United States Postal Service
The U.S. Postal Service website provides users with information regarding their most convenient and affordable shipping and mailing services. The focus of this project was to redesign the navigation of the website to be as simple and intuitive as possible for users.
User Research, Wireframing, UI Design, Prototyping & Testing
5 weeks // 2020
The U.S. Postal Service offers a wide variety of services to their customers, making their website navigation a particularly exciting challenge to tackle. I saw this redesign as a unique opportunity to bring a creative solution to a platform that offers such essential services to our communities.
The high-level goals were to:
• Understand the pain points for users navigating the current USPS website.
• Create a new information architecture (IA) by developing a more user-centered user interface (UI) navigation system.
• Design, prototype and test a new USPS website solution for both desktop and mobile.
User Interface Analysis
To kick off the user research phase of the process, I explored the current USPS website and created a proto-persona for its typical user. This helped to shift the focus from the anticipated final product over to the end user.
Workflow 3: Purchasing Supplies
Workflow 2: Scheduling a Package Pickup
Workflow 1: Creating Shipping Labels
Three primary USPS workflows were selected for analysis based on the needs of the proto-persona.
1. Creating Shipping Labels
2. Scheduling a Package Pickup
3. Purchasing Supplies
To understand the pain points that users experience when navigating through the USPS site, a thorough interview plan was written out to gain insight on how users approach certain actions. I wanted to learn more about how interviewees' would go about the following tasks:
1. Creating bulk shipping labels
2. Scheduling package pickups
3. Purchasing packaging supplies
I conducted 5 guerrilla usability tests with our target audience to identify areas of confusion, issues or user questions.
With the findings from those tests, I created the following feature prioritization matrix to map out what features would be most important for me to focus on in my redesign. It was important to consider what both the company and the user were in need of.
Feature Prioritization Matrix
An important part of the UI analysis process was to test the sites design and validate that it is truly usable and accessible for all users. This also helped to ensure that the designs are easy and pleasurable to use.
After conducting a heuristic analysis for the USPS home page, I annotated my findings to help communicate how and why some of their solutions are not usable.
One of the top priorities for both USPS and the user was to have a clear and intuitive information architecture. To better understand how users naturally expect certain shipping and mailing services to be categorized, I recruited 2 participants for a virtual closed card sorting test.
The participants were given a predetermined set of category names and were asked to arrange the cards from the matrix below into those categories.
All Primary & Secondary USPS Navigation Pages
Test 1 Results
Test 2 Results
New Navigation Structure
The results of the card sorting tests were used to create a new website structure that would allow users to locate the services they need more efficiently and intuitively. With the goal of simplifying navigation as much as possible, the new navigation structure was given fewer primary navigation pages by nesting more pages.
New Website Navigation Structure
Familiar terminology and additional visual context would be essential to help users understand where they are, what they've found, and what to expect while visiting the.
A sitemap was made to help organize and guide the website structure before creating the first round of prototypes.
Prototyping & Testing
UI Navigation Prototype
I began the design process by starting off with low fidelity wireframes. These wireframes were the framework for the desktop and mobile site and were used during testing. The first iteration of wireframes focused on the following:
• Leading with the most important information first and aiming for each section to be interactive
• Allowing the user to access essential services without necessarily needing to view every part of the navigation
• Building out a major user flow for new and returning customers: creating and purchasing a shipping label
Ship a Package Page
Ship a Package Form
Mobile Home Page Wireframe
In order to validate these solutions, I conducted 3 remote guerrilla usability tests, asking participants to share their screens and think aloud while being recorded going through the prototype. I asked users to go through three tasks:
1. Create a shipping label
2. Purchase a shipping label
3. Find a USPS store nearest to them
Key Takeaways & Iterations
100% of the usability testing participants were successful in completing the three tasks. However, it was clear that there was still some frustration. Users were still facing issues with the following:
1. Being able to quickly and easily locate a particular service
2. Feeling confident that they had successfully accomplished any given task
From the tests, I went back and reiterated on the wireframes.
Locating the shipping feature causes hesitation
The store locations button is too small and hidden
Gave the shipping feature and store locations button larger, more centralized spots
Create a Shipment Page
Uncertainty about what was and wasn't clickable
Added more visual queues, deliberate button shapes, and terms that users would be more familiar with
Branding & UI Design
I decided to incorporate a friendly, confident and approachable visual design into the site. It was important for users to have a welcoming and stress-free experience while still feeling like they've chosen a trustworthy and dependable service.
I also incorporated lots of icons and photos into the design to give users context and comfortability while visiting the site.
USPS Style Tile
High Fidelity Prototype
Upon entering, users are greeted with the most popular and commonly used USPS services above the fold.
The main challenge was figuring out how to organize the navigation so that users are provided with the essential features without overwhelming them. My solution was to turn the navigation into a drop-down so that users can easily digest all the information being displayed.
Creating a Shipping Label
Users can create shipping labels within the “Send” button found in the primary navigation. They are then taken to a popular USPS feature called Click N Ship to begin the process.
The process guides users each step of the way to provide peace of mind that they are indeed taking the necessary steps to create a shipping label.
Text Fields & Forms
The user then launches into a simple step by step form that gathers the information needed to create a label. They can keep track of where they are in the process by following a status bar at the top of the screen. If the user inputs an error, they will be informed immediately to avoid frustration later on.
The last portion of the form consists of answering package detail questions. These consist of a calendar date selection, multiple choice questions, and a dropdown menu. Once these have all been answered, the user can review their information and checkout.
Purchase Shipping Label
Once the user reviews and confirms their shipping label details, they proceed to the payment process. The user is greeted with a cheery confirmation screen once they submit their payment, making it clear that they have completed the process.
With USPS being such a widely visited site, it was imperative to design a seamless desktop experience in addition to mobile.
Desktop Home Page
Lessons learned and next steps
This website redesign project was the perfect opportunity for me to utilize my Information Architecture skills and design a fresh look for such a well oiled machine like USPS. When I first started the project, I was under the assumption that there would be very little improvements to make for such a large company. However, I quickly realized this was not the case. Through research and prototyping, I discovered that there was lots of room for redesign that would make users lives easier while still achieving the goals of the company.
Moving forward, I would like to continue testing my prototype and reiterating on the wireframes to make it as great of an experience as possible for users.