The Coop is redesigning its website,
and you’re a part of it.

Taking a First Crack at a New Homepage (on Paper)

On an icy evening over Chinese take-out and protein bars, six members of the Coop’s web redesign group met for its first “charette” — design-speak for a kind of visual brainstorming session. Jeremy Zilar, an online

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On an icy evening over Chinese take-out and protein bars, six members of the Coop’s web redesign group met for its first “charette” — design-speak for a kind of visual brainstorming session.

Jeremy Zilar, an online design consultant, asked the group: when we imagine the new foodcoop.com homepage, how do we describe it?

What feelings or values do we want the new site to convey? In focus groups, what did members and staffers say they envisioned?

Some words the group came up with: ownership, accessibility, welcoming, inspiring, transparency and functional.

Next, we considered the elements that the new site might have. The list included clear navigation, alerts about the Coop, a search function, photos and video.

It’s clear that eventually, a big goal would be to enable members to log in, check their shopping status and manage their work slots.

Zilar passed out large sheets of white paper and asked members of the group to sketch out how the site might look if they were viewing it on a smartphone screen. Then we taped each version on the walls to discuss.

Some sketches incorporated clickable photos while others were inspired by Google Now, an app that acts as a personalized dashboard based on the users, their location, their preferences, etc.

For example, it might state today’s Coop shopping hours, when the next Receiving shift was starting, etc. Maybe it would even include the current weather.

Ann Herpel, a general coordinator who is a member of the web team, said she wanted to highlight accessibility in her sketch. She wanted the navigation to be easy for people who may need reading glasses.

She also wanted the site to be welcoming to people who may not be members of the Coop, but are looking for more information about it.

Two more charettes are coming up.

Check back soon for reports on those sessions.

 

How Much Info is Too Much?

This fall has been full of big ideas for the future Coop website. Our team held several focus groups to ask members and staffers for input on the redesign process. In those meetings, members hoped for everything

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This fall has been full of big ideas for the future Coop website. Our team held several focus groups to ask members and staffers for input on the redesign process.

In those meetings, members hoped for everything from a real-time feature that would tell them whether the Coop is crowded to real-time data on inventory. Is broccoli rabe in stock? And how much does it cost this week?

Receiving Coordinators imagined a way that the site might help manage the real-time arrival, parking and unloading of truck deliveries squeezing up to the curb on Union Street. Or what if they could send out an APB for preferred, skilled FTOP workers? Or let the Coop community know that Receiving has open workslots because three people just cancelled?

Evaluating Impact

Even if the dozens of suggestions the redesign team heard at the meetings were feasible —and surprise! they are not — the Coop’s staff is grappling with how much information to provide online to the outside world, and how that might affect sales.

For example, could the Coop put itself at a disadvantage with competitors if it publicizes real-time data on its inventory? It’s a question that the Coop’s leadership must take seriously.

This year, for the first time in recent memory, the Coop’s sales growth has stagnated, even as expenses continue to increase. No one knows what has caused the downturn. Was it the cancellation of new member orientations this summer while office space was being renovated? Is the new Whole Foods on 3rd Street, which opened a year ago, siphoning off shoppers?

The bottom line: Coop members are spending less per Coop visit.

Evaluating Effort

Matt Kleiman, a Coop staffer leading the web redesign with member workers, said it might be technically possible to get updates of the Coop’s inventory online. The Coop could even provide a searchable price database for members, if it wanted to devote resources to the project.

But that’s unlikely, given limited IT staff.

“There’s the whole question: should we do that?” Kleiman said in an interview. “We have a competitive advantage on price. Whole Foods could easily absorb a loss if they wanted to put someone out of business. If they had to access to our prices, they could make sure they have those items for cheaper.”

That doesn’t mean that Whole Foods is the boogie man here. “When Trader Joe’s opened, everyone was like ‘Oh my God, what’s going to happen?’” Kleiman said. “Nothing happened then. Now that sales growth seems to be stagnating, we should explore new possibilities for the Coop. There’s certainly reason for caution, but also for innovation.”

Kleiman sees another potential pitfall with the suggestion of providing members with a way of determining how busy the Coop is. This suggestion came up over and over again in the focus groups.

