2017

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Taking Quality Online

ASQ’s Houston Section used Six Sigma to redesign its website

by Jamison V. Kovach and Fatema Tuz Zhora

Websites are an important communication tool for any organization. Professional organizations, such as ASQ, use their website to share important information with members about professional development meetings, educational courses, certification exams and more.

Several member leaders within the ASQ Greater Houston Section felt that its current website did not effectively communicate this information to the section’s members, and it seemed that that it took an excessive amount of time and effort to complete tasks using the current website.

Address the problem

To address this issue, the section used Six Sigma’s define, measure, analyze, design and verify method to redesign its website.

This redesign project started by defining the current state of the website by using a sitemap, a high-level visual representation of a webpage or site. Next, interviews were conducted via phone and at the section’s professional development meetings to identify members’ and member leaders’ needs regarding the section’s website. These interviews involved four open-ended questions:

  1. What do you use the ASQ Houston website for?
  2. What do you like about it?
  3. What do you dislike about it?
  4. What suggestions do you have for improving it?

Based on the responses, more than 100 interpreted needs statements were developed and organized into an affinity diagram so the redesign team could analyze the information.

Define the necessities

After a subset of 18 key needs statements were identified, a survey was administered to members and member leaders to help establish the priorities of the redesign. Based on survey responses, nine needs statements were identified as the top-rated users’ needs, including:

  • Using a clear homepage layout.
  • Providing menus that facilitate finding information quickly.
  • Concisely communicating valuable information.
  • Including information about section events.
  • Implementing direct and quick links to important information.

Metrics were developed to assess each top-rated users’ need to ensure that all were appropriately addressed in the redesign. Using the section’s current website as a point of reference, baseline measurements for each metric were collected with the assistance of members and member leaders at the section’s professional development meetings.

Plan the redesign

Next, member leaders suggested other websites they felt were informative and easy to use. These websites were reviewed to identify best practices and develop preliminary design ideas for the new ASQ Houston section website. Based on these ideas, a mock design of the new homepage layout was created, and this was later revised with input from the section’s member leaders through several iterations.

Additionally, a future state sitemap was drafted to illustrate the proposed layout of the redesigned website. The final homepage layout and sitemap were used as blueprints to build the new website while working with the web hosting company hired by ASQ Houston.

Analyze the result

After the redesigned website was launched and had been in use for several weeks, verification measurements were collected to assess the performance of the new website. The same metrics used to establish the baseline measurements for the redesign project were measured again using the new website as a point of reference. A comparative analysis was performed and the results indicated that the redesigned website performed at least as good as and often better than the former website.


Note

  1. For more details regarding this redesign project, visit asqhouston.org/how-this-website-was-designed.

Jamison V. Kovach is an associate professor at the University of Houston in Texas. She holds a doctorate in industrial engineering from Clemson University in South Carolina. Kovach was awarded ASQ’s Feigenbaum medal in 2010 and inducted into the International Academy for Quality in 2011. Kovach received her lean Six Sigma Black Belt certification from North Carolina State University in Raleigh. She is a senior member of ASQ and past chair of ASQ Houston.


Fatema Tuz Zohra holds a dual master’s in technology project management and strategic foresight from the University of Houston. Zohra received her Six Sigma Green Belt, ISO 9001 lead auditor and strategic foresight certifications from the University of Houston.


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