Michelle Sue Agee
howdy@msueagee.com
Hi, I'm Michelle Sue Agee

I'm a user experience and visual designer with 3+ years of end-to-end experience creating digital products and facilitating  community building events.

Working with an integrated team is where I thrive. I enjoy the strategic aspect of design where I work to elevate the overall customer or community experience.

Currently, I'm a product designer at 2U.

Website redesign for a career-focused young professional organization

Young professionals need a community that can help them flourish and grow throughout their careers and make meaningful connections with like- minded peers. HYPE is that community but it does not hold influence in the crowed Houston marketplace

Challenge: Position HYPE as the premier young professional organization in Houston to increase annual memberships.

First timer: This was also my first large project at the agency.

Project Timeline
2018, 6 months
Client
Greater Houston Partnership
Role
Comparison Analysis
Web Design
Copywriting
Visual QA
Team
Poetic Digital
Project Manager, Strategist: Adrian
Solutions Architect: John
Senior Designer: Shatha
Primary Designer: Me
Webflow Designer: William  
Drupal Developers: Omibee
Tools
Sketch
Photoshop
Webflow
Trello
Slack

Understand

HYPE, Houston Young Professionals and Entrepreneurs, had an awareness problem. The organization offers high-quality professional development events and meaningful connections to its members but its out-dated website did not help convert visitors to members.

Buisness Goal

The no. 1 long term goal is to transition HYPE members to GHP members. The new website should attract prospective members to events and position HYPE as a great sponsorship investment.

User Goal

Prospectives members don't understand what HYPE is or how to get involved. The new website should answer key questions and enable visitors to easily register for upcoming events

The old HYPE website was out-dated and did not promote events well

Discovery

My team conducted stakeholder interviews, comparison analysis to define project goals, personas, and the overall site and content architecture.

I conducted a comparison analysis of over 12 local and national young-professional organizations to identify how communities present their values, events, and member benefits. We noted how impactful event photos can be to make an organization appear approachable.

The strategist and senior designer conducted 8 stakeholder interviews to understand the needs of members, sponsors, and organizers and define project goals and recommendations. Takeaways

  • Members seek to make connections with other young professionals to develop their careers, the new website needs to showcase community connections and clarify what HYPE is
  • Potential and existing HYPE Members need clarity what a membership is and how to register for events
  • Sponsors choose partners to provide them with exposure in front of the right audience and promote their business. Detail sponsor benefits and testimonials to attract partners

Design

During the website design phase, we worked in weekly sprints. The team held an informal standup on slack or at the espresso machine and we reviewed the design updates formally bi-weekly. We presented 1-2 new pages and design iterations to our stakeholders almost weekly, first in person, then over conference calls.

HYPE unveiled a new logo at project kick off but brand guidelines were not defined yet. Our main challenge was to visually show that HYPE is an exciting, well-organized professional development organization and then convert visitors into members or sponsors. With a sitemap and defined content struture i had four priorities:

  • Clarify what HYPE is and define its membership
  • Emphasize the quality the event programming
  • Showcase event attendees connecting at real events
  • Address potential sponsors Provide the info about sponsor benefits & level
I edited iPhone snapshots in photoshop to visually communicate the vibrant community HYPE provides at events.
From our comparison analysis, we found an event archive supports an organization's overall offering.
The membership page defines the benefits of the organization. I used a testimonial section and membership chart to help readers identify key benefits of the organization.

Outcomes & Lessons Learned

HYPE experienced an immediate uptick of members, social media followers, and event attendees after launch. After a year with its new website, the organization scaled back its activity due to COVID-19.

Lessons learned

This project was a great introduction to designing within an agile model. I adjusted to daily stand-ups and working in an open office, where my desk was in a high-traffic area ( it was a window seat ). This project was foundational to my presentation skills at Poetic. My team coached me through how to present design work to non-designers and stakeholders, over conference calls nonetheless!