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UCSB Thrive (WIP)

A Passion Project After Leave - Reflecting on New Outreach Methods

Roles

UX Research

Prototyping

Visual Design

Interaction Design

Content/Copy Writing

Tools

Adobe Creative Suite

Figma

Invision

Timeline

April 2022-Ongoing

Introduction

As the Graphic Designer for UCSB Thrive from 2018-2020, I worked on various projects that had everything to do with design, print, web design, and activism. UCSB Thrive is a branch of the basic needs movement at UCSB that collects and compiles resources into one accessible platform, while creating content promoting those resources. Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, I was brainstorming ways to better compile basic resources in one unified platform. Equipped with finer knowledge of UI/UX and design, I'm currently working on this project in 2022 with fellow designer, Jane Nguyen.

What is Basic Needs at UCSB?

Known as UCSB Thrive, this organization on campus promotes awareness about basic needs resources so that students are enabled to achieve success. The UCSB student body is composed of diverse socio-economic backgrounds, where certain backgrounds possess more privilege than others when placed in a university setting. The basic needs resources on campus target this inequity by:

 

  1. Promoting resources and solutions to stressful or crisis situations

  2. Advocating for the implementation and expansion of basic needs resources

  3. Educating the community about resources and research related to basic needs

  4. Creating and maintaining a safe space for in-need individuals

  5. Cultivating belonging in a new social setting, university

The Pain Points

1. It's an amalgamation

Currently, all information and resources are compiled onto the food.ucsb.edu website. The limitations of the web server make it harder to organize and present information, make the content appear more engaging, and update quickly.

food.ucsb.edu resources page

2. Lack of website maintenance

New resources and news are pushed out often, causing the website to be unreliable for current happenings due to the lack of website management. The social media platforms were consistently updated compared to the website.

food.ucsb.edu events and academics page

3. The website was overshadowed

The website should be at the forefront of the user journey, but social media and printed materials were updated more constantly than the website itself. This was due to lack of organization on the website and no dedicated website manager.

UCSB Thrive Social Media Page
UX Research

Questions were developed by the student interns working at UCSB Thrive, and edited by basic needs advisors back in 2019. Feedback was received from people in the UCSB community, including faculty, staff, and students. A total of 147 responses were recorded through an online survey. In-person responses were also recorded at tabling events.

 

Questions Asked:

  • Do you understand what the basic needs are? What do you know about basic needs?

  • Are you aware of on-campus resources that can help you with food, housing, finance, wellbeing, technology, and other basic needs?

    • If not made aware, why?

    • If made aware, how?

  • Are you aware of on-campus resources that can help you with food, housing, finance, wellbeing, technology, and other basic needs?

    • If not made aware, why?

    • If made aware, how?

  • What is important to you when reaching out to organizations for basic assistance?

  • What does UCSB Thrive do well to promote and educate about basic needs resources? What does it not do well?

  • How can we make basic needs information and updates more accessible to you?

  • Have you visited the food.ucsb.edu website? How would you describe your experience navigating the website?

  • Is it easy for you to find information you need about basic needs on the website? On our social platforms?

  • How can we make navigating basic needs resources easier for you?

General Feedback Received:

  • Basic needs awareness and awareness about resources are mixed. Most people who have been at the university for a longer time have more knowledge of basic needs resources than people who have been at the university for a lesser time.

    • Tabling events were crucial to first exposure ​

  • More people are aware of on-campus resources than off-campus resources

    • Printed materials are on display throughout campus in high-traffic areas​

  • Important traits for basic needs organizations to have: quick and efficient communication, opening a safe space for discussion about personal situations, knowledge about applicable resources and solutions, serves many diverse backgrounds

  • UCSB Thrive does well in: fun and colorful messaging, initiating connection and contact with those in-need, compiling information into different communication channels, hosting events and workshops, newsletters

  • UCSB Thrive does not do well in: website organization, designs are not cohesive because different designers have different styles, updates often get lost in social platforms, and website does not have immediate updates

Redesigning the Thrive Website (WIP)

We first started a redesign of the Thrive website to find better ways of reorganizing the plethora of information. I worked on the designs of the Home, Resources, and the CTA (Speak with an Advocate) pages. I wrote my own copy based on Thrive's branding.

Current Website Screenshots

HOME

UCSB Thrive Home Page

FOOD RESOURCES 

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RESOURCES

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BASIC NEEDS ADVOCATE APPOINTMENT BOOKING

Basic Needs Advocate Appointment Scheduling

Low-Fidelity Prototypes

1. Simple, Easy, Clean

2. Purposeful, Enabling

3. Lively, Thriving

The current food.ucsb.edu website aggregates so much information at once that users feel overwhelmed in viewing the website. I reorganized information into fewer categories and restructured the nav bar.

food.ucsb.edu simply compiles resources and research. I added more narrative or action-driven prompts to better guide the users through the website and make the user experience more enjoyable.

"Thrive" has a bright and lively connotation. I felt the current website lacked narrative and components that would bring it to life. I included more photos next to headings and created copy that is more action-driven.

High-Fidelity Prototype (WIP)

View my redesign as I work on it real-time! 

1. Accessibility

2. Guidance

3. Branding

The redesign accommodates more for accessibility with emphasized prompts, better contrast with colors, and shorter paragraph lengths. Page layouts are clearly segmented into manageable chunks of information presented at once.

Colors and structure guide the users easily through the website. With click-friendly buttons and action-driven prompts, users can have the confidence to seek resources. It feels more open without overwhelming the user with information. 

The redesign removes the harshness and intimidation from using the gold and blue institutional colors. Secondary colors of green, teals, and blues offer a softer look. Photos from the UCSB Digital Asset Library were used to engage with users.

Scaling on Mobile Devices (WIP)

Many students access university sites through their mobile devices, and it was key to ensure that scaling to mobile is smooth. However, the large amounts of information on the website can overwhelm the user mobile experience.