Members had numerous ideas for how the Coop could assess “busy-ness”: How many people are in the Coop at this moment? What is the rate of membership cards scanned at the entrance desk? How many carts are parked behind the entrance desk? How many items have been sold in the past hour? How long are the check-out lines?

“How accurate do we want it to be?” Kleiman asked. “If we say it’s busy, then people aren’t going to come and we’ve lost shoppers. Instead, the Coop just invested about $200,000 expanding the number of checkouts. Rather than creating a tool to tell members that we’re busy, we increased actual capacity by 30%.”

Prioritizing Feedback

For now, the redesign team is focused on delivering the big “ask” from members: the ability to view their Coop membership online and the presentation of information in an intuitive way.

In the coming weeks, webteam members will put together rough drafts of designs for the new PSFC website, based on the input received from members and staff. Called wireframes, these are visual guides that represents the framework of a website.

In the new year, the site will become a reality!

How Members Want the Coop’s Site Organized

Let’s talk organization. Web sites need hierarchy and structure. Sites often founder because they make it difficult for users to locate the information that they want. We’re very eager to avoid that trap. We recently conducted

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Card Sorting samples

Let’s talk organization.

Web sites need hierarchy and structure.

Sites often founder because they make it difficult for users to locate the information that they want.

We’re very eager to avoid that trap.

We recently conducted a series of focus groups to seek advice on how to set up our new site.

We asked small teams to work with a set of 65 cards.

Each card listed a type of content (“coop shopping hours”) or a feature (“shift swap”).

There were four to six members on each sorting team.

The teams were asked to group the cards into categories they thought fit together well, and then to develop a label for each group they created.

The most common card groups suggest a structure for the new website.

The recurring themes produced by the “card sort” exercise were (in no particular order):


General Info

Alternate names: General Info, About the Coop, Home, Front Page

Cards included:

  • About the Coop
  • Hours and location
  • Office hours
  • Holiday hours
  • Contact us
  • Return policy
  • Child care hours and rules
  • Coop events and calendar
  • Coop information flyers

Other cards occasionally included: Shift rotation calendar, FAQs, Mission statement, Environmental policy, Return policy


Coop News

Alternate names: Coop News, Events & News

Cards included:

  • Coop events and calendar
  • This day in Coop history
  • Coop information flyers
  • The Linewaiters Gazette
  • Classifieds
  • Links to special resources from Coop members

Other cards occasionally included: Twitter feed, Coop forums, Photo Submission, Neighborhood discounts and offers


Current Member Status Information (login required)

Alternate names: Members Only, Member Portal, Members, App/Member page before you call the Office!

Cards included:

  • Member current status
  • Member FAQs
  • How to do a makeup shift
  • Shift Swap
  • Shifts & squad information
  • Squads that require special training
  • Select a Coop workslot
  • How to change workslots

Other cards occasionally included: Shift rotation calendar, New product request form, Coop forums, Sign up to attend GM,  FTOP shifts and sign up


Produce & Products

Alternate names: Product info, Suppliers & Products, Inventory

Cards included:

  • Produce list
  • Product list
  • Produce price list
  • Inventory updates for produce
  • New seasonal produce or products
  • New product request form
  • Coop suppliers
  • Local suppliers
  • Profiles of farms & suppliers

Other cards occasionally included: Staff recommendations, Return policy, Recipes


Info on Shifts & Squads

Alternate names: Workshift Committees, Info & Squads, Member Info

Cards included:

  • Shift & squad info
  • Squad times by committee
  • Squad times by day
  • Squads that require special training
  • How to do a makeup
  • Shift rotation calendar

Other cards occasionally included: FAQs, How to become a member, How to change a workslot


Becoming a Member

Alternate names: New Member info, Join/New Member Orientation, Thinking of Joining, New potential members/owners

Cards included:

  • How to become a member
  • Register for new member orientation
  • Orientation waiting list

Other cards occasionally included: About the Coop, Mission Statement, FAQs


Coop Policies

Alternate names: Governance, Coop Rules Bylaws & Policies, About

Cards included:

  • Mission statement
  • Coop Bylaws
  • Board of Directors
  • Environmental policy

Other cards occasionally included: Return policy


Social Media

Alternate names: Social Media, Social, Media/Engagement, Internal Community, Community Events and Social

Cards included:

  • Twitter feed widget or link
  • Flickr photo widget or link
  • Instagram photo widget or link
  • Pinterest link

