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Halloween Horror Nights 2019 Stranger Th

Universal's Halloween Horror Nights

Website Usability Testing & Content Strategy


Optimizing the

experience of a themed website to improve the UX/UI and increase conversions.


Danielle Justilien

E-Commerce Experience Intern

Kendra Strink

E-Commerce Optimization & Experience Manager


Adobe Analytics, Mouseflow, Workamajig


3 Months

Project Overview

In 2018, I interned for Universal Orlando, a world-renowned theme park and resort. Every year, Universal's premier event, Halloween Horror Nights (HHN), takes place from mid-September to early November. This presented a unique opportunity for me to be a part of the launch, ongoing maintenance, and take down of HHN's themed website. The purpose of the site was to get users excited about that year's Stranger Things theme, allow them plan their visit, and purchase tickets. 

After the site went live, my responsibilities included assisting with conducting usability tests, generating insights from the data, and revising content to provide a better user experience. Although I am not able to disclose the details of this project, there is still much to be shared about my experience.

How might we optimize the website to resolve issues, improve the UX, and increase conversions, while maintaining the integrity of the themed experience.

Usability Testing

Our team utilized a wide range of analytic tools to uncover issues, improve usability, and increase conversions. These metrics guided many of our design decisions and helped to improve the overall UX.

KPI Analytics

Using Adobe Analytics, I was able to track key performance indicators for the Halloween Horror Nights website. The metrics included site visits, bounce rates, conversion rates, e-commerce revenue, and much more. With these insights I was able to recognize trends in website usage.

Example: I noticed a tremendous dip in sales revenue on a specific day, which made us aware of the website's server being down during that time.

Heat Maps & Click Tracking

Using Mouseflow, heat maps provided a clear indication of user's focal points while visiting the site. They also revealed opportunities for identifying how to prioritize content on each page.

Example: After reviewing heat maps from a page, I identified a better way to arrange content so that users were able to find the information they needed more quickly.

Screen Recordings

When usability issues arose, screen recordings were utilized to identify specific areas within the user experience that were causing user issues.

Example: Screen recordings helped me to identify specific technical difficulties within the website.


Analyzing funnels helped to better understand the user journey and identify where users were dropping off or abandoning their cart.

Example: When looking to purchase a ticket, I found that more and more users abandoned their cart the further they got into the checkout process.

A/B Testing

A/B testing was used to test minor changes in UI elements and website copy. This testing allowed for us to let user tell us what they preferred.

Example: We tested which call to action button copy led to more clicks on the button.

Drawing Insights

These metrics encouraged me to look at the data and ask 'why?' Asking why users responded the way that they did helped to draw insights about the website's user experience.

On a weekly basis, our E-Commerce team (a team of 5) would gather together in an informal meeting to review analytics and results from usability tests. My role included analyzing these metrics, generating conclusions about the user's pain points, and brainstorming solutions.

In a wrap-up sent out after each meeting, I would dive further into the data to identify user pain points or opportunities for improvement to the UX. These insights would lead us to either another round of usability testing, or to the implementation of changes to the site.

Revising Content

Once a problem to address was identified, our team would immediately work to implement changes. After agreeing upon design solutions, I would be assigned small projects to implement the design changes. These projects included revising copy, changing page layouts, swapping photos and files, adding new elements, and more.


Working with our developers, I would submit the revisions for them to update the site to reflect the changes. The process began by capturing screenshots of the current website element or page and annotating the images to clearly identify the changes that were being made. I then utilized Workamajig, a project management software, to submit a project specifying the content changes including the screenshots, project scope, details, touchpoints, and any other necessary information.

If any further clarity was needed, I would set up a meeting with the assigned developer, or pop over to their desk to flesh out the changes.


1. Using data to inform design decisions

This experience showed me the incredible value in user metrics by learning to interpret data into actionable design and content solutions. I learned that there are user stories to be told from each set of data that users produce. Without having qualitative data, I just had to find out what those stories are.

2. Big results can come from small improvements

Most of the content revisions that were made were minor changes to the user experience, but some of those changes yielded big results. Seeing improved metrics from small changes taught me that users are truly responsive to good design.

3. Time is money

Being that Halloween Horror Nights lasted just a few months, any changes to the user experience needed to be made quickly and efficiently. As thousands of users visited the site each day, I learned that the UX could make or break purchasing decisions and greatly impact revenue, so all changes needed to be implemented rapidly.

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