Consultant for User Experience (UX) Design and Implementation

New Naratif is a movement for democracy, freedom of information, and freedom of expression in Southeast Asia. We publish information, empower people to create change, and advocate for progressive values in Southeast Asia. Learn more about us here.

We are looking for a fixed-term (6-8 months) consultant to assist us with user experience (UX) design and implementation of our new website. If the project goes well, we would be interested in continuing to work with you on a retainer or part-time basis for future improvements/iterations of the site. 

About the Job

We currently have a website (newnaratif.com) that uses WordPress and WooCommerce, and is hosted on Digital Ocean. We are transitioning to Newspack (newspack.pub), which is a WordPress-based hosting service designed specifically for news providers. It is a project of WordPress.com and Google News Initiative. While WordPress-based, Newspack’s system trades flexibility for reliability, and is thus more akin to a template based system. Hence this job will require you to become familiar with the Newspack templates and be creative within their constraints. To ensure reliability, for instance, plugins have to be vetted before being installed (see https://newspack.pub/support/plugins/ for a current approved list).

Thus, this job is for both enhancing the useability of the current website through good UX design, and for implementing that design via Newspack’s template system.

You’ll also need to become familiar with New Naratif, who we are, what we do, our membership, and work closely with the team to improve the design and useability of the website to help us meet our fundamental goals. We have extensive user data from surveying our members and a lot of research and feedback to consider.

Job Scope

We also have an extensive spreadsheet of enhancements and fixes that we want to make to the website, which we can share with you as part of the interview process. In summary, the enhancements and fixes meet six goals, which we have divided into three stages.

Stage 1

  • Minimum useability: a staging website has already been created using the Newspack system. Study the Newspack system, bring the new website up to the same functionality as the current website, fix the most important bugs, and then help us launch the new site.

Stage 2

Enhance the site to achieve the following:

  • Communicate the Mission: For example, the site should clearly communicate our mission, vision, values; and that we are an entirely member-supported organisation.
  • Enhance Useability: For example, implement a universal search function; Reorient the site around 12 themes, and make the site easier to view and search by theme, and by country/area. The purchasing and check out process should be smooth, seamless, and easy to use. Members should be able to navigate the site easily and find information and resources easily.
  • Increase Conversion: Currently, most readers come to the site to read one article, and then leave. How can the site design guide more of them into becoming paying members?

Stage 3

Introduce new features:

  • Build a Community: We wish to build an internal community within the site where members can interact with each other, hold discussions, and engage with each other. 
  • Member Learning: The site will also be a hub for learning. We will run lessons through the site. Users need to use the site to access learning materials, lectures, discuss work with each other, and sign in to video calls. We want to incentivise user interaction, discussion, and have members engage in co-learning.

You will need to work closely with the team to create the design, implement the design (with the support of the Newspack team, who provide 24/7 technical support via Slack), and help us with troubleshooting afterwards. This includes creating documentation for essential functionality that functions as a how-to manual.

Timeline

We estimate the project will take approximately six to eight months, with an estimated breakdown as follows: 

  • Stage 1: Learning Newspack; Design, planning, and implementation of stage 1 features, leading to launch of the site on Newspack (2 months)
  • Stage 2: Troubleshooting on stage 1; design, planning, implementation of stage 2 features, leading to launch of stage 2 features. Documentation of new features. (2-3 months). 
  • Stage 3: Troubleshooting on stage 2; design, planning, implementation of stage 3 features, leading to launch of stage 3 features. Documentation of new features. (2-3 months). 

Qualifications

You must be experienced with WordPress. Familiarity with the plugins that Newspack permits, especially WooCommerce, would be ideal. You will need to learn Newspack’s template system. You should know HTML and CSS but the template system will only permit minimal HTML and CSS customisation, so it is not strictly necessary and very unlikely you will need to do any backend coding.

You may be located anywhere in the world but for ease of collaboration, we strongly prefer someone within 3 hours of Malaysia time (i.e. GMT+5 to GMT+11). You will need to be fluent in English, have good written communication skills, be very responsive over email and instant messaging, and be available for regular meetings over video call. Newspack uses Slack for collaboration; New Naratif uses Trello, Wire, and Google Suite (especially Docs, Sheets, and Meet).

To apply, please send an email to PJ Thum, our Managing Director, at pingtjin.thum AT newnaratif.com, with your CV, a cover letter, and a portfolio of previous design work. Please also include at least two character references.