Other cards occasionally included: Real-time updates on how busy Coop is, Coop forums, Photo submissions, Recipes, Classifieds, Committee blogs, Links to special resources from Coop members


Info on General Meetings

Alternate names: General Meeting, Guide to GMs, Meetings, Governance

Cards included:

  • About the GM
  • Guide to GM
  • GM Highlights
  • GM Workslot credit
  • Sign up to attend GM
  • GM format
  • GM agenda committee
  • GM agenda and item submission

Other cards occasionally included: Coop Bylaws, Board of Directors


Committee Info

Alternate names: Committees, Committee Info

Cards included:

  • List of Coop committees
  • List of committee contacts
  • Committee blogs
  • Committee reports and news

Other cards occasionally included: GM agenda committee, Environmental policy


Supporting New Coops

Alternate names: Support New Coops, Hurray for Cooperatives

Cards included:

  • Info for New Coop Organizers
  • Donate to the Fund for New Coops

In Conclusion

The web site team is now developing a plan for the site that builds on this “card sort” exercise. We’re also taking into account information from our web site survey and focus group discussions.

Team members will share details on next steps soon.

What Do Members Want from the New PSFC Website?

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? In short: How can we

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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?

In short:

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:

  1. An opening about the current website, how it is used and new features that should be added.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Other ideas

  • 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.

 

The Photo Team: Permissions, Story Ideas and Worries about Yahoo

In October, the new web photo team began capturing facets of Coop life: wheels of blue-veined cheese, colorful bandana-clad food processors, and staff massages are just a few of the images on our new Flickr photo stream. As the

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Humorous out of stock signs. Photo Valery Rizzo.

Humorous out of stock signs. Photo Valery Rizzo.

In October, the new web photo team began capturing facets of Coop life: wheels of blue-veined cheese, colorful bandana-clad food processors, and staff massages are just a few of the images on our new Flickr photo stream.

As the digital photo collection grows, the Coop’s tech team must grapple with how to store the images and make sure that backups exist.

One major worry? How much trust to put in Yahoo, which purchased Flickr in 2005, and which many blame for its decline in relevance since. In the tech world, Yahoo’s reputation for corporate takeovers is less than stellar.

“I’ve been burned by Yahoo before,” said Matt Kleiman, a Coop staffer leading the web redesign effort with a team of member volunteers. He aired his misgivings at a photo meeting in the 2nd floor conference room.

“I had to create a Yahoo account to get us on Flickr,” Kleiman said. “It made me really uncomfortable.”

He discovered that Flickr no longer offers a “pro” account option, which used to allow for unlimited photo and video uploads and storage. Now the paid account merely blocks ads from the Flickr interface. Storage is capped at one terabyte. That’s a big chunk of space, but it wouldn’t serve the Coop indefinitely because high resolution images make for huge files.

Signage to help members in food processing with their shift, Park Slope Food Coop. Photo Valery Rizzo.

Signage to help members in food processing with their shift, Park Slope Food Coop. Photo Valery Rizzo.

Jeremy Zilar, a design strategist at The New York Times and Coop member helping with the redesign, agreed Kleiman had reason to be wary.

“Flickr used to be a lot like the Coop,” Zilar said. It billed itself as a community, not just a business. Users appreciated that the terms of service agreement was in plain English.

Cheese being sliced in Food Processing. Photo Valery Rizzo.

Cheese being sliced in Food Processing. Photo Valery Rizzo.

If users wanted to shut down their accounts, Flickr was known for allowing them to download their files — a stark contrast to other photo sites that often charge users for retrieving their own images. Since Yahoo took over, many photographers say the site has suffered.

Misgivings aside, the team agreed to stick with Flickr because it remains popular and other services don’t seem much better.

“We may just need to separate ourselves from Flickr with a single layer,” said Kleiman, referring to a method of backing up the photo files outside of Flickr. “So if something happens to Flickr, we just change that layer.”

Photo Permissions and Using Photos to Tell the Coop’s Many Stories

Valery Rizzo, one of the member photographers, tried out the new PSFC model release, which allows people to give permission to be photographed.

Of roughly 20 people she met during a receiving shift, only two declined to sign the release. She also encountered some staffers who were camera shy.

