Sustainable Sanitation

In 2010, I traveled to Ghana and visited Biofilcom, a sanitation start-up that was later awarded a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation grant. That business and its founder stuck with me, and I promised myself that someday I would make my own contribution to sustainable sanitation. This project was a start.


My goals for the project were:

  • Assess the usability of their website and discussion forum by    testing current users

  • Recommend improvements to the website to enhance user experience

  • Suggest potential redesign solutions to address user challenges

My Role

I was the sole practitioner on this project, working in consultation with two SuSanA advisors in Australia and the US and eventually with SuSanA's developers in Germany to implement many of my recommendations. 


  • Participants in the usability tests were located in five different countries (UK, Kenya, India, Switzerland, and Germany), resulting in scheduling and internet-connectivity challenges. 

  • Users of the SuSanA website span geographies, languages, technical proficiency, and roles.


1) Conducted extensive research:

  • expert review of the website

  • literature review to better understand the domain space

  • analysis of previous usability study data

  • usability testing with six participants

  • data analysis


2) Designed for desktop and mobile:

  • redesign of the site's architecture and navigation in Excel

  • hand-drawn sketches of home page redesign

  • wireframes in Sketch

  • clickable prototype of the home page and primary navigation in UXPin

  • mobile prototypes to solve two major navigation and

  • usability issues

Michele understood the challenge -- getting 10,000+ members more involved and interested in using our website... (a professional association). She did a user study with members and quickly turned around the results. We were then even more impressed with the astute recommendations she made. Despite having to deliver bad news about problems with our site, she was masterful in making us hungry to hear more. She was just as personable as she was professional. High recommendations from everyone she worked with here.

                                            Diane Kellogg                                            

                                            Partner, Kellogg Consultants

                                            SuSanA Advisor


Key design recommendations included:

  • integrate Discussion Forum and main site to enhance branding

  • improve navigation so users can complete tasks more easily

  • clean up unwieldy site map in footer to reduce user frustration

  • reconsider ambiguous imagery to better reflect brand and user populations

  • resolve navigation bars at top to eliminate confusion

  • reduce number of options on home page to alleviate frustration 

  • reduce clutter to make primary activities more prominent

These recommendations were presented in the form of a research article and a final report.


Michele conducted a usability study for SuSanA...and provided design recommendations to improve our website...  I was in awe at how excellent her final report to us was. The clarity of the presentation, the sequencing of the content, the images used, and the recommendations made were all superb. I told my colleagues that her report and supporting documents were 'masterpieces.' Michele did a brilliant job on the project in a rather short timeframe, and I would gladly work with her again.

                                                Elisabeth von Muench

                                                Independent Consultant for SuSanA

Home Page Redesign

1.)  Research showed that users have trouble navigating

      the SuSanA home page and can't easily find what they

      need due to too many choices and a clunky interface.

Screen Shot 2019-07-26 at 11.34.28

2.)  My initial thumbnail sketches were informed by my

      redesign of the site's architecture to create a simpler,

      more intuitive user experience with fewer choices.

Website redesign sketches 3.jpg
Website redesign sketches.jpg

3.)  I expanded on one of the more promising thumbnails

      to create a series of hand-drawn wireframes.

4.)  Using Sketch, I turned my analog wireframes into

      digital ones, then used UXPin to create a clickable

      prototype of the home page that offered a cleaner

      interface that prominently highlights main categories.