Website Redesign for Online Publisher

Role:  Research, Design, Strategy

Date:  Feb – Aug 2018

Project Overview

Dear Blogger is an online publisher serving over 250,000 readers. On the site, 30 writers share information about blogging and making websites. I was responsible for modernizing the Dear Blogger website and making it user-friendly.

Exploring the Current Design

At the outset, the CEO walked me through the website, the business structure, and the areas that needed improvement. I learned about the site’s customers/readers and the tools used to measure their engagement and customer conversions. I spearheaded adding analytics to the site that would give the business valuable insights into which articles were performing the best.

Research

I researched the existing website’s interface in order to find areas for improvement. I also researched the site’s users so that the redesign would serve their needs.

usabilityCreated with Sketch.

Usability Testing

with new users.