Ann Herpel, a Coop General Coordinator, said she knew of at least three staffers who didn’t like to have their picture taken. Possibly, there were others. She and Kleiman agreed it would be a good idea to let all staffers know about the photography effort so they could officially opt out.

“Do we need a shoot list?” Rizzo wondered. She had been tagging photos in Flickr so that they could be separated in albums by subject matter.

The team brainstormed about what kind of stories photographers could tell. There’s time — how the Coop changes depending on the hour. For example, deliveries start as early as 4 a.m. Zilar said he was interested in the Coop’s signage. “Everywhere you go there’s some sign that tells you where to go,” he explained. “Some look great and some are beat up.”

Signs in the Coop's 2nd floor meeting room.

Signs in the Coop’s 2nd floor meeting room.

Herpel said signage was a fun topic because some at the Coop looked “official” (there’s a signage committee, naturally) but was actually ad hoc. One recent example: the small white laminated sign lashed to the Union Street benches urging members not to leave there pets there. It’s since disappeared.

Other topics for visual storytelling: the Coop’s suppliers, the inventory squad, the overnight cleaning squad and the holiday rush, which has already begun. One corner of the 2nd floor meeting room is already stacked high with chocolate coins for Hanukkah.

foodcoop.com: By the Numbers

When redesigning a website, it’s a good idea to make sure that you understand how people are using the site. Often, data will help you prioritize problems that you suspect exist. But sometimes, the numbers

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When redesigning a website, it’s a good idea to make sure that you understand how people are using the site.

Often, data will help you prioritize problems that you suspect exist. But sometimes, the numbers yield unexpected results, highlighting challenges or opportunities that you didn’t know were there.

Combined with results of the survey, our website analytics data will help us prioritize and design a better Coop website for members, prospective members and the general public.

What do people use the website for today?


The basic unit of measurement used to evaluate website traffic is the page view: a single page on a website loaded once at a point in time.

In general, the more views a page has, the more important it is to visitors to your site.

Over half (51.8 percent) of the Coop’s web traffic goes to the home page, produce price list and shift swap pages.

Another 7.9 percent of traffic is related to squads (times, rotation calendar, etc). It makes sense that the pages that visitors reference most frequently often involve the workings of the Coop, and it’s a reminder that these pages are crucial to the success of our new site.

How do people arrive at foodcoop.com?

Another important metric: which pages are the first that visitors arrive at (called a landing page).

Examining the top landing pages on the site reveals something unexpected: while it’s no surprise that the home page is the most common landing page, the produce price list has almost as many landing page visits as the home page!

While it’s tempting to conclude that many people have bookmarked the price list and refer back to it often, only 9.3 percent of visitors come to the page directly – the rest are coming through search engines like Google and Yahoo.

Digging further and looking at the keywords that searchers use to arrive at the page, many of the terms were generic, including “price of lettuce” and “cost of carrots.”

If you search for these terms in a fresh browser (Google personalizes your results based on your history, so it’s not representative unless you sign out and clear your browser’s cookies), the Coop’s price list is the first result for many of these terms.

This partly explains why the page gets so much traffic: people looking for a reference point on produce pricing (most likely not even Coop members) are visiting our site via the produce price list.

They’re sadly most likely going to be sorely disappointed to not find the Coop’s amazing prices when they go out to shop, but this page could be an opportunity to engage with the broader public in the future.

How does foodcoop.com analytics data compare to survey data?

By and large, the results of the survey align with the analytics data:

Current Reasons for Visiting Site

Current Reasons for Visiting Site

As with the website data, survey respondents cited shift-related info and the produce price list among the top reasons that members go to foodcoop.com.

Yet one difference stands out: the No. 1 reason that members indicated they visit the site is for hours and contact information, but those two pages account for just 3.2 percent of page views.

One possible explanation for this is that visitors have to hunt around for these pages to get to them, and sometimes just give up.

This theory is supported by the improvements that survey respondents said would be most valuable to them: 20 percent said the site needs to be easier to navigate and 10 percent suggested making Coop hours more prominent.

However, part of this discrepancy is purely because of the mismatch between a reason for visiting the site and the number of page views required to accomplish the task: swapping your shift, for example will likely take many page views as you search for classified listings and maybe make a post, whereas reading the information about hours only takes one (once you find it).

