Designing the Change.org Blog
Change.org is the world's largest technology platform for social change. Millions of people use it everyday to stand up for issues they care about, including fighting corruption in Indonesia, Italy, and Brazil, ending the ban on gay Boy Scouts in the United States, and achieving big wins for women's rights in India.
UX + UI DESIGN
As part of the company’s strategy to leverage content both on their website and via social media, they asked me to design a blog that is engaging and easy to use.
The writers publish blog posts about a range of topics from successful petitions and inspiring interviews to viral campaigns and special announcements. These posts cover issues related to women’s rights, environment, animal rights and much more. With this in mind, I considered how the blog could be designed to showcase their work and encourage users to discover, consume, and share content.
The existing Change.org blog was quite limited in it’s capabilities and did not integrate with the Change.org system as a whole. One of the challenges was making the blog feel integrated with the main Change.org website and brand, while also establishing it as it's own hub for people to read stories and engage with the community.
I worked with the internal product and editorial content teams to fully understand the intersection of business and user goals before jumping to design solutions. We leveraged insights from research, marketing and data to prioritize problems and identify opportunities.
As part of the discovery phase, I conducted a competitive audit. I looked at other company websites to get a sense for how they use content marketing and blogging to enhance their brand and product. Examples include Rally by Eventbrite, Lyft, and Airbnb.
Once a user arrives on the blog, we want to encourage discovery of relevant blog posts, and enable them to write comments, and share posts on Facebook, Twitter and email. With this in mind, I explored many design layouts for the article page and experimented with different treatments for the Facebook, Twitter and Email share buttons.
The first and second concepts were a bit too subtle. The final solution (right) features icons that are fixed to the left side of the article, meaning they scroll down the page with you. This is an ideal interaction that enables users to share at any point while reading the article.
To shape the ideal user experience, I conducted a journey mapping exercise and considered the user flow with this question in mind: How do users land on the blog and what do we want them to do once they get there?
I identified that the primary ways users arrive at the blog are by clicking articles shared by their friends on social media, Change.org emails or links in the Change.org website footer.
To encourage users to actively explore the blog, each article page features related posts. I experimented placing thumbnails in the middle of the article and in the sidebar but found them to be too distracting. The final design features 5 "Must Read” posts at the end of the article, providing an opportunity for the user to dive into another topic of interest.
The top navigation bar integrates with the Change.org website so that users can seamlessly navigate from the blog to the main website. I played with the idea of adding a secondary navigation bar for the blog with links to content categories (i.e. Hot Issues, Inspiration, and Tips). After looking at design iterations and gathering feedback, it became clear that categories actually would create unnecessary complexity for the user. The final solution is very simple.
The UI is designed using color, hierarchy and typography patterns that are consistent with the company's visual styles. While the blog is designed in accordance with the Change.org brand style guide, it does feature special treatments that visually distinguish it as an editorial platform that is different than the main Change.org site. Stylistically, I was inspired by print magazines. The blog's home page utilizes a grid with plenty of white space. Overall, the final design is minimal and clean, allowing the content itself to shine.
Ultimately, our goal was to create a tool for sharing all the incredible stories created by the Change.org community, and the final design delivered. It represents the ultimate expression of the brand, with the design and voice culminating to reflect a truly impactful company.