Case study -
The assumption of the project was to audit a website of one of the 20 largest Polish companies in 2018. The most important project goal was to improve communication with users.
The biggest challenge in this project was the size of the website. The portal was very extensive (over 300 subpages and over 1.8 million visits in 2018). Another characteristic feature was the content for many, diverse groups of recipients.
A huge amount of data and industry-specific content made the design of a new information architecture a challenge.
We started the project from workshops with the client. The workshops lasted two days and the participants were employees from different departments of the company.
During the workshop, we wanted to get answers to the following questions:
• Why is it necessary to improve communication?
• To whom do we communicate?
• Why do we communicate?
• What do we communicate?
To get answers to these questions, we used, among others, such methods as:
- User stories
- Creating a happy path for the most important scenarios
- Card sorting
- Specially designed exercises
The workshops allowed us to get to know the most important recipients of the portal, the purpose of their visits and the tasks they do there. Thanks to the workshops, we also learned what are the most important areas of the portal, which are key parts of the portal and most frequently visited by users.
We got to know the problems reported by individual user groups and their expectations regarding the portal.
All the information gave us a great base to conduct a website audit and design a new information architecture.
During the website audit, we used the following methods:
- Heuristic evaluation
- Cognitive walkthrough
- Checklist, meaning review of the website using specific usability guidelines
- Benchmarking, meaning comparing the website with other industry-related websites
- Inventory of the website, meaning overview of each subpage of the website, content and links verification
All information and conclusions after the audit were collected in the report. The report included a description of the methodology, a list of the found problems with usability and recommendations for changes. List of problems together with recommendations on how to solve them was the most important part of the report.
One of our tasks was to create a new information architecture. We have created new menu categories and proposed several solutions that will work in such a complex site.
Among other things, we proposed a double menu. Thanks to such, we could create a less-deepened website structure and highlight the most important areas of the site. One menu grouped categories related to the work of the corporation, the published data, and documents, etc. The second menu grouped such categories as a career, press, etc.
We also proposed a new layout on subpages, we wanted to remove existing blocks of texts and make links between various areas of the website. Thanks to this we have solved the problem of repetitive content on the site.
The new layout also highlighted on the subpage the most important information by creating a separate space for them.
We also audited the content and prepared a communication model. It included tips for the web writer about how to write content for the site and a list of tools to use when editing the texts.
We also audited the site for legal and accessibility purposes.
What have we learned during the project?
The biggest challenge of this project was the size of the audited website. The large scale of the project meant that we could verify our organizational skills, ability to plan the project and implement project stages. The project was completed on time, and the client’s weekly update about the progress ensured a good rhythm of action.
It was the largest website we have audited so far and for which we have created a new AI. We have learned how to work with such a complex portal with many subpages, categories and types of content.