Upon joining The Tomorrow Lab, and amidst client work, I was tasked with suggesting improvements towards a redesign of our own website. Being a new team member, I was able to take a considered view without much attachment.

Also without understanding the rationale or context of the previous design decisions meant I had a clean slate to work from.

Open and transparent

Here at The Tomorrow Lab, there’s regular workshops between the web team to help spread ideas and best practice within the company. Coupled with our informative blog we believe in sharing ideas and opinions. That’s why I’ve decided to share every stage of this redesign explaining design decisions, any restrictions as well as explaining how we approach web projects.

Initial project planning

Every project starts with similar questions to help determine a business’ objectives that guide every stage of the process. Every future decision should be discussed in the context of these objectives, and ultimately they will help gauge the successfulness of this redesign.

  1. Who is the target market for this website?
    B2B, public sector, marketing departments.
  2. What is the outcome we’re looking for?
    Lead generation (case studies are important for these).
    Providing expert information for dissemination.
    Recruiting good people.
  3. What are we looking to say?
    How we can improve their online experiences and help to improve key areas such as conversion rates, revenue, increased visits, organic traffic etc.
    We are a forward-thinking and exciting company to work for.

Analytics

It’s important to gather an extensive understanding of the current website’s performance. By assimilating it’s successes and failures, we can identify areas of improvement. These will have to tie in closely with both the business objectives and the design audit.

Unfortunately our previous site has only been live for 4/5 months so we have limited data however there was still some interesting information.

  • Homepage has a bounce rate of 31.09%, very low! (Users probably need to go further to find out more).
  • Most popular user journey from homepage is to About (17%), Web design/dev (17%), Contact (6%), Digital Marketing (6%).
  • About is the 4th highest pageviews probably because of the prominent button.
  • Two services in top 5 pageviews, other is 10th.
  • 73.93% on desktop, 20.48% on mobile, 5.59% on tablet.
  • A total of 328 different devices accessed site.
  • 152 different screen resolutions.

Design audit

Next I collated a list of points I believed should be improved. Even just writing these down will help you focus on achieving solutions for them, and ensure that everything is considered. I tend to focus on general issues as well as a few specific points on key pages like the homepage and case study pages.

General

  • There is a lack of clear call-to-actions throughout the site.
  • Contact details are only on the contact page and as this is only accessed through the off-canvas navigation the user is unnecessarily worked harder.
  • Interaction and user event feedback is missing e.g. hovering over links/linked pictures doesn’t provide instant feedback that these are actually links so certain sections are effectively hidden.
  • The current off-canvas navigation that slides out on hover is far from ideal for a user’s experience. When scrolled far down a long page you can still make the off-canvas navigation section slide out, however the actual navigation items are at the top of the page. So essentially you are sliding out a block of colour.
  • The footer currently only contains legal information, this would be more useful to the user if it acted as a secondary navigation.

Homepage

  • There are six homepage tiles. Four of them link to case studies, the remaining two are about/process photos that don’t link anywhere. As it’s not clear why, it could be confusing for a user as they attempt to click these tiles.
  • Homepage tiles don’t show which service the case study belongs to which could result in a frustrating experience for the user. They could be looking for a Digital Marketing case study however inadvertently navigate to a Web Design & Development case study through these tiles.

Case study

  • The link to the next case study doesn’t explicitly say what the case study is. Therefore a user isn’t fully clear what they’re clicking, and they may have already seen this case study previously.
  • Results could be emphasised even more to help explain what we can achieve for businesses.

Actionable improvements

The Design Audit concludes to clear, actionable improvements that should be the main focus of all the work that follows.

  • Improve usability by providing clear link colours and feedback on hover/click.
  • Reduce cognitive load on the homepage by providing clear call-to-action links to each of the three services.
  • Display case studies in a clear and easy-to-understand manner, both on lead-in pages and the individual case study pages.
  • Utilise the footer to provide contact information as well as important navigation links.

Read part 2 of how I redesigned The Tomorrow Lab’s website now.