special blend gravel
After several successful camps, the founder of Special Blend Gravel wanted their website to embody the same special blend of passion, camaraderie, and fun as their in-person events. My job was to ensure that the information architecture allowed potential campers to find all of the information needed to make a decision on joining and then preparing for the camp. I also wanted to help potential campers overcome fears concerning their cycling skills and if the camp is worth the cost.

My Role:
Lead UX/UI designer and researcher

Target Audience:

Passionate female, and female-identifying, intermediate to advanced cyclists who want to improve their race times and make loads of friends.

Key Challenge:

Conveying the need for riders to be intermediate to advanced without scaring off potential campers, while expressing the specialness and value of the camp.

Research Study Details:

I conducted user interviews with past campers and coaches. I inquired about their fears going into camp the first time, why they decided to sign up, what they took away, and how they would describe the experience as a whole. I also asked if they had attended other sport camps and how those differed from Special Blend Gravel.

I then looked at other outdoor sporting camps such as Unbound Gravel, Ladies All Ride, and GRVL.

design tool kit
To make this project work, I used:
User Interviews
website design - site map and low-fidelity prototype
Initial Concepts & Wireframes
  • Home screen should provide an overview of the camp plus allow potential campers to see all camp offerings
  • Compelling photos of enthusiastic campers riding their bikes as well as enjoying the classes and sitting around the campfire
  • An FAQ section to help campers prepare for the camp
  • A full break-down of each camp, describing what's included, the coaches, the routes, and schedule
  • Fun, whimsical illustrations and a friendly, non-competitive feel

After running the founder through the low-fidelity prototype of the site, I started to create a high-fidelity prototype. We were on an extremely short timeline so I planned a usability study for the high-fidelity prototype. The items the founder wanted to test related to the copy and content of the website so having the high-fidelity version of the site was imperative to the usability study.

brand guidelines highlights

The founder of Special Blend Gravel worked with illustrator Lisa Congdon to create the brand guidelines. Icons include a bicycle, coffee cup, and the sun. The colors are cheerful pastels and the logotype font is a hand-lettered alphabet.

high-fidelity website design

A high-fidelity prototype following the flow of registering for the fall camp can be found here.

usability test findings for the high-fidelity prototype

I conducted a remote, moderated, usability study with 5 participants, 3 past campers and 2 prospective campers. Each participant was asked to look over the site and find several pieces of information, such as a schedule, what to bring to camp, and the cost. Past campers were also asked if they felt the site captured the feeling of the in-person experience.

  • 1
    More information needed overall
    Most users wanted more information to make the decision to register, such as example routes from past camps and photos of the lodging.
  • 2
    Improve the copy
    Most users felt the copy, which was transferred from the old site, could be more compelling in conveying the specialness and premium experience of the camp.
  • 3
    Better photos + more testimonials
    Most users wanted to see lots of smiling faces and campers enjoying time off the bike. They also wanted to see testimonials on the home page as well as each camp page.
the final website

You can find the website, and sign up for a camp yourself, at http://specialblendgravel.com.

the impact

Next Steps

  • Help the camp founder set up a mailing list and create a monthly marketing schedule
  • Work with the founder to create a list of future content she can create at each camp such as short videos, photos of the food and lodging, and new FAQ items
  • Create a survey campers will receive post-camp to have a fresh supply of testimonials every six months
  • Update the site quarterly with new content and follow online camp trends such as founder videos and Ride with GPS plugins

What I Learned

My biggest challenge with this design was working within the time frame. Due to scheduling with the camp's team members, I had 2 days to construct the prototype, 1 day to conduct the usability study, and 4 days to build the entire website. I learned that I can work really efficiently when needed but having the copy finished ahead of time would have made the process run more smoothly. After the usability study revealed that the copy taken from the earlier website would need to be improved, that the information architecture of the new website would not be enough to address all of the user problems, the founder was happy to work with me to rewrite key parts, especially the About the Camp blurb.


The right photo and combination of passionate words can a potential buyer into an enthusiastic registrant. I'm delighted with the final website design, which while simple helps assuage the fears of campers taking a big leap and spending big money on themselves. I look forward to continuing my relationship with Special Blend Gravel because the more women are out there on bikes, the better.