The Challenge wanted to build an experience that would not only be entertaining for youth, but become a conduit for information and advocacy. The organization also needed a new and easy to use CMS to manage their content and align it their social campaigns.


I was a part of the project from the strategy phase, through the execution and launch. I managed the ideation, UX deliverables, and post launch CMS training sessions.

Major Wins

2016 Webby Award Nominee

751% increase in social shares

368% increase in video plays 

26% increase engagements with "The Facts"

the Process

Strategy & Scope 

I performed a content audit that, along with existing analytics, helped us prioritize content that would be in line with strategic pillars. 

Based on the audit, stakeholder interviews and secondary research, I worked closely with our strategy team to come up with design pillars that would be key to site engagement: easy navigation, compelling presentation of content, content recirculation, and engagement hooks. 

Since the design sprints were running in conjunction with development sprints, we decided to tackle the big design challenges first, so that development had what they needed to build a CMS.

Forward thinking: Since I would be working very closely with back and front end developers, visual designers, and QA engineers, on a fast moving project, I established a workflow that utilized Sketch + InvisionApp + Slack to share files and send notifications of live updates. It proved to be effective, efficient, and was later adapted in the UX department on other projects. 


Design & Documentation

Based on our audience, we designed the site mobile first. I worked iteratively by sketching ideas, translating them into wireframes, reviewing with development team, and finally working with visual designers to bring the ideas to life. The workflow we established made this process light and lean. My visual art background also enabled me to give constructive feedback and push boundaries that were rewarding challenges for our visual designers and front end developers. 



How can you make content that is purely for consumption, engaging? How do you make a user feel related to the content beyond the allotted time frame a user has to digest information?

Early in the process, I noticed that some of the information that was so crucial to truth’s mission was a prime opportunity for positive user engagement and an even greater potential for social sharing. "The Facts" not only gave truth credibility (as they had legitimate sources) but were also curated to be interesting and relevant. They were poignant, shocking, and all of them were meant to solicit a response from the user. 

Based on some secondary research, I confirmed my assumption that there was a heavy use of emojis in today's communication. The combination of this hypothesis and the emotional nature of the facts led me to conclude that being able to vote with an emoji, not only allowed the user to give their opinion easily (which everyone loves doing) but also reinforced the feelings that should be associated to the bleak truth about the smoking industry and products. 

Next, I read through 300+ facts and parsed out the main feelings they solicited. They appealed to 3 out of the 6 primary human emotions: anger, sadness and disgust. I parsed out more granular emotions from the top 3 categories and matched them to emojis. I validated these matches by setting up a mini user testing area in my office lunchroom where my peers could pick, from 15 emojis, which ones they used most often with a corresponding emotion. I pooled the votes and included catchy slogans that added complexity to the emojis. This made them a little less subject to interpretation and reinforced the language of truth’s brand. 

This feature was incredibly rewarding to work through logistically and ultimately led to a 26% increased engagement on that portion of the site. It was a huge win for truth and helped reinforce their messaging and brand. 


Content Strategy  


The existing taxonomy of the facts became a prime opportunity to use language that could be shared on social media and build equity for truth, particularly on Twitter. Taxonomy needed to exist within the CMS, so why not link the taxonomy terms, that would normally be hidden, to the articles as well as the facts? This would allow truth to cross reference content and link a fact to an article easily. Through some card sorting, I reconsidered the the current taxonomy, and added terms that could be used to build social equity on Twitter. Finally, turning the taxonomy into hashtags not only enabled a quick filtering functionality, but it reinforced some of the messaging that the truth brand wanted associated to their content. 

The recirculation of content became an important way to allow users to pursue paths organically so that various user personas had the ability to jump between modes of thinking.

We presented content at the end of an article in a visual and bold way to allow the user either continue looking at the same kind of content, or potentially jump to something that they may be interested in peripherally. The articles were not only tagged with relevant taxonomy, but also by mindsets. The recirculation login was baked into the CMS so that truth didn’t have to do anything on their end but tag content appropriately. This allowed the site to be responsive to the kind of user that is browsing with minimal effort from content managers. 


During the design process, the content functionality would become the basis of the CMS structure. At the end of the process, I led a training session with truth’s team and compiled a training guide for self maintenance post launch.