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Working to meet the needs of the world's poor by conducting and publishing research on financial inclusion


The Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) at the World Bank needed to redesign their information architecture, create a content strategy, and update their website design to better serve their users.

CGAP is a group of 30 different organizations within the World Bank that works toward financial inclusion of the poor. They do this by conducting and publishing research, creating tools, and providing thought leadership for financial institutions worldwide.


The entire project was about seven months long from start to finish.


Myself as project lead and primary content strategist; two designers to help conduct workshops and create prototypes; a partner agency (MediaBarn) to conduct in-person usability testing in DC.


Make the site more modern, easy to use, and easier to navigate and find relevant content.

Research phase

We kicked off the project with a research phase to understand the product, the users, and the client.


CGAP is in a similar space to many nonprofit organizations, but was falling behind in serving users.

We conducted a competitor/peer review in in the same way that we would evaluate competitor websites in the for-profit business world. Peers reviewed included:






The findings showed us that imagery was integral to telling a story successfully. We also saw instances of data and statistics being used to express the mission of the organization and reviewed terminology and language to understand what terms are commonly used in the industry.

Shockingly, many of the sites were not mobile-friendly, which was doing a major disservice to users. CGAP had many opportunities to get it right and lead the way in the industry.


I inventoried and audited all of CGAP's content in order to understand what was and wasn't working.

I integrated Google Analytics data to understand SEO value and traffic, and inform content recommendations. 

I found that much of the very valuable research content was in PDF format. Since many target audience members access the site via mobile phone with limited bandwidth, we recommended that CGAP migrate as much content as possible onto the web in text format to make it accessible to more users, while still enabling users to download PDFs or epub formats if they preferred.


We conducted an onsite discovery workshop to gather stakeholders in one room. 

The workshop agenda was a custom variation of the discovery workshop I've previously presented. I facilitated design thinking exercises and brainstormed with a dozen stakeholders in attendance. We worked toward stakeholder alignment and solidified organizational and project goals.


We partnered with a local firm in DC (MediaBarn) to conduct usability testing on the previous site in order to understand the current problems in more detail.

The usability testing revealed confusion about categories of publications as well as a lack of understanding of the difference between blog posts and publications.

Baseline usability testing gave us metrics to test future prototypes against. It allowed us to gauge usability success very accurately.


We conducted in-depth interviews with users and stakeholders in order to understand their needs, contexts, and requirements.

User interviews revealed subtlety in terminology usage and labels and helped us correct our assumptions and begin to inform our information architecture and content strategy recommendations. 

We conducted stakeholder interviews to understand individual and departmental goals and objectives, as well as their plans for future financial inclusion programs and research that might impact the site.

Some of the deliverables from the research phase

CGAP goals poster

CGAP goals poster

Poster we created for client's office to keep the goals of the project and organization top of mind

Impact vs Effort chart

Impact vs Effort chart

Chart of our recommendations plotting impact and effort of each recommendation

Content inventory spreadsheet

Content inventory spreadsheet

Small piece of a large content inventory spreadsheet

Design phase

After completing the initial research and discovery, we began the design phase.


We brought stakeholders together for a content and information architecture workshop.

I sampled content across the site to create cards for card sorting activities. I reviewed the previous research with the group, and focused on the findings from user interviews to ensure that user-preferred terminology and language was prioritized.

I facilitated a series of card sort activities to redesign the site categories and taxonomy vocabularies. We also did a series of sorts to brainstorm ideas for the sitemap.

The results from this workshop were a draft of a content model, a set of taxonomy vocabularies, and a draft of a sitemap to test with users.


I designed a user test of the draft sitemap to find out if we were on the right path.

We conducted a tree test survey using the Treejack tool and publicized it to CGAP users. We had 32 responses and were able to successfully revise the sitemap and navigation model based on the feedback. 


We created several sets of wireframes and went through many rounds of revisions to ensure the interfaces reflect the cumulative knowledge we acquired. User feedback, the client's business, and the technology the site would be built with were considered.

After many rounds of review, we made the prototypes clickable using InVision in order to user test them. A small subset of the wireframes are viewable below.


We worked with a local partner firm in DC to usability test our wireframes and designs.

My team does conduct usability testing, but CGAP needed an onsite usability testing team and lab, and we were happy to partner with another team and get unbiased feedback on our designs.

The team used the same script and prompts from the baseline usability testing in order to assess the performance of the prototypes against the previous website.

A few deliverables from the UX design phase

Information architecture diagram

Final recommendation for site navigation

Publication wireframe

A page to summarize a long publication and give users a choice for how they would like to read

Long-form publication wireframe

A wireframe for book-like content with chapters and pages to be read on the web

Topic page wireframe

Wireframe for a page of content automatically created by a topic tag

Collection wireframe

A manually curated collection to enable editors to create timely collections of content




We traveled to the client to present all of our research, design work, and to make final recommendations for next steps.

The vision for the future site was a comprehensive, practical knowledge tool where users could search for, save, and share content. We recommended integrating external content, revamping the content structure, taxonomies, and sitemap in order to facilitate content discovery.

We also recommended creating an open content API to further facilitate content discovery. We wanted to enable all partners and users to consume content and re-publish CGAP research on their sites and apps.

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