We’ll be looking more at our usage data as we move forward with the design phase, so stay tuned for more posts about how data are informing the redesign process.

Learning to Survey

Surveys: Easy to propose, hard to do well. “Let’s put together a survey!,” the Coop Website Redesign team decided. “It’s easy, we’ll write out a list of questions, send them to a bunch of members. And

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Surveys: Easy to propose, hard to do well.

“Let’s put together a survey!,” the Coop Website Redesign team decided. “It’s easy, we’ll write out a list of questions, send them to a bunch of members. And then we’ll have answers from Coop members for a bunch of different aspects of the Coop.”

We wanted to run our survey digitally, via email and the Internet, which meant creating a nice design that was quick and easy.

A few mouse-clicks later we had a lovely template. But then we confronted the most important step: what are the best questions?

Writing

Over the course of many emails and meetings, the team wrote an initial set of 36 questions.

Our next version included even more questions because we were so eager to take advantage of this rare opportunity to survey Coop members.

(To survey the Coop, we needed — and received — General Meeting permission.)

We included every curiosity point we had regarding the Coop, its website and member satisfaction (or irritation) with both.

The topics ranged from serious to silly. A sampling:

  • Broad demographics of the membership.
  • Longevity at the Coop.
  • How people heard about the Coop.
  • Have people recruited others to the Coop.
  • Why and how we miss shifts.
  • Squad history (if people changed squads).
  • Satisfaction with shopping.
  • Satisfaction with work shifts.
  • Use/fear of the paging system.
  • Least favorite shopping day/time.
  • Favorite cheese.
  • Etc.

We’re glad we didn’t put members through that version of the survey. But it was helpful to write it all out.

We also knew our digital survey should reflect our long-term technology goals for the redesign itself.

Our survey needed to:

  • Work well on the web and on devices like smartphones.
  • Help survey-takers skip over whole sets of irrelevant questions, depending on responses. (Known as logic-switching.)
  • Reassure and firmly state that information transmitted was secure and privacy was a priority.
  • Have a decent parallel print version, too.

We chose TypeForm, an up-and-coming survey website that offers tidy designs and attention to detail. TypeForm supported the in-survey logic-switching we needed, along with design customizations, mobile-device support and an emphasis on accessibility and data security. We looked at some competitors, too, but few addressed so many of our needs.

Editing

Once we had our software and survey draft, we reworked our questions and survey-taking steps.

Therein lay another digital challenge: collaborating over Skype from our various daytime jobs and offices, each of us pointing at different sections of our own screens and becoming thoroughly confused.

Our team editing reduced the question list a bit, focusing on the essentials and saving spare questions for theoretical future surveys.

We also had the advantage of calling on experts.

One of the Coop’s biggest assets is the diversity and skills of its membership. We sought out members with experience crafting and conducting surveys, focus groups and technology research in general.

We asked a few to help us edit and refine our survey and it made a big difference. Our member-experts shaped a well-intentioned but long survey into the efficient, smart content the Coop membership encountered.

Our sincere thanks to Torbin Brooks and Martín Beauchamp for their honest and willing help across a number of survey facets.

Analyzing

Once we sent out our survey to Coop members, our teammate Mark Gallops provided point-in-time analyses of the responses, to see if we’d hit our mark with our questions. You can read about survey responses here.  Our survey withstood professional scrutiny and provided very helpful guidance for our next redesign steps.

In the end, the survey was a major step forward in our redesign effort.

It helped us to build in efficient ways of evaluating the progress on our redesign. It helped us find new Redesign teammates and volunteers with skills and enthusiasm for the Coop. And it helped us try out surveying as a tool we can use around the Coop in the future.

This one has been a success, largely due to the Coop’s collaborative culture and its talented members.

What Do Members Want from a New Coop Website? Survey Says…

In the first post about our survey’s findings, we focused on who completed the survey. Now, a report with the full findings from the survey is available right here! (PDF format) Let’s discuss how members are

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In the first post about our survey’s findings, we focused on who completed the survey. Now, a report with the full findings from the survey is available right here! (PDF format)

Let’s discuss how members are using the website, and the improvements they want.

As we noted in our earlier post, less than half our members regularly visit the website — 47% visit the site once a month or more often.  Fully one in nine (11%) have never visited the website.

