha.org was used we conducted one-on-one user interviews. We also did an extensive competitor analysis, where we audited information structure, layout, tone and navigation of similar UN agencies and external organizations.
Phase 2: Prototyping & User testing
Skeleton pages, called wireframes, were designed using top pages for main site sections as prototypes. Usability testing discussions took place together with representatives from each group/sample user personas. In those meetings, the UX team observed their behavior, confidence levels, and success rates in carrying out specific tasks.
Phase 3: Implementation
We employed a user-centric approach to defining and testing the Information Architecture for the reimagined unocha.org website. A modernized visual-design concept was applied across the wireframes, updating page layouts, font types and sizes, color palette, logo, and branding. Numerous iterations of the home page were circulated among OCHA teams and stakeholders, and a variety of comments and reactions informed the direction, including existing web trends and standards, the timeliness and reliability mandate of the system, and the partnerships on which information-sharing relies.
In July 2017 we launched the new UNOCHA website. It significantly improved user experience in finding information and helped decision-makers within the humanitarian community to select the right information faster and more efficiently, such as in the midst of a large disaster.