Case study -
The goal of the project was to audit a website of one of the 20 largest Polish companies in 2018. The most important project aim was to improve communication with users.
The most challenging factor of this project was the size of the website. The portal was very extensive (over 300 subpages and over 1.8 million visits in 2018) and contained content for many diverse target groups.
A large amount of data and industry-specific content made the design of a new information architecture challenging.
We began 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 workshops, we wanted to find 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 the answers, 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 actions they took on the site. Thanks to the workshops, we also learned what were the most important areas of the portal, which parts of the portal were crucial and most frequently visited by users.
We got to know the problems reported by particular user groups and their expectations regarding the portal.
All the information gave us an excellent foundation to run a website audit and design a new information architecture.
During the website audit, we used the following methods:
- Heuristic evaluation, namely website audit using J. Nielsen’s heuristics
- Cognitive walkthrough, namely entering the role of the service user and walking the happy path as one
- Checklist, namely a review of the website using specific usability guidelines
- Benchmarking, namely comparing the website with other industry-related websites
- Inventory of the website, namely an overview of each subpage of the website, along with content and links verification
All information and conclusions after the audit were gathered and presented in a report. The report included a description of our methodology and actions, a list of the usability problems we had found, and recommendations for changes. The 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 for the website. We created new menu categories and proposed several solutions that would work for such a complex site.
Among other things, we proposed a double menu. That allowed us to 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, published data, documents, etc. The second menu grouped such categories as a career, press, etc.
We also proposed a new layout on subpages, as we wanted to remove existing blocks of texts and make links between various areas of the website. Thanks to this, we solved the problem of repetitive content on the site.
The new layout also aimed at organizing data in such a way that the most crucial and necessary pieces of information would be highlighted on a subpage by creating a separate space for them.
We also audited the content and prepared a communication model. It included tips for the web writer/editor on how to write content for the site and a list of tools to use when editing the texts.
We also audited the site for accessibility purposes and made a legal assessment.
What have we learned during the project?
The most challenging factor 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 realize the project stages. The project was completed on time, and the client’s weekly update about the progress ensured good pacing of the 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.