People primarily visit the site to get shopping hours or contact info for the Coop, to do a shift swap or to learn the current week cycle (A, B, C, D).

About a quarter say they use it to look at the produce list and prices, or to get info about an upcoming General Meeting or sign up to attend.

Very few use it for the classifieds, to find recipes, or to get information about the work of the committees.

coop-chart-1

In the most important question of the survey we asked members to describe, in their own words, how the website could be improved.

Of the 1,500+ people who completed the survey, 1,144 (a very strong 73%) gave suggestions on how the website could be made a better experience for them.

  • Improve the shift swap (39%) – this was the greatest “pain point” for members, and produced the most detailed comments and suggestions on ways to improve it
  • Enable members to look at their current status, next shift, shifts owed, etc. and manage their shifts (27%)
  • Improve the design, make the site easier to navigate (20%)
  • Provide a complete list of products at the Coop, ideally with prices and whether they are currently in stock (15%)
  • Prominently present Coop hours, cycle week and important Coop news and events (10%)
  • Info on new and fresh or seasonal products, staff recommendations (8%)
  • Have an online form to request new products (6%)
  • Provide real time info on how busy the Coop is (5%)
  • Offer online forums where members can post questions, discuss issues (5%)

In addition to this open-ended question, we offered members a list of six improvements or new features and asked for them to be rated on how valuable they would be.

As in the earlier question, the improvements that ranked the highest involved the shift swap, allowing members to look up their shifts and shopping status online, and having real-time info on how busy the Coop is.

Value of New Site Features

To determine if these improvements are equally important to members, we looked at the ratings by length of membership.

We found that the most popular improvements — a better shift swap system, online member info, and a “busy” meter — are tops regardless of how long members have belonged to the Coop.

Value Rating by Tenure

One other interesting finding is the level of social media activity among newer and long-term members. Newer members are more active with social media, especially Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Even with these differences, most of our long-term members (10 years or longer) are active with some social media (79%) and 71% are using Facebook.

Soc Media by Tenure

Be sure to check out the full report for more.

How Do You Take a Photo at the Coop?

If you’re a member enthralled by Hepworth Farm’s luscious concord grapes, you might snap a smartphone picture and post it to your social media network. But if you’re documenting the Coop for the Coop, it’s not

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If you’re a member enthralled by Hepworth Farm’s luscious concord grapes, you might snap a smartphone picture and post it to your social media network.

But if you’re documenting the Coop for the Coop, it’s not so simple.

That’s what the photography team working on the PSFC website redesign discovered at our first meeting this week.

The team of photographers — professional and amateur, plus two full-time Coop staffers — discussed building a library of photos for use in Coop media, such as the Foodcoop.com website, Twitter and other outlets.

Five of us met in the tiny brick-walled 2nd floor conference room, while another four joined via Skype.

Example of an old stock photo that has been used for years.

Example of an old stock photo that has been used for years.

First, there’s the issue of photographing members.

Members have an expectation of privacy while shopping. (Don’t Tweet me rooting through the ice cream case!)

The photography team wants to be respectful, so if we get a good shot, we discussed how to ask for permission to use it. We’re hoping to use a model release, which is being drafted.

Photos taken outside the Coop, such as the one at the top of this webpage, don’t warrant such a release. Out in public, no one can reasonably have a right to complete privacy, which is why any one of us might wind up on the cover of the New York Post.

One of our primary missions is to build a library of images that can be used to illustrate blogs posts like this one, Coop brochures and other media.

One of our team members already takes photos for the @foodcoop Twitter stream.

We discussed the kinds of photos we’d want to take: soup kitchen workers, the compost squad, the folks who do the Coop laundry and walk the shopping carts.

For photographers, there’s rich material outside the shopping floor.

Ann Herpel, a General Coordinator, said she often fields queries from international news organizations looking for photos of the Coop to illustrate stories.

She generally sends them the same stock photos of the Coop’s interior. Because of privacy issues, the people in the photos — if any — are usually staffers who have already OK-ed their usage.

Our team’s photographers plan to use Dropbox to manage photos, giving them archive tags with helpful keywords.

We are leaning towards using Flickr, the online photo site, to catalog projects.

Then there’s the issue of storage. Where will the files live?

Jeremy Zilar, a Coop member who works in design strategy at The New York Times and is helping lead the redesign effort, suggested Amazon S3 cloud storage as a solution.

