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The New

New Georgia


I was part of a two-person UX team that worked closely with stakeholders, developers, and a graphic designer to create a new mobile and tablet-friendly design for the New Georgia Encyclopedia. 


The New Georgia Encyclopedia is experiencing a rapid decline in web traffic. A cluttered, outdated visual design prevents the encyclopedia from standing out as the well-vetted reference it is when competing with much larger and more well-known encyclopedias. Non-article content takes a lot of effort to produce but gets very few views.

Additionally, NGE has a hard time maintaining and creating content on the complicated admin interface. As a non-profit, they they don't have the budget to contract out this work as often as it needs to be done.


Lead Researcher 


In addition to devising and executing a research plan, I participated heavily in all design activities and led research and design meetings with the stakeholders. I also worked closely with stakeholders, developers, and a graphic designer throughout the process to maintain alignment and provide design expertise.


Google Analytics


Google Slides


Discover. Define. Design. Refine. Deliver. 


As the lead researcher for this project, I conducted a broad current state analysis including competitive benchmarking, google analytics, SEO analysis, and stakeholder interviews. As a result, we identified key user types and business objectives which informed the approach to our research. I designed research guides to support our objectives and conducted user interviews remotely. 


While the majority of site traffic comes from search engine referrals, there are some key user groups that NGE works with and creates content for. We interviewed 11 users from the key groups, which were educators, students, and researchers.

Example Interview Script
List of Educators Interviewed
List of Students & Researchers interviewed

Discover. Define. Design. Refine. Deliver. 


Our synthesis revealed core insights that helped shape the redesign.


The top navigation bar is being ignored in favor of search.

  • We learned this from walking through the website with our users to find out how they generally use it

  • Google analytics data also supported this finding

Users are largely unaware of content beyond articles.

  • Some educators we spoke to were even unaware that there is a special section just for educators

  • Another educator was very excited to learn about the online exhibits during our interview, despite having used the site in her curriculum for years

Users do not regard the trustworthiness as highly as more well-known encyclopedias.

  • The users we spoke with that were aware of how well-vetted the articles are had all done volunteer or intern work for the encyclopedia.

Site articles are not included in searches of databases commonly used by academics.

  • An academic librarian brought this to our attention.

  • We researched how to get the NGE articles included in these searches and learned that obtaining an ISSN for the encyclopedia would allow its articles to be added to these databases.

Affinity Mapping from Synthesis

“...I've always been on kind of a goal, you know, and a very clear goal when I came here... I never even looked at the tabs on the very top.”


Informed by user expectations and feedback from our interviews as well as the competitive analysis, we redesigned the information architecture. We were able to completely remove some low value content that was hard to maintain, and add a new hierarchy to much of the remaining content that is not only intuitive to navigate, but also adds helpful context.

Information Architecture


  • Clean design with plenty of whitespace.

  • Remove low value, hard to maintain content.

  • Add and improve signifiers of a trustworthy reference site.

  • Add and enhance crosslinking.

  • Fix technical issues affecting SEO rankings.

  • Design for a flexible content system.


Discover. Define. Design. Refine. Deliver. 


I took turns leading weekly design meetings with the client throughout the design phase to present my work, discuss feedback, and get approval for designs. We iterated on designs to devise solutions that best balanced client goals with user needs. Additionally, I worked closely with developers to make sure we were aligned on feature feasibility and the backend structure.

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We included a few subtle design parallels to hardcopy reference books as a nod to NGE's origin as a physical encyclopedia and as a subtle signifier to visitors of NGE's status as a scholarly reference. As part of this effort, I had the opportunity to create a custom background texture SVG for the client's flexible content CTA blocks. We wanted to offer something custom to the client that evoked the pages of a large reference book.

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Website Exhibit Screenshot
Website image collection


In order to better convey the trustworthiness of the encyclopedia as a reference, we added the new ISSN to the footer, added editor and fact checker information to the article design, and a new section to explain the editorial process.

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Once several key screens were approved, we packaged those wireframes for a graphic designer to skin. After the designer's work was approved, I applied the new design treatments to the complete wireframes and prepared a high-fidelity prototype for client usability testing and stakeholder approval.


Discover. Define. Design. Refine. Deliver. 


This project is currently in development and scheduled for launch in Fall 2021. During this phase, I'm providing design guidance to developers when needed, as well as performing QA on the site as it is being developed.

The client's budget for this project did not allow for formal usability testing of the design, and although recommended, the client determined it was low-risk due to the technical issues we discovered that had caused the reduction in site traffic. KPIs such as visits to non-article pages, bounce rate, and session length will be helpful to validate the design post-launch.

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