Research and structuring
I started the process by trying to understanding the users, their pain points, and what we could solve with this project. Unfortunately, I was not given direct access to users for data privacy reasons (because I was a freelancer and not directly employed by Springer Nature). As an alternative, I opted to pick the brains of the people overseeing the products as they should know their key users inside and out.
With the teams help, I crafted eight user personas to help guide me when working on the product. I wanted these to be really detailed and look from different viewpoints to try and cover the lack of direct user contact.
After understanding who was using the products, I wanted to collate and organising a master list of the products themselves, so I could research what their purposes were as well as how they functioned.
The main outcome of this research was a database containing a master list with all of the different products, who they served, what brand owned them, etc. I then broke these down into different categories to see if I could understand a method of grouping them together for easier searchability.
Based on the user profiles I came up with a tiered categorisation approach that funnels users down the road that suits them best. The funnel opens up with three different approaches; user goals (eg. publishing), user occupations (eg. Researcher) and service types (eg. promotion).