Since the COVID-19 outbreak, there is a high increase in anxiety, stress, and depression among global populations. We’ve had to seriously adapt our routines and daily lives for the safety of ourselves and each other. But how are you doing, really? Studies show that since the start of the pandemic, higher needs for self care has caused a rapid spike in people seeking meditation services.
When the pandemic hit, my client felt a need to expand their online presence beyond social media and into a responsive website.
At the beginning of this project, The Alter’s website was used to only highlight sponsors and their mission; all marketing, news updates, and sales were done through Eventbrite and Instagram.
With The Alter expanding beyond pop-up events and opening their own studio space, their website and brand needed to represent The Alter as an established business that appeals to both sponsors and Chicago community members.
Because of social distancing and shelter-in-place leading people to live a more sedentary lifestyle, higher needs for self care have caused a rapid spike in people seeking meditation services, most popularly through self-guided apps. Gen Z and millenials are the most common to use meditation apps because of reportedly higher levels of stress and anxiety among the two generations.
Almost all local competitors strictly catered their websites to gaining sponsors - not to their clients.
All direct competitors received almost all of their website traffic through social media. All competitors transitioned to virtual-only classes due to the 2020 COVID-19 lockdown, meaning people have more resources than ever to create a fitness, meditation, and wellness routine.
*Specifics of competitor analysis not shown due to confidentiality
I interviewed five millennial women who all have different wellness practices and religious/spiritual beliefs. In addition to millennials being my client's target audience, my secondary research also justified that there were major pain points for this demographic due to heightened levels anxiety and stress since the COVID-19 outbreak.
All participants stressed community support as a major key to feeling steady in their wellness practice. All claimed they knew they needed to prioritize their self-care routine, but felt either unmotivated or insecure about doing it by themselves. While all women had tried a virtual class since the start of the pandemic, 4 out of 5 would not do it again because they felt an overall social disconnect and also anxiety from not knowing what to expect beforehand.
This storyboard narrates Jen's daily thought process in relation to adapting to COVID-19 restrictions, as well as her processing new needs and desires since adapting to her new routine.
Jen experiences a push-and-pull towards wanting her "old life" back, while also knowing she doesn't feel comfortable socializing in public the way she used to. This leaves her with several ups and downs throughout her day, unsure of how to balance her emotions when everything seems to be out of her control.
Based on interviews and secondary research, it was clear that the site needed to fully embody the welcoming feeling that a social wellness event like The Alter's could bring someone. The joy of feeling more connected with oneself doesn’t start when attending an Alter event - it starts right when entering the site. To accomplish this feeling, there were three major factors: a simplified rebranding, transparent business mission, and highly organized content.
Through the diagram below, I identified that in order to achieve user satisfaction, the content on The Alter’s website required intentional placement; text required transparency, images a sense of fluidity and ease. The Alter’s brand needed to communicate the warmth of their community values to initiate a trusting relationship with users.
On sticky notes I listed each event by The Alter in the last two years plus future projects my client enclosed during our kickoff meeting.
Here is an example of how four events by The Alter compare and contrast with one another:
By breaking down each event, I identified that while workshops and classes all take place at The Alter’s studio, they vary in cost and time commitment. This also goes for Running Group and the Crystal Workshop: both are remote, but running is a free community-led event, while The Shudio event is a one-time private event in collaboration with a local business.
By highlighting key logistics of almost 50 events, I created four categories to neatly organize all current and future events:
And straight-forward, too!
I structureds tasks flows off of testing out the most imporatnt aspects based on my research: easily registering for an event and quick access to safety information. For registration, I created three task flows because there are multiple ways to get to the event page (home page, navigation menu, information page).
My client is an avid creator of mood boards. To begin the rebranding process, I asked my client to forward me boards that she found most aligned with her vision of The Alter.
After reviewing 8-10 mood boards, I identified patterns of organic shapes with bold text; a balance of vibrancy and calming images. I then merged the pins that I felt most accurately resembled the warm and charismatic energy of The Alter.
During a brand brainstorming session with my client, we settled on the goal that the updated brand needed to resemble the already existing color palette and use of organic shapes:
My intention for the homepage was to create an introductory narrative to The Alter’s unique experiences. I carefully incorporated organic shapes into each page to mirror the fluidity of The Alter’s events.
After sketching, I created a digital version of the decided wireframe, which intends to harmonize more with recurring users while also providing informational excerpts of The Alter and buttons to the four event categories.
I incorporated organic shapes and lines to breathe movement onto each screen. The site has minimal use of The Alter's branding colors, allowing the images of events and the space to take center stage.
An online 10-second test was conducted through UsabilityHub to gain a better understanding ofpeople’s first impressionso of The Alter’s homepage. 8 participants were given 10 seconds to view the homepage and then answer two follow up questions.
While all participants were able to complete tasks fairly quickly, when asked about the ease of finding the safety policy under the “About” page, 80% of participants said their first instinct was to check the footer after not seeing a banner at the top of the homepage.
Taking this into consideration, I revised the site to have the COVID-19 safety policy link at the footer, available on each screen. Since a banner at the top of the homepage is typically an indicator of temporary news, such as a sale or shipping updates, the footer is a more permanent placement for the link.