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Sustainable Sanitation Alliance 

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 the SuSanA (SSA) 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 SSA advisors in Australia and the US and eventually with SSA'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.

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


1) Conducted extensive research:

  • expert review of the website

  • literature review to understand the domain space

  • analysis of previous usability study data

  • usability testing with six participants

  • data analysis

Screen Shot 2019-07-26 at 11.34.28

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.

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

Website redesign sketches 3.jpg
Website redesign sketches.jpg

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.

I expanded on one of the more promising thumbnails to create a series of hand-drawn wireframes.


Key design recommendations included:

  • integrate main site with Discussion Forum 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. 

These recommendations were presented in the form of a research article and a final report, and I subsequently worked with developers to implement parts of the plan.



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. 

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

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