American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society is a dedicated organization that is committed to delivering sensitive cancer-related information and support to create community and connection. The website hosts diverse material that can educate cancer patients and survivors, support caretakers, involve volunteers, and inform supporters. The American Cancer Society expressed concerns of the usability and visual design of their website. Thus, they wanted a UX and Visual Design consultation on how to better streamline their website for their user types.

Project Details
  • Selena Do (UX Design Intern)
  • Ariana Farquharson (Visual Design Sr. Consultant)
  • Luis Reyes (UX Design Consultant)
  • Wally Hitchcock (Project Lead)

American Cancer Society

June 2021 – Aug 2021

UX Research, UX/UI Design


Understanding The Problem

Previously, the American Cancer Society team had discovered that there are two main user types that interact with their website. The primary users, “Patient”, includes both active cancer patients and survivors, and the secondary users, “Infoseeker”, includes all people that use the website to find cancer-related materials. These users may include caretakers, volunteers, or activists.

During the requirements gathering process, we learned that American Cancer Society had a vast visual component library and style guide. From content to layout, there were several designs for components that lacked a clear differentiation, which made the website overly busy. Some of these components were less user-friendly than others. Our job was to uncover the feelings and goals of all their users and provide a clearer direction for their website experience and design.

Our first step was to create a visual inventory of their Groups, Components, Contexts, Sub-Contexts, Skins and Component Types to better visualize their site tone and styling and expose any design inconsistencies.

The Visual Inventory
Key Findings


The American Cancer Society website had a total of 216 unique components.


4iconThere was an average of 4 different styles for one component that served one purpose.


laptopiconNarrow down the design components to strengthen brand identity and ease user interactions.

Research Approach

Shortly following the creation of the visual inventory, we interviewed 12 different users (6 Patient roles and 6 Infoseeker roles) over Microsoft Teams to learn more about their relationship with cancer and the American Cancer Society website. 

Our objectives during the interviews were the following:

  1. Define the user’s process flow.
  2. Help them open up about their thoughts and feelings.
  3. Highlight opportunities for website improvements.

As we interviewed our users, we gathered notes on their feelings, influences, tasks, goals, and pain points to later map out post-interview. These notes were later reflected on empathy maps for each interview. These insights were shared to American Cancer Society and used as a direction for future website iterations.

Key Findings

Group 8

The site was a place to find hope and build community, which gave people more strength.


Group 9The site felt trustworthy and research-backed. The material empowered people with knowledge.  


Group 10The site was overwhelming to use. It was hard to search for topics. It also felt sterile and unwelcoming at times.

Reflections & Key Takeaways

This client project was insightful in many ways. This project demonstrated to me how Agile methodology sets up a flexible working environment between cross-functional and collaborative teams that will produce constant iterations of work and feedback. This project was also my first introduction of user research. I learned how to conduct user interviews with target users that used an active and shipped website, and I learned how to improve after each interview to create a more welcoming environment for interviewees to express their honest opinions and experiences.

Beyond the UX-related lessons, this project gave me opportunities to improve my consulting and presenting abilities. This project gave me opportunities to network and develop client relations both virtual and in-person. It also showed me how to deliver work to clients in a clear and informative way that would help clients transition after completing the statement of work that was agreed upon.

Overall, this project taught me the flexible and agile nature of being a consultant for clients. It taught me how to broaden my skills and how to be open to any new skills that I can learn in each new project to meet client needs.

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