What are the most annoying features of our current site?
What information about the Coop would members find most useful?
How can a new site help our staff manage the Coop more effectively?
How can we make the Coop’s site far more compelling?
To better understand this mission, we recently conducted a series of five focus groups — three with a total of 38 members, and two with 35 full-time staff.
The discussions had three parts:
- An opening about the current website, how it is used and new features that should be added.
- An exercise in which small teams (four to six members) worked together to organize 65 cards listing the types of information or features that could be offered on the site.
- A wrap-up in which participants identified the information that they felt was most important to present on the homepage of the new site, and the features that would make the site more valuable.
In this note we recap what we learned from the discussions about the site. In the next one we publish we will describe the key learning from the “card sort” exercise we did in these groups.
What We Learned
Several themes were voiced in all five groups. Many reflected the findings in our website survey that 1,530 members completed over the summer.
These themes were:
- The current site’s design is not clear or user-friendly.
- The information should be better organized. Commonly sought information should be presented on the homepage, or clearly labeled and accessible with only one or two clicks.
- The shift swap is challenging to use, and often does not help members find a swap.
- Members want to check their work/shopping status, and to have this information available through a protected login.
- They expect the site to present basic information prominently on the homepage – for example, the current cycle week, shopping hours, Coop contact info, and important Coop news (including changes in shopping hours or product recalls).
- They want the site to be easily accessible with a smart phone.
- A new design should include more photos, and have a more visual, less text-heavy presentation.
Basic information that should be featured on a new homepage:
- Current shift week and work cycle schedule.
- Today’s shopping hours, and shopping hours by day.
- Contact information for the Coop.
- Information on how busy the Coop is currently.
- Important Coop news, changes to schedule, product recalls, etc.
- Member login link to check working/shopping status, next shifts, make-ups owed.
- Information from Coop social media like Twitter or Instagram.
- Access to Coop produce and product lists.
New Feature Requests
- A personal log-in so members can check their shopping and work status.
- A better shift-swap tool.
- Real time info on how busy the Coop is.
- A list of produce and all the products carried by the Coop.
- Updates on products that are new or seasonal, and products that are out of stock.
- A list of the staff and squad leaders of the Coop with photos.
- For FTOP Members, a way to use the site to sign up for shifts and manage their upcoming work schedules.
Staff described features that would help them manage:
- A list of squads, their duties and their squad leaders, with photo and contact info
- A list of members on each squad, with contact information to help squad leaders communicate with their teams, and squad members communicate with each other.
- A way for staff coordinators to communicate easily with squad leaders.
- A way for squad leaders to get help from other shifts or FTOP workers when they are faced with team shortages or high no-show rates.
- A detailed summary (or demo videos) of the skills and responsibilities required on the shift that squad leaders could use to train and educate their team members.
- A way to post work shift positions that the Coop needs to fill.
- More information about the history of the Coop, with a timeline, photos, milestones and notable events.
Several staff members asked to have an area on the site that provides a list of all full-time staff, with names, photos, responsibilities and profile information that staff members would like to share.
Many staff and members asked that the tone of the site be friendlier, as well as more inviting and accessible. They want the site to emphasize community and the collaborative relationships that the Coop strives to foster.
- Information on key resources, including the Membership Manual and Linewaiters Gazette, presented in a easily searchable (non .pdf) format.
- Post shifts that are open, and provide a method to sign up for them online.
- More FAQ’s on Coop topics of broad interest, including “How to do a makeup?” and “How does FTOP work?”
- A way to submit product requests online, with information on follow-up.
- A way to submit a question to the staff without calling the office.
- An improved Coop calendar that shows upcoming events in a visual format.
- A shopping map of the Coop highlighting where products are located by aisle.
- A way for members to post questions in forums, which could be answered by other members.
- A way for members to see a list of products they have purchased at the Coop, and how much they have spent.
Information and resources about the Food Coop
Some Staff members also suggested that it would be helpful for the new website to offer a compilation of links to all the articles, reports, books, videos and profiles that have been done about the Coop. This resource can be readily offered to those curious about the Food Coop, its mission and practice, and to those who are doing new research, stories or video reports about it.
The information would also benefit those who are interested in starting a new food coop. It could save staff coordinators time from fielding calls to answer basic questions from new coop organizers, or writers and journalists.