"Q" Application Home Page Redesign

The "Q" application is Sparks & Honey's AI-based, "Cultural Intelligence Engine." It aggregates and analyzes signals and trends, enabling quantitative strategic foresight.

Although Q offers powerful technical capabilities, its original experience produced major pain points for users. The original Q "home page" required that users query the application using complex Boolean statements in order to receive the most relevant and structured insights about cultural trends. Since many or most users are not proficient in Boolean logic, they often received disappointing results. Additionally, because of the original information architecture, users could not easily access research "projects" they had previously undertaken on Q. This capability was important because most users worked on a particular project during multiple sessions over a period of days or weeks. Finally, Q employs a Sparks & Honey trend taxonomy - the "Elements of Culture" - to structure results, but this key framework was not introduced in the original home page. As a result, users often didn't fully understand query results.

To address these issues, I redesigned Q's home page. I introduced a flexible, tile-based layout to support a prioritized experience. Working with my Q colleagues, I identified four key design goals. Users needed to:

  1. More easily and effectively query "Q" to begin research projects;
  2. Quickly resume work on previous and favorited research projects;
  3. Explore and understand the Elements of Culture trend taxonomy without necessarily beginning a new project;
  4. Gain prioritized insights about cultural change without deeply engaging the application (bring information to the user, rather than always requiring the user to find it).

During 2022, AI Chat-based experiences were not available to the team, so I enabled users to query Q via one or more of several mechanisms in addition to a Boolean statement. These mechanisms included a menu-driven "Quick Search" tool, a wizard-based query builder, the ability to query by audience demographics, and querying by entering relevant URLs. I hosted these options in a prioritized and extensible container navigated via vertical tabs.

I introduced in the home page a "Recent Projects" tile so that users could quickly access previous work. Finally, I proposed and designed a, "Today's Top Elements of Culture," tile, to highlight dynamic trends and provide users a high-level entry point to learning more about the taxonomy.

The new Q home page tested very positively with users both during multiple design phase sessions and after it was released, helping make the application accessible to a much broader audience and potentially increasing its market.