It’s been too long since I’ve posted about a redesign project and I finally got around to writing a few posts. I’ll start with the new Institute of Gerontology (IOG) website. The before (left) and after (right) are pictured above.
Over the last four years the IOG has changed and, well, frankly, the Web has changed. There were a few IA challenges that we had to tackle. Our primary concern was combining the two completely separate menus. The work at the IOG falls in to four pillars and this was one navigation. The other was a more action based navigation. Since there was a lot of cross over in the menu items it was hard to tell which menu their visitors were using. We used a combination of heatmapping and Google Analytics event tracking to determine where and how people were clicking. This was crucial to determine how and where people were looking for specific information.
Once we had a navigation that accomplished both the IOG’s and their visitors’ goals we started visualizing what was important to be represented on their homepage. Their audience is typically older individuals looking for one of three things: research, events and registration, or resources. So these items had to be prominent.
After presenting the wireframes and walking through the user experience with the IOG we determined that option no. 3 was the best choice. It gave enough attention to the centerpiece and the three main action items. It also felt the most balanced and allowed for flexibility where the others did not.
Since the previous IOG website launched the institute has gone through a slight re-branding and we wanted to ensure that it made its way on to the website. Our process was to create three wireframes based on the IA and UX before adding the visuals. Because we did so much work up front to determine the user’s experience we only needed to create one visual direction to be consistent with previous discussions and meet everyone’s expectations.
Although content is last in this post it’s something that we start as soon as the information architecture is approved. Even though we reduced the number of pages by one third there was still a lot of writing to do (about 90 pages). Each page was migrated one by one and cleaned up to be current and work within the new architecture. In the end it’s great that users can get to this content quickly and when they do, they find accurate information.
View the new Institute of Gerontology website: http://www.iog.wayne.edu/