I began my research with a simple heuristic evaluation, testing the user flow of purchasing a general admission ticket and rating the experience in certain categories using LEMErS (Learnability, Efficiency, Memorability, Errors, Satisfaction).
Next, I conducted basic online research about LACF and its visitors’ demographics and found the following useful infographic (source: https://www.fairplex.com/fairplexevents/partner/sponsorship/la-county-fair).
I interviewed some peers who fell into the larger categories described in the demographics above and combined the interview and demographics data to create a persona. The persona helped me embody the characteristics of many fair attendees into a single person.
I then presented my persona’s emotional journey of using the LACF website in the form of a user journey map. This was based on the persona’s characteristics as well as pain points experienced by actual users who I had perform usability tests.
To help me restructure the site, I performed a card sort of all ~50 site pages to restructure the site map. This was too many cards to make, so since I already had movable cards from my site map (made in LucidChart), I quickly deleted the connecting lines and moved the “cards” around to perform a card sort.
I reduced the number of primary navigation categories (from 7 to 4). The biggest change was creating a “Groups” category for any user who was attending as part of a group and interested in deals and accommodations for groups. I also reduced ambiguity by converting some pages into more descriptive pages with “tiles” that summarize page contents to save users from having to click a link with an ambiguous page title.
Near the beginning of my research phase, I felt it would be more accurate to hear the voices of actual fair attendees, so I browsed recent Yelp reviews. Although I saw patterns connecting attendees’ enjoyment of the event with their perceived price value of the event, I decided to limit my scope to the usability of the ticket purchase flow.
LA County Fair Yelp Reviews Analysis (PDF)