Work and Portfolio

Here you can read short summaries of some of the digital service design projects I’ve worked on over the past few years. 

User experience (or UX, if you like) is at the centre of all my work, whether I’m designing prototypes or managing a cross-functional team delivering a larger project.

I’ve divided projects into rough topics but all are underpinned by an approach that puts users at the heart of the design process. You can scroll down this page to browse projects or look in a bit more detail at specific themes via the links below (some pages are password protected, please contact me via sharonakean at g mail dot com for access).


Projects overview


Zopa 2014 – service (product) design and customer experience

Zopa responsive website screenshots

Zopa is the UK’s largest peer-to-peer lending service. It’s digital platform enables individuals to lend money to people without going through a bank.

Brief: get more loan applications

Concept: explain the product more clearly and accessibly and build trust in the brand. Make it easier to apply for a loan.

Why: improve customer experience and get more customers

How: maps all customer touch points, identify business and user goals, identify opportunities to improve experience (pain points and gaps), create user persona, refine experience through content, structure and functionality, ongoing testing and iteration

My role: UX design, content design, analytics, testing, IA (information architecture), SEO strategy, product management (roadmap and strategy)


Take a look at the Zopa website and, for the full end-to-end experience, try applying for a loan.

Zopa loans calculator


Zopa 2014 – persona development

Zopa borrower persona

Brief: identify audience/typical Zopa loans customer (borrower)

Concept: easy to use quick reference guide to typical customer

Why: to inform and set strategy for service design and delivery

How: gather existing insight (qualitative and quantitative), conduct audience research, mine business insight, validate assumptions, iterate. Persona structured to ensure usability across business functions.

My role: project lead, audience research, surveying, analytics


Persona completed and now being used by teams across business functions to inform work.


Race for Life 2013 – smartphone app (Apple and Android)

race for life app iphone screenshot

Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life is a series of 5k or 10k women-only fundraising events, which are raising money for research to help beat all 200 types of cancer sooner.

Brief: improve digital engagement with Race for Life participants

Concept: build a smartphone app to engage and support Race for Life participants

Why: increase the amount of money participants raise when taking part in Race for Life

How: identify business and user goals, design experience (features) to enhance UX, select agency and build team to deliver project

My role: UX, team management, agency management


The finished product is in the iTunes and Google Play stores.

racefor life app iphone  screenshot 2


Race for Life 2013 – content strategy and user experience 

Race for Life website multi devices

Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life is a series of 5k or 10k women-only fundraising events, which are raising money for research to help beat all 200 types of cancer sooner.

Brief: create a content strategy that communicates all information about the event (product) and allows users to easily find answers to all the questions they have.

Concept: simplify information, make information easy to find

Why: improve website performance (conversion) and reduce the number of calls to customer services

How: identify business and user goals, align to determine content hierarchy, design content and website structure

You can read more about how this was achieved in a rough content design guide that we created while working on this project.

My role: content design, UX, analytics, testing, team management, product management (roadmap and strategy)

Results: take a look at the Race for Life website.

Screen Shot 2014-07-03 at 15.32.18Screen Shot 2014-07-03 at 15.32.30  Screen Shot 2014-07-03 at 15.32.46


Race for Life 2013 – conversion rate optimisation

Race for life application form 1

Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life is a series of 5k or 10k women-only fundraising events, which are raising money for research to help beat all 200 types of cancer sooner.

Brief: redesign event application process to optimise for multi-device users (mobile and tablet).

Concept: simplify the process, reduce user effort and adapt for mobile users

Why: conversion rate dipped as the use of mobile devices drastically increased

How: match user and business goals, strip out unnecessary content, use analytics and testing to inform design process, including integration with PayPal and JustGiving APIs, create new design.

My process and thinking is summarised in this blogpost.

My role: UX design, analytics, testing, team management, product management (roadmap and strategy)

Results: take a look at the Race for Life website.

——— 2012 – content (service) design

gov uk mobile view of website

The best place to find government services and information. Simpler, clearer, faster

Brief: content design in the run-up to the launch of in 2012, the culmination of a project to streamline numerous government department websites into one single domain

Concept: make information about government services and policies accessible to everyone digitally


How: Use analytics, SEO, taxonomy and Plain English to simplify large volumes of complex information, creating a service (website) that is easy to use and navigate, enabling users to find the information they need. The website is a responsive design that is accessible on any device.

Read more about my approach and process in this blogpost.

My role: SEO, content design (full cycle), taxonomy

Results: take a look at

gov uk inside content desktop


City of Melbourne – 2012

city of melbourne desktop website

Corporate website of the City of Melbourne local government and associated events websites (Melbourne Music Week, Moomba festival and That’s Melbourne listings website.

Brief: digitally present information regarding City of Melbourne business and events.

Concept: website content and IA design

Why: so information is easily accessible and available to the public

How: review information, design content and structure.

My role: SEO, content design (full cycle), taxonomy, UX

Results: take a look at


FutureBook hack 2014

FutureBook hack invited developers, designers and entrepreneurs to come together for a weekend of brainstorming and problem solving in a previously untapped sector: book publishing.

Brief: discoverability – help people discover books they didn’t know existed

Concept: connecting people with books via their taste in music

Why: currently book recommendation engines are based on sales and strangers. Introducing an element of personal choice and collecting a unique dataset allows a new type of discovery mechanism

How: ask users for their favourite song and favourite book and use this data to offer a meaningful and unique suggestion for what book to read next

My role: UX design, rapid prototyping, product development

Idea generation and refinement (pencils and paper)

[image of sketchbook]

Prototypes (Axure)

Prototype 1 Prototype 2

Initial ideas explored engaging users via a quiz that asked questions about their taste in music. It also offered the option to import online music playlists. A further iteration of the concept (after the hack event) refined the idea down to offering users the option to select a favourite song and book, which would generate a recommendation for what book to read next. This focuses on the idea of pairing datasets to generate recommendations. Both prototypes are accessible via the images below.


We were given 90 seconds to pitch our idea to a panel of senior folk from the publishing industry.  Our team received a ‘highly commended’ for the initial prototype.

Read more about what happened at the FutureBook hackathon in this blogpost.

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