You may have noticed the new look of the member home page at esource.com! Well, six months ago, the design team at E Source—our team—embarked on the journey of this redesign. This page is most E Source members’ first impression of us, so we wanted it to represent us well. Our users didn’t really spend time on our old home page (Figure 1), and we knew there was so much more we could communicate with it.

Figure 1: Our old logged-in home page

A screenshot of the old logged-in dashboard, with its left navigation, event banner, and filter drop-down list.

The first thing we did when beginning the redesign was to look at member feedback over the years to see if there were any recurring issues or trends. A few of the things we found and wanted to address in this redesign were that our members:

  • Don’t understand what they have access to
  • Want to be able to browse for content
  • Want to see what content others are viewing

Using that feedback, we came up with a couple of concepts, then we built out an interactive prototype (Figure 2) and tested it with five of our members—new territory for us, since we hadn’t tested with users this early in the process before. Although the prototype was only a rough representation of what the interface would look like, it got us quick feedback that allowed us to pivot early in the process to more closely align with what our users wanted.

Figure 2: Our interactive wireframe

A screenshot of the digital wireframe, made of mostly boxes and lines, to show a rough approximation of the new design.

When we tested with users, we first asked them a series of introductory questions, such as “How much time do you spend online every day?” and “Rate your online tech savviness on a scale of 1 to 5, where 5 is the highest and 1 is the lowest.” After that, we moved into scenarios to test the interface, such as “What’s your first impression of this page?” and “If you were looking to find information about a question that you asked one of our research experts, how would you do that in this interface?” We even asked some feature-specific questions like “How do you feel about gamification?”

We got some positive feedback:

  • The interface appeared clean, light, and visual
  • Members could clearly see what they have access to
  • The My Account Team section would be useful
  • The card format allowed them to see a lot without too much scrolling

And some things that weren’t as positive (but still gave us valuable information):

  • They wanted a way to see things they’d recently viewed, including our tools
  • They didn’t understand some of the terminology, including “Browse”
  • They didn’t find gamification—earning points for doing tasks on our website—appealing
  • They wanted easy access to our resource centers

After going through the feedback and deciding what to change, we built a functional prototype in actual code. And when we had what we thought was a pretty good early version of the functional prototype (Figure 3), we tested the interface with five new users.

Figure 3: The functional prototype

Screenshot of the functional prototype the design team built, with colorful cards, welcome message, and early versions of the tabs and rows that would make up the final design.

In this second round of feedback, our testers gave us more-positive reactions, saying that:

  • The menu felt more user-friendly than the left-side navigation on our site at the time
  • The interface felt simple, clean, and engaging
  • The feed of their topical alerts provided useful information
  • They liked that the subscription cards showed a clear expiration date

And they gave us a few more things to work on, such as:

  • The instructions on how to ask a question and sign up for alerts were not clear for new users
  • They wanted the subscriptions row to be more prominent
  • The events banner was distracting—they wanted to see more content at the top of the page

Over the next few months, we worked with our software developers to build the new logged-in home page you see today (Figure 4). We did our best to address as many of the user suggestions as we could, and we’ve noted some of the bigger requests that we didn’t have time to address in this redesign so we can address them later.

Figure 4: The new logged-in home page on esource.com

The new dashboard, showing easy access to the customer's profile, a link to ask a research question of our experts, and who to contact if the customer needs help; also shown is the subscription row of cards that indicates what the customer has purchased from E Source.

We hope our E Source members will love this new approach—tell us what you think!

Contributing Authors

Interactive Design Manager

Amy Hirschbeck manages and works on the design, user experience (UX), and front-end development of the E Source website and software products....

User Interface Developer

Melissa Utomo creates front-end code for the E Source website and tools while assisting with design and user testing. Prior to web development,...