How design and organization make a big difference in a site’s usability.
Client Story: Braintrack – Universities, Colleges & Careers
Futuremeld, LLC had a usability problem with their website. The site was originally built in the late 1990’s and Futuremeld, LLC bought the site in 2008. Having hired a social media company to launch a campaign for them in late 2010, they discovered that before launching a campaign they needed to make the site easier to navigate and read.
Braintrack was VERY deep in resources with hundreds of pages and thousands of links. No matter how rich a site is with content, in the end, if a user gets lost or frustrated, they will leave.
After a little while on the site it became clear there were 2 very major problems; the navigation and the elements on the pages had the same weight (see the before and after images below). This created a problem for the visitor not knowing where they were, what to look at and how to visually digest all the information on the page. Futuremeld, LLC had been relying solely on search results to get the interested visitor to the page they were seeking. If the visitor wanted to explore the rest of the site it did not take more than a couple of clicks before it became confusing with no clear way to get around.
The client wanted to keep a simple look for the site since content and information was it’s primary purpose. They also did not want to stray too far from the original look and feel. So first off, a new top navigation was created that was simplified from the original interior top navigation. Added to it were drop down menus so a visitor could easily find sections of the site from every page. Then with slight touches to the titles, sidebars, article headings and a little more sorting of content, the site became easier to digest. The visitors eye could move from section to section and process the content without being overwhelmed.
Sometimes it’s well designed formatting touches and some content organization that will make all the difference in the world!
Click on images to see larger version.