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NASA Earth Observatory

Thoughtful UX research informs impactful UI design

 

The NASA Earth Observatory (EO) is NASA’s leading publisher of Earth Science related imagery, articles and news. On average, 650,000 unique visitors browse over 2 terabytes of imagery each month. Users and subscribers frequent the website for its well-researched articles and rich supporting satellite imagery.

Before A•VIBE came into the mix, the EO website had not seen any large-scale UI/UX improvements since 2010. The EO team knew it was time for an update and came to us with some high-level goals:

  • Design a cutting-edge, mobile-first responsive website build around a seamless user experience
  • Improve website navigation and make content more accessible
  • Develop new site features that promote user engagement and retention

A•VIBE began its UX/UI design and development process by conducting thorough user research. Our team evaluated feedback from over a thousand NASA EO subscribers. By collecting their input and identifying themes and common frustrations, A•VIBE gained a deep understanding of the EO user base. A•VIBE then created seven distinct user personas with unique sets of goals and needs. By structuring the project plan around these personas, every aspect of A•VIBE’s responsive redesign contributed to a better user experience and, in turn, helped the EO team meet its organizational goals.

During the process, A•VIBE restructured the NASA Earth Observatory website information architecture (i.e. taxonomy) to make navigation simpler and the promotion of important content easier. This accomplished key goals for both users and the EO team. The new taxonomy supports navigation by specific content types like images and articles, and topics like "Snow" or "Natural Hazards." We reinforced the taxonomy with custom iconography to create a visual language for the site's new landscape.

A•VIBE also developed a functioning prototype of the redesigned site that allowed the EO team to review updates and request changes quickly and easily.

The site launched (no pun intended) in July 2018 - check it out!

Strategy
Thorough UX/UI research identifies users' needs and informs a keenly redesigned responsive website.
Design
Utilize user feedback to guide the user interface layouts and animation to ensure content is accessible and engaging for all users.
Development
HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript development to provide the client with a fully functioning prototype, ready for implementation.
Data
Elicited user experience feedback directly from NASA EO subscribers which lead to an IA overhaul and navigation evolution.