Information Architecture for SMB Website to Support New Branding
Case Study: Digital Experience and Mobile
SITUATION & BUSINESS CHALLENGE
A company that creates original, full-color, illustrated artwork and sells customized souvenirs, gifts, posters, and home products to retailers and businesses had recently undergone a brand redesign that included a new logo, color palette, typography, and other brand style guidelines. Although the company was able to apply the new branding standards to its catalogue and other print-based marketing collateral, they were challenged with how to update their web presence.
The company’s current website had been developed by an outside agency. The lack of any in-house web design or development resources meant the website had languished without any updates for seven years. Not only did the site need to be updated to reflect the new branding, but the company recognized that their web presence was generally outdated and that the current design was confusing to users, with poor navigation, a muddled taxonomy, and an unintuitive layout.
The company knew they needed to redesign the website, but though they had a graphic designer, they didn’t have the expertise in user experience and web design and development to understand the technical challenges or how to address them.
Fortunately, the company was undergoing an application development engagement with AIM Consulting at the time for their back-end ordering systems and learned that AIM also has capabilities in digital experience. Pleased with their past experience, the company turned to AIM for help.
An AIM creative director with deep knowledge of user experience (UX) web design consulted with the company on their pain points and priorities and provided direction for how they could stretch a small budget to get the most impact for their brand.
Part of the discovery process included analysis of user behavior. How did users arrive at the website and what did they want to accomplish? Did they gravitate more toward the navigation links or rely on search tools? What were the most common paths taken? Although the company did not have analytics to provide quantitative insight into user behavior, they were able to identify top personas and use cases for how customers interacted with the site.
Since the client’s primary concern was branding and how users find and access content, AIM suggested focusing on the home page and particularly the information architecture—reorganizing the site’s header, navigation, and other elements critically important to the user experience.
To achieve this objective, AIM Consulting:
- Identified which areas of the header navigation could be kept and which needed to be removed or changed.
- Designed home page wireframes with updated header and side navigation incorporating the company’s new logo and branding standards.
- Provided best practices for the optimal layout of actionable elements such as Contact, Shopping Cart, Search, and Sign-in.
In addition, AIM was able to extend services beyond the initial scope of work and present several options for improving the home page layout while staying within the project’s original budget. For this additional work, AIM Consulting designed a set of home page wireframes that:
- Delivered three visual layout options for the home page with differing levels of engineering complexity so the company could weigh the costs and rewards.
- Provided a line-item list for each design that recommended what old content should be changed or moved to optimize the user experience and align with the new branding.
AIM provided the UX design expertise the company needed to make the greatest impact at the highest value while working within the means of their limited timeframe and budget.
The scoped work was completed so efficiently that additional time was reclaimed to extend the project to multiple options of a home page layout. AIM was also able to educate the company about critical web design best practices and empower their graphic designer to make smart visual design choices in keeping with UX considerations in a digital medium.
With the information architecture and UX design direction provided by AIM Consulting, the company is now poised to refresh their website’s homepage to both align to their current brand standards and better serve their customers.
As AIM invests in helping clients achieve long term strategies, the company can continue to leverage AIM Consulting as needed to expand their digital vision and build on the success of past achievements.