UX research and design

Increased U.S. based church sign ups by 450% from Q4 to Q1

Nov 2015 – Feb 2016



Equality.org was an US-based online directory bringing the church together with the LGBTQ community. The website used the Google Maps API to help tourists and new residents find LGBTQ friendly churches.



  • The company had an old website based on a purchased Wordpress template. The template was cheap and could be published quickly.

  • The site lacked the company's own branding from a graphical standpoint.

  • It was unknown whether the template was optimised from a UX perspective.

  • The site was difficult to customise from the back-end and front-end.

  • The product owner decided a new website should be developed based on a more customisable CMS, which could more easily to be branded, customized and tested to the company’s requirements, with a UX optimised for its target audience.



  • Redesign Equality.org keeping up with the latest UX design trends, and tailor it to the target audience based on user research that encourages the LGBTQ community and churches to sign up and connect with each other.



My role

  • Go through the existing website, write a report containing UI/UX issues that need to be addressed according to current UX trends.

  • Identify out user requirements of the LGBTQ community and church community from the product owner.

  • Create personas, journey maps and user flows, based on user research. 

  • Work with copywriter and developer to design Balsamiq wireframes and hi-fidelity mock-ups (in Photoshop/Axure) for each page,

  • Iterate designs after user testing.


Output(s) required

  • UX recommendations report

  • Thematic analysis of interviews (with product owner) about the target audiences.

  • User personas, journey maps user flows for both target audiences (LGBTQ users and churches) 

  • Wireframes and hi-fidelity mock-ups (in Photoshop/Axure) for each page.

Church finder mockups


Checked through the existing website for possible UI improvements and made notes of possible changes based on the existing UI trends at the time (e.g. hero images, fixed header menu’s, long scrolling (vertical), “Back to top” buttons, card designs etc.).

User interface recommendations for church finder


Church example:

5 qualitative, semi-structured, interviews were conducted with pastors and volunteers from a range of nearby churches close to the headquarters in New Hampshire where Equality.org was located. The interview questions probed into problems getting the LGBTQ community into churches.

  • Churches had three main goals 

    • Increasing their membership

    • Inspiring staff and the board. 

    • Training more leaders.

  • They also had three frustrations

    • Church membership is gradually falling

    • Churches are running out of money 

    • Church members are treating church attendance as a low priority. 

User Persona for church find website


Church example: 

  • From the same data,  the following themes were identified.

    • Churches were open and welcome of the LGBTQ community, but they weren’t sure of the most effective way to encourage them to attend.

    • Churches had little online presence (aside from a website). They also had social media accounts, but they were used infrequently, and when they were used, they weren’t targeting messages at the LBGTQ community.

    • Church staff felt they did not have enough time for more marketing and felt it would be better used for day to day operations in the church.

    • Their ideal scenario was that someone could do church recruitment for them.

User journey map for church finder


1st-page example: 

This was the most problematic part of the UX as the church database required church staff to handover a lot of mandatory information for the membership system to function correctly, while as the user research depicted, they could be busier doing other things.


This section and the entire Equality.org website was tested with the same participants who took part in the user research interviews. User testing took place remotely from the New Hampshire headquarters (conducted by the product owner) using a think-aloud study combined with keyboard stroke and mouse tracking. The data was then sent to me to transcribe, perform thematic analysis and incorporate findings into the new design.


  • The first version attempted to make the form as short as possible, by reducing the number of form fields on the page. However, users became impatient as the checkout was still 5 pages long with no indication of the amount of progress the user had made throughout the form.


  • Most users were appreciative of the “10-minute” icon giving them a rough idea of how long the checkout the process would take. 3 users finished earlier which made them believe the company valued their time. The 2 users that finished were a little concerned that form could have been shorter.


  • All users knew what the captcha was for, however, there were still concerns about its merit as users on average took 4 tries to get the answer correct.


  • All users agreed to the terms and conditions/privacy policy without reading them first


  • 4 out of the 5 users felt the call to action was informative enough, though 1 user thought it meant this the was end of the application process and were disappointed to see a second page of the form.


Wireframe and mockup for church finder membership sign up


1st-page example: 

  • For the second version of the form, it was decided to add a page indicator to show where the user was in the process.

  • Most of the form fields were added on the first page, while this initially brought about the concern that the checkout process looked “long”, participants were satisfied enough to see there was only 3 pages of forms in the process rather than 5 (as shown in subsequent screenshots)

  • 2 users commented that they felt the McAfee secure icon made them feel safer in handing over their credit card details.

  • In general, users preferred having fewer form fields on subsequent pages, as they felt they had made more progress through the application

Wireframe and mockup for church finder membership sign up



  • While the project was cancelled 1 month after the redesign (due to the product owner becoming ill), 11 U.S. based churches signed up via the site. The previous website template only acquired  2 sign-ups in previous quarters.