The Coop has its own server for digital storage, but it can’t host photos that are used as illustration on the Internet. Digital photos can be huge, eating up memory and bandwidth on a typical computer server.

Stay tuned! We’ll document the next steps here.

The Coop’s Website Survey — The Initial Topline Results

We’re happy to report we learned a lot from our survey. This post shares some of the highlights — a full report with all of the survey findings will be shared with Coop members in

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We’re happy to report we learned a lot from our survey. This post shares some of the highlights — a full report with all of the survey findings will be shared with Coop members in two weeks.

First, key numbers:

Since July, more than 1,752 Coop members visited the survey.

Of our respondents, 1,530 have completed it, which is almost 10% of the active Coop membership of approx. 16,000.

That’s an impressive percentage, from many angles. We hope it demonstrates that membership surveys could be conducted in a similar manner for future Coop questions.

Most members took the survey with a PC or laptop, 79%.

Survey Completes by Device Used

Survey Completes by Device Used

The completion rates for different devices paints an interesting picture.

Overall, those who started the survey completed it 89% of the time. The subset who took the survey on a smartphone completed it only 74% of the time. While that is noticeably fewer, keep in mind that great attention and focus is needed to complete the survey on a small screen.

The data suggest that it is harder to take the survey on a phone: those using a computer finished the survey in 6 minutes, 14 seconds. Those using a phone spent over a minute longer, at 7 minutes, 46 seconds.

The difficulty in answering questions, and typing comments, on a phone led to longer sessions and to more members who abandoned the effort.

What kind of members have been taking the Coop website survey? Let’s dig into the results.

Of the 1,530 active members who completed it the largest groups are on the Shopping (34%) and Receiving (19%) squads.

However other major responsibilities in the Coop like FTOP, Food Processing and the Office are represented as well.

Of those that took the survey, which squads were they on.

Of those that took the survey, which squads were they on.

Members taking the survey tend to be newer to the Coop, having joined in the last few years.

Survey takers have been members for an average of 7.6 years (with a median of 5 years).

This is slightly shorter tenure than for all members of the Coop, which is 8.2 years based on the 15,000+ currently active members (median of 6.1 years).

Those who have been members for 3 to 5 years were notably more likely to complete the survey (26% of survey takers vs 19% of all Members), while very long-term members (those active for 15 or more years) were less likely to fill it out (13% of survey takers vs 17% of all Members).

This may reflect the fact that newer members are more web-savvy and active, and have more interest in the Coop improving the website.

The Coop does not collect the ages or birth dates of its members, but many people in the Survey provided their ages to help us understand what they want from the Coop website. Almost 70% of members who took the survey provided ages.

The average age of these 924 members is 40.4 years.

56% are under the age of 40, and only 22% 50 or older. (The median age is 37 years.)

The average age of those members that took the survey.

The average age of those members that took the survey.

Our members joined the Coop for a variety of reasons.

The most important of these are the quality of the food, the low prices, the wide selection of organic products, and a desire to support the coop movement.

A look at the primary reasons people joined the Coop.

A look at the primary reasons people joined the Coop.

Most members (89%) report they use the Coop website, but they do not use it regularly.

11% percent say they never use it and another 41% use it only a few times a year. Just 9% report they visit the site weekly.

A break down of how frequent those members that filled out the survey reported that visit the website.

A break down of how frequent those members that filled out the survey reported that visit the website.

While the website is not heavily used, Coop members are generally active with social media. Facebook is regularly used by over three-quarters of our members, while Twitter and Instagram are used by over 40%. Almost a fifth of members regularly use Pinterest or Google +. Notably, only 13% report they do not use any of these social media.

A breakdown of the social media sites that are the most popular among Coop members.

A breakdown of the social media sites that are the most popular among Coop members.

Survey results on the feature Members want from the new website will be highlighted in a new blog post within the next week, and the full report will be available soon after.

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Design by Cooperation

We believe that an organization’s digital presence should reflect its values and principles — right down to the way that digital structures are built and organized.

That’s why our process for redesigning the website will embrace the same spirit of cooperation that is so integral to the Park Slope Food Coop itself.

Step 1: Survey
Step 2: Interviews
Step 3: Group Card Sorting
Step 4: Identity
Step 5: Design
Step 6: Development

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