Lead User Experience and Product Designer

The Project
In 2016, I lead a team of UX and UI designers to overhaul the digital experience of Taglit-Birthright Israel, one of the largest Jewish non-profits. Birthright Israel is an educational trip to with over a half million participants. Each year, roughly 50,000 Jewish young adults navigate Birthright's website to find and apply for their ideal trip. Powered by user research, we reshaped their branding, social presence, web and mobile experience to help increase conversion and brand awareness for the organization. 

The Challenge
Birthright Israel is a multi tier organization with a complex multi-step user application. The organization is comprised of dozens of steak holders and years of internal politics. Our goal was to navigate the complexity of the project and provide a strong voice for the end user. All facets of the website, trip application, mobile app, organizational branding, and legacy systems were taken into account when designing the new Birthright Israel website with a distinct focus on creating a better trip finding experience. 
The legacy trip application had hundreds of potential user flows depending on the trip season, referral organization, country of origin, religious or interest preference, and participant age.  Similar to an E-Commerce marketplace like Amazon, Birthright Israel also offers trip options by competing trip providers. All UX decisions had to ensure that the system would not display bias towards a specific trip provider. Our task was to create one seamless user experience and deal with the complexities behind the scenes.

Our Process
I began by compiling in depth user and system architecture research compiling the needs of each potential user and participating organization. With a complete understanding of the legacy Sharepoint backend and with the data fully compiled, I traveled to Israel and proposed a new system architecture.
Inspired by the atomic framework, my team and I built a component driven, scalable design system. While many sketch tools were still in their infancy, we discovered and customized unique workflows to ensure seamless collaboration and version control for our team of local and remote designers. Our final design system had a completely new user experience, design language, technical implementation strategy, and functionality documentation. Once the development partners were identified, I acted as lead product manager for the first phases of implementation. 
In total, this project had a team of 10 and lasted roughly 12 months. 

Powered by optimized paid media and great UX, Birthright has since seen record breaking increase in applicants and brand awareness and was featured by Facebook for its tremendous success.
A peek into this project:
User Flows:
When starting this project, I began by doing user interviews, creating personas, and user journeys. With that created, I developed navigational flows for the site for each user and scenario. 
Below are a few documents from our user research and site mapping work:
Powered by a deep understanding of our users, and an outline of the required navigational flows, we began creating both low and hi fidelity wireframes for the site. This allowed us to share and iterate our vision without getting caught up in aesthetics. 
Below is just a sample of some of those wireframes:
Design System
Once the core site was designed, we began working on the UI for our website. Rather than approaching this as a set of pages, we developed a robust design framework to ensure the platform would be both flexible and scalable. Inspired by the Atomic Framework, created a multi level design system and exported our design library as a set of components to be used for page layouts.
Below are a few screenshots from design framework phase:
Developer Handoff
As part of my role as product director, I lead the effort to identify and onboard our developer partners. This included helping write the RFP, identifying stack requirements, designing system architecture, flying to Israel to onboard the Israeli dev team, and organizing and exporting our design assets.

Below are a few screenshots and documents from this phase:
Interaction Design
While this was out of scope for our project, I worked privately with a motion designer to develop interaction design mockups to display our vision for how the site would work and ensure the developer team built the site using a client-side framework such as angular or react to achieve the effects we were looking for.
Below are some sample animations we created:
Site Overview:
The site we built took over a year and was created by over a dozen people. While there are many components to the system we built, below are the key components to the Birthright website experience.
A key component of the new Birthright website is the trip marketplace. We designed a dynamic trip component that interacts directly with third party trip data. Along with a complex set of rules and filters, we allow users to quickly identify the best trips for them while randomizing result ordering, so each trip provider gets a fair shot at being selected. Once selected, the user is prompted to create an account and begin their application.
Inspired by Facebook pages, we built a customizable microsite experience for each competing trip providers. When a user visits a specific trip provider's page, they can learn more about the organization, request support, or browse through the trip offerings of that specific trip provider. This encouraged trip providers to drive traffic to our site without the fear of losing their lead.
The legacy Birthright trip application was developed and maintained by a 3rd party vendor. We worked closely with the remote team to develop an updated application flow and UI design to work coherently when embed within the Birthright site.
Facebook Case Study
Facebook Link
Web App Prototype
Invision Link​​​​​​​
Website Documentation
Google Docs Link

Mendy Seldowitz - Project Lead / Head of Product
David Yarus - Strategy
Glenn Grieves - Project Management
Gal Reinfeld  - Client Lead

Jesse Stein - Copywriter
Sruly Lipszyc - Product Designer
Tsuriel Eichenstein - Motion Designer
Shakti MB - User Experience Designer
Kelsey Hunter - Freelance Designer
Molly Hensley - Freelance Designer

Contractors - Research, Product Design
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