Spring 2019 Usabilathon (winner)

About the Challenge

    The three-week Spring 2019 Usabilathon hosted by the Diversity in Psychology committee at George Mason University challenged competitors to create redesign for the Diversity in Psychology website.


    Competing in this challenge strengthened my experience in the iterative design process, intuitive usability, information architecture, user-focused design, and user testing. Not only did the project allow me to enhance my own design skills, but the product proposed by my team was awarded first place and will be used to recreate the Diversity in Psychology website!


Challenge Goals

  1. Develop a better understanding of the needs of diverse students in terms of what the University could provide;

    • Identify needs of diverse students in the GMU Psychology department using a provided data set and/or additional research.

  2. Create an improved website that provides tools and resources that better meet diverse students’ needs;

    • Develop an improved diversity resources website using the existing client template (GMU template).

    • Deliver a website with high usability/user experience.

    • Improve subjective appearance of website.

  3. Maintain a set of resources that encourage diverse students to enter the psychology department and feel included.

    • Provide website resources that would help diverse students in the GMU Psychology Department.

      • Link to other resources. New resources may be created/ideated, or existing resources may be used.

    • Compile the resources (via the website or otherwise) that would help diverse students in the GMU Psychology department.

Our Design Process

1. Empathize

2. Define

3. Ideate

4. Prototype

5. Test

Review survey data, and understand our users’ needs.

Create user personas to explicitly define the goals and needs of our users.

Ideas to meet needs of users:

  • Inclusion

  • Committee

  • GMU Groups

  • Reporting Discrimination

  • Education/Training

  • Diversity Awards

Create our prototype using the current site as a springboard. Emphasize information architecture to meet user needs.

User test our product. We brought in a diverse group of users both on and off campus.

Repeat Steps When Necessary

A Selected User Persona

    There were many users that we considered when developing the redesign. This user persona represents a potential student at GMU. A survey that was created to gather information about diversity within the Department of Psychology at GMU provided us with the information to create this user persona.

The Current Diversity in Psychology Website

    The original website did not meet what we believe to be critical needs defined by surveyed users. In order to achieve a user-centered design, we had a set of user goals that we hoped to address in our redesign: inclusiveness, committee member information, links to diversity groups on the GMU campus, resources for reporting discrimination, education and training for faculty and students, and information on diversity awards and research.



    Once we had thoroughly reviewed the survey data, created our user personas, and completed a competitor analysis, we developed ideas on how we wanted to achieve the design goals.

The Redesigned Diversity in Psychology Website

    After we user tested our first version of the redesign, we found areas that needed improvement. Once we had addressed these issues, we repeated the user testing. This led us to create our final prototype. In this prototype, we emphasize the Psychology Department's commitment to including diverse students, methods for students and faculty to report discrimination, education resources, diverse groups at GMU, and diversity awards and research. We also developed an information architecture that is intuitive and effective.


©2019 by Eric Luke Russell.

  • MasonM_Rev