Protégé : Redesigning Ecosia Images


Design research, UX, UI



Sketch, Invision



July 2020





The problem

When Ecosia’s users want to find answers to their questions, they can search the web and find related images on Ecosia Images. While analyzing the state of the different products - we discovered the Ecosia’s Images was the lowest-performing product vertical (ex: search results page, news, videos, maps etc). After first collecting feedback, we noticed it didn’t work the way our users expected resulting in less page view and negative feedbacks. On a more general level, we knew it was difficult for them to find visual information when navigating through the search engine. While we envisioned Ecosia Images to be an intuitive service for discovering and browsing images, there we clear limitations to it.




I approached the project with a mindset of attempting to truly understand the unmet needs and why Ecosia’s users have long struggled using the Image service.  At the time, we had a poor amount of quantitative tracking product data to use as a starting point. I started by using qualitative research methods and crossed the results with more quantitative results. After analyzing and clustering results, I was confident with the knowledge established and was able to highlight the main pain points:
  • What are the different ways people search for images?
  • How do they use the information and compare results?
  • How do they narrow down their search so they find what they are looking for?
  • How do they react to …

User journey

In order to establish a better understanding of how users are using and interacting with Ecosia Images service, I interviewed 10 users from different countries and with a different experience. It gave me the possibility not only to have a thorough perspective of the tasks they try to perform but also how what they feel along the way so we would know where to focus on. By breaking down all actions to perform,




The research started by collecting user feedbacks across the different touchpoint on our search engine, related to the Ecosia images journey and stored in our CRM. After analyzing and clustering them, I ran more in-depth interviews with different user profiles so I could understand their main motivations, dig deeper into why and how they search for images online and how Ecosia fits in their daily life. Once I was confident with the knowledge acquired and started to identify the main issues, I decided to cross these insights with more quantitative results from a bigger survey. This one was designed and sent out to different batches in order to make sure the sample size would be properly represented.
  1. Users are annoyed by poor performance when rendering images
  2. Users feel overwhelmed by the density of visual information while taking a glance at the list.
  3. Ways to navigate across images and open files were a compromise for users who didn't feel like Ecosia Images is a service that works for the way they work, especially on mobile.
  4. The way pieces of information were presented led users to feel overwhelmed and hindered them to read properly the page and scan results.
  5. The set of features didn’t allow users to easily browse results and navigate through them while comparing results.



How might we

How might we improve the experience when users browse results and get more recommendations so they could easily compare results?



Once we developed a better understanding of how users use the service and diagnosed the main issues, we isolated each step of the main user journey, the objective for Ecosia was also to establish behavioural metrics as well as success metrics to starting point to guide future iterations.



Make reading easy and delightful