With ever increasing pressure on budgets, particularly in the charity sector, there can often be a temptation for marketers to direct the lion’s share of available resource into the design and build stages of web development – without sufficient time and money invested in research and planning.
Desire for a ‘good looking’ product that at least reflects the look and feel of the brand is always a strong consideration – but it can distract from the main aim, which is to provide a valuable experience to the user.
Our belief though is that UX is the core component of ‘design as communication’ – and in our experience, with clients large and small, time spent developing audience understanding is crucial to success.
A good recent example is our work with the European Parkinson’s Disease Association (EPDA), an umbrella organisation for national Parkinson’s charities in the EU.
When EPDA approached us in 2012 to redevelop their website, they were clear that their existing offer needed to be improved – in terms of streamlined content, improved accessibility (particularly for people with Parkinson’s Disease), and better ‘look and feel’ – although the full scope of the project had yet to be recognised.
Together we set out to identify this; working with their best people through a series of workshops, submersing ourselves in data and customer insights to prioritise the goals of both the organisation and the people it serves.
Investing this time in the planning phase ensured that our UX and design team had a full appreciation of the ambition for the site as well as the main users and journeys that their new site needed to serve. Now a full year since launch, our efforts appear to be paying off, as these key analytics show:
- Traffic boost: Key to a successful outcome was the need to attract more relevant visitors to their organisation. Overall traffic is up, with a 102% increase in year on year unique visitors.
- Improved search visibility: Our aim was to organise information in a way that reflected the real journeys visitors were on (reflected in page titles, metadata, and overall arrangement of site) which has helped to ensure that an additional 38,999 visitors found the EPDA via Google search than had done the year prior.
- A ‘stickier’ site: The site holds a wealth of information that offers value to visitors although could not always be found. We made this information far more visible and easy to find, helping page views to increase by 173% in year since launch, and ensuring visitors stay on site longer (+44%).
- An effective homepage: An improved homepage was critical to the overall journey, allowing visitors to get what they came for, while inviting them to take a look at some of the other information they may find useful – those arriving via the homepage are now staying onsite four times as long as they did previously.
As strong as some of these early results are, there is plenty more to do and the information we now have will help us to further optimise the site during its next phase of development. Again, we’ll review how the aims of the organisation has changed, but as ever most of our attention will focus back on the user and how we can deliver an experience that truly adds value to their lives.
To find out more about how we achieved these results, read the EPDA website case study on our website here.
If you’d like to speak to us about website redevelopment, email Speak Media’s client director, Paul Williams.