Proposed marketing website navigation

Marketing Site Navigation


One of the first tasks I was given post graduation was to make an events page more discoverable on a marketing website. I was given complete and utter free reign of the website and let loose. Honestly, I had never done something like this before so I did what any other sane person would do and Googled.

How I went about it

I read a lot of articles on my commutes and came to the conclusion that a competitor analysis, analytic’s and card sorting would do the trick. So off I set about learning how to use Google Analytics. Thankfully they have an extensive support area and many a people have written lovely blogs on how to retrieve the information I needed. Now I had some data to make some informed decisions.

What I found out during research

Analytic’s revealed that the events page attracted around 700 page visits per week.

I also discovered that there were lots of pages that were only linked to within paragraph copy and suffered poor page views. Bounce rates were high and the user flows weren’t what we expected at all.

I started to track the analytic’s weekly for 10 key pages in a spreadsheet and plotted them on graphs which became my dashboard. Then I set about tweaking the navigation and watched the effect it had on the numbers.

What I did next

Using Microsoft Visio I mapped out the current navigational flow and reviewed the ease of getting to pages.

Then I conducted a card sorting exercise with various team members and displayed this on the wall so it would become a conversational piece for the company.

Current navigation

Current navigation

Proposed navigation

Proposed navigation

Now we had a solution for the navigation which made the events page more accessible as it was included in the global navigation and improved access to other pages. However, tweaking the navigation alone wouldn’t solve all the event page issues so I took another look at the customers journey on that page.

The events page itself did not make it clear which audience each event was aimed at. There was several child pages all with completely different branding and the copy across them all varied wildly.

I created some wire frames using Balsamiq and shared these with the team. I asked marketing to review the copy, front end to remove unnecessary pages and design to give the page a fresh look.

The result

Original navigation and events page

Navigation and events page May 2015


Improved navigation and events page

Navigation and events page August 2015

Proof is in the pudding – the event page climbed to 980 page views per week and we saw a dramatic increase in other key pages such as small businesses and customer happiness.

What I learnt

Analytics’s is key. Don’t start making decisions without consulting the numbers, but also remember that they are not gospel. Take a look at other influencing factors for example, the blog attracted around 1500 extra page views when the CEO posted.

My tip would be, know your numbers inside out and when there is a dip or increase, investigate. Find out why, what caused it, should we do more or less of this?

til next time

Card Sorting Participant J

Getting Down with Card Sorting

Thought I would share some exploratory research from my final year project, HexaPlauqe, that I completed with Alex Hussey.

Our brief from the RSA Student Design Awards was “Design a way for people and communities to better connect to and celebrate heritage”. As it was so broad we had a lot of options but were not sure what heritage meant to people.

We got talking about heritage vs. vintage and retro and decided to survey people to discover their viewpoints. Whilst designing the survey we thought about having a question where we presented the participant with a few photos of objects such as a war medal and ask them to categorise it as either heritage, vintage or retro. As we were deciding on objects I thought, why don’t we expand this? The idea for changing our research to Card Sorting was then born.

We began by selecting objects we associated with the different categories (Roman coin, war medal, space hopper), and those we thought were more subject to opinion due to authenticity issues (baking bowls, town bike, fashion) and created cards with an image of the object and a label.

We then divided a whiteboard into quadrants – one for each of the categories, heritage, vintage, retro and other – and asked a few test subjects to place the cards into what they deemed to be the most appropriate category.

However, after completing a couple of tests we reviewed our process and decided to remove the words from the cards so that people could make their own interpretation. We also adjusted some of the images to make them clearer for example fashion went from a general blogger’s picture of their outfit to one of Twiggy in the 60’s accompanied by an image of current designer Orla Kiely’s 60’s inspired outfits.

Blogger's Fashion

Before: Fashion Picture

Comparative Fashion

After: Fashion Picture

We also added objects for literature, film and historic architecture. The last change was to switch the ‘other’ category on the quadrants to ‘classic’ and allow participants to place objects that didn’t fit one of the four categories outside.

Card Sorting Objects

The Final Collection of Card Sorting Objects

Here are a few of photos of participants responses. I scribed everything participants said when placing objects and circled (in red) the object they most identified with and why.

Participant - Adele

Participant A – Masculine vs. Feminine

Participant - Chrystal

Participant C – Strict Vintage Criteria

Participant - Hannah

Participant H – Authenticity

This exercise was great as it gave us both quantitative and qualitative data. We were able to observe participants dilemmas and thought process which lead to insights such as masculine and femininity and the importance of authenticity. In addition, we could also analyse the frequency that each object appeared in a category.

For example, the town bike ended up in all four quadrants as many couldn’t decide if it was heritage, as it was first designed a long time ago, classic, as it has withstood the test of time, vintage, as it is now fashionable to own one, or simply retro.

Items like the floral fabric very much depended on people’s personal connections and experiences. Many placed this item in retro although questions of its authenticity were raised – some identified it as a modern Cath Kidston print, whereas others thought it may be original 70’s wallpaper.


A Selection of Results

Through doing this Card Sorting exercise we learnt that many of the interpretations people have of these words are subjective, and there is not a definitive definition for any of them. People interpreted the categories based on the connection they had with the items and their feelings based on this. Many of those interviewed had their own specific ideas as to what constituted each category, but still had difficulty in placing all of the items.

I’m really glad we chose Card Sorting as it was incredibly insightful and inspired our final design to focus on personal connections with heritage. I think this is a really great research method when you’re presented with a broad term that needs defining, and was my favourite piece of research we carried out for the project. I urge you to give it a go, let me know how it turns out 🙂

til next time