This website had been redesigned a couple of years previously, when the client went through an extensive rebranding process. The brand was still very up to date, with plenty of great collateral around it to use, but the website had gradually just lost focus. Every couple of months something would be added to the home page, without much regard for the other content on the page.
Essentially, it had lost it’s focus and story around it.
Another problem was the lack of conversion from internal pages. The client had around 20 products and services pages, but being an IT client, there wasn’t a huge distinction between ‘Products’ and ‘Services’ and this is something we wanted to explore further.
We started this project with a few assumptions that I wanted to test out. One of these was that there was an element of confusion between ‘Products’ and ‘Services’.
In order to have a look at this, I got our test participants to look into ‘Security’ on the website. The idea was to see if they could easily find that service, and how they went about looking for it.
In addition, I got all of the users to give their feedback on the current homepage, which we had a feeling was a bit too busy.
User Testing Results
We did three tests and found that the results were very much along the lines of what we were expecting. In fact, although we’d been focussing on how ‘busy’ the home page was due to the quantity of content, one thing we hadn’t asked about was the ‘hero’ image at the top of the page - and consistently this came up in the user feedback, that the image was too busy, and distracting, causing the text to be challenging to read - not a good first impression for the page.
In addition, our assumption that users weren’t sure of the differences between products and services was verified, as multiple users brought this up.
Here’s the finalised presentation I made based on the user testing:
The feedback that we gathered from users was analysed, annotated and presented alongside the other statistics that we had from Google Analytics, Hotjar tracking and Crazy Egg tracking.
We had a ‘Products / Services’ section on the home page that users clearly weren’t clicking on, taking up a lot of screen real estate, and really not providing much help to the user.
What we decided to, with the home page, was clean up the top image and also update the main headline copy.
This was a quick fix to make, but would be key, as it was the first thing the user saw on the page.
After this, we undertook a bigger project in re-organising the whole of the products and services section on the website. The impact this had on the homepage, was being able to get rid of the ‘Products / Services’ section and replace it with a new ‘Services’ section.
Instead of having their 20 offerings grouped as 10 services and 10 products, we changed the offering to all be services, with four main categories that were easily recognisable and distinctive - Cloud, IT Managed Services, Security and Networks.
Something else we found to be important to users that was missing in the website, was the recognisable logos. We found that the users very much thought this site was aimed at small-medium sized businesses, and that it was quite hard, without any substantial social proof on the home page, to commit to a brand like this.
We chose to add some partner logos right up near the top of the site, so that users would see recognisable logos right away, as well as add a testimonial video, with a long-term client, near the bottom of the page.
The hero of the new page, was to be the four main service categories, to drive traffic to the new content that we had created.
Having an active blog, we felt it was key to leave this on the home page as well.
Designing the page
Once we agreed on these changes, we got to work on designing the home page. My role in this involved multiple versions on paper, before committing to a lo-fi wireframe, that I uploaded to InVision, for the client to comment on and add their thoughts.
This was our finalised sitemap we came up with, to help guide the services area and the home page, which needed to provide an easy path to all the content:
Once we had completed all the design updates and verified our changes had worked, by re-visiting some user testing, we started to look a bit more into adding some moments of pleasure to the site through micro interactions.
We changed the home page icons to animate on hover, adding a little but of gloss to the home page and just elevating it that extra little bit to set it apart.
As verified in our second round of user testing, we achieved everything we set out to do in this redesigned home page. The aim was to prepare the website for paid traffic, as well as just refine that user journey on the home page - both of which aims we were able to achieve.
The ‘cleaner’, simplified home page has achieved over 200% average time on page, as well as encourage users to read deeper into the website - the average pages per visit shooting up by over a page per visit since the redesign as well.
This was only the first step in a longer term strategy, the next step of which will see us build the new services pages, moving away from the current content heavy model, to a very much landing-page based model, where all the pages are capable of receiving PPC traffic and offer downloadable content.