I was approached by the founder of Hashtag Local due to my illustration skills but was quickly brought on to their team as the UX Designer. Hashtag Local is an organization and website that helps community members in Sarnia-Lambton contact and support local businesses — a mission statement that's become incredibly resonant over the past two years of the COVID-19 pandemic.
logo + branding
I started by developing a visual identity for the organization. I wanted to create something that was bold and differentiated Hashtag Local from existing, larger social media platforms (namely Facebook). We ultimately decided to move forward with the red logo mark and a warm-toned colour scheme.
Over the last year, I have worked closely with the founder of Hashtag Local and our lead developer to create both mid-fidelity and high-fidelity wireframes for the site. We base most of our components off of the UI library called Vuetify and make custom updates as required to satisfy our user's needs.
Hashtag Local began as a site to tell the stories of the people behind local businesses. These stories remain a critical part of the site but have evolved to engage users more. Our analytics indicated that the stories received the most traffic yet failed to convert most users and showed a high bounce rate. To address this, I designed an action bar for the end of each story. Once users reached this component, we prompt them to further support the organization using our points and gamification strategy. Since this solution was implemented, the action bar has increased our engagement site-wide.
Hashtag Local has two split user groups: the community members who mostly consume content and the businesses that create and post content. Our goal for the citizen feed was to provide concise updates as to what was going on in their community while not becoming a time suck. I designed the feeds to be organized by different types of posts for ease of navigation.
For our business users, I had to balance two needs: designing flows that let users efficiently create content and quickly see how that content was performing. I designed templates for different types of posts, such as announcements, events, stories, and even restaurant specials to give businesses inspiration. This was especially important in the early days of the site to make posting as frictionless as possible. We worked in gamification mechanics such as a profile completion progress bar and dashboard statistics to encourage businesses to participate in the program and provide the information that citizen users were looking for.
Since the launch of Hashtag Local, we have seen the engagement from both the Sarnia-Lambton community and its local businesses grow. I am continuing to work with this team to bring new and exciting features to the site as we continue to understand our users and better address their needs.Check out the live experience!