As a consulting intern, I was involved in this project for over a time span of 6 months (July 2019 - February 2020) to assess and redesign Kaiser Permanente's SharePoint Health Topic Pages. These pages were built by the Regional Health Education staff to provide clinicians and health administrators with a “one stop shop” for resources and information.
The staff that managed these health topic pages believed that they may be underutilized and did not know if their end-users were engaging with these resources. Staff members additionally found it challenging to maintain these health topic pages, and questioned if it was still worth their time and effort.
Defining a Project Timeline
In collaboration with other consultants, we defined our project goals that included user interviews, prototype development, SharePoint software changes, and implementation among stakeholders.
6/2019 - 7/2019
8/2019 - 12/2019
Beginning of 2020
Mid 2020 - End of 2020
After an initial assessment of the SharePoint pages, the first step was to interview Regional Health Education staff on their experiences working with SharePoint. I would also be interviewing end-users on how they’ve been using the SharePoint pages and how it can be improved. Lastly, I wanted to conduct a quantitative analysis to examine site engagement.
1. Staff Interviews
I was ultimately able to interview 10 consultants that managed a health topic page. These interviews were conducted in-person and included questions such as: "What are challenges you face when working with SharePoint?" and "What would be helpful for you to ease this process?"
2. Usability Testing with Clinicians/Health Admin
The goal of conducting user-testing sessions with end-users was to identify how they've been using the health topic pages and opportunities for improvement. My rationale for using this method came after first establishing research objectives. Specifically, upon discussion with other managerial and technology consultants, we wanted to evaluate whether their current website was accessible, useful, and usable. The first half was a contextual interview to observe how they were using the website. The second was a task-based and 'think-aloud' approach to measure the user's success rate when trying to find a specific resource on the website. I recruited end-users through email and successfully conducted sessions with 15 users. This included a call over video chat (MS Teams), where live feedback of the pages was observed via screen-sharing.
3. Page Engagement Analysis
Since one of the issues was that staff did not know whether end-users were engaging with the health topic pages, I determined that a feasible method to examine this would involve looking at each page's user views. SharePoint automatically captures this data, and I was able to pull and summarize when and how many users engage with these pages on a monthly/yearly basis.
The quantitative results of user views revealed that there were actually a substantive amount of users engaging with these resources and that it may still be a significant resource to continue investing in. These results additionally identified which specific pages were struggling with user engagement, and provided evidence of which pages could be improved.
Defining Problem Areas & Themes
To define our qualitative findings, I used Excel and created affinity diagrams to categorize user feedback under similar themes. These themes provide the "Why" behind engagement findings and revealed several interconnected behavioral processes. These are described in the figure below:
With these themes in mind, I presented these findings to staff members and we brainstormed ideas for how to address these themes. In terms of improving the experience for end-users, a summary of our insights are described below:
Building Site Hierarchy | Information Architecture
During this process, one of our major challenges was also knowing how to organize all the different health topic pages (i.e. Diabetes, Insomnia, Chronic Pain, etc.) and how content could be categorized in a standardized way (i.e. events, guidelines, handouts).
I approached this by (1) facilitating several card sorting sessions with staff members and (2) conducting usability tests specifically focused on the page hierarchies with users. A visual depiction of preliminary page hierarchies is shown to the right.
After identifying user pain points and actionable items for change, I began creating several prototypes of the SharePoint pages and engaged in several meetings with staff members to explain my design choices. This was followed by several rounds of revisions and formative usability tests of the prototype with staff and end-users. Some major design changes include:
Transitioning from "Classic" to "Modern" Sharepoint page interface templates for improved editing capabilities and usability (currently undergoing a transition to Sharepoint online during this project).
Recommendations for standardized page hierarchies and consolidation of information.
Best practices for white space, iconography and image use.
Adding social features to encourages user feedback and page interactions.
In addition to providing recommendations for how we might improve the user experience for the health topic pages' end-users, it was equally important to also consider how we could better support staff who struggled with site maintenance. This was one of my biggest challenges, as many expressed concerns about being able to implement these design changes. For this reason, I focused on collaborating with staff members on subsequent prototype iterations to ensure that I had their needs in mind. I also held training workshops and presented a handbook that described:
1. Findings from Staff Interviews and User Tests.
2. How to edit their SharePoint pages using clear and simple design.
3. How to view and interpret page utilization analytics.
4. How to effectively share their page with end-users.
While my consulting internship ended in February of the following year, these design recommendations for the health topic pages were successfully implemented and launched in September 2020.
Overall, it was a great opportunity to work on this project and I learned many lessons on how to translate research findings into actionable items for web-based services. One of my greatest challenges was knowing how to work with various stakeholders on what was feasible to change- all while being an active voice for user needs. This aspect of project management and UX research is something I aspire to work on, as I find that being able to work in a team setting and navigate implementation factors is crucially important to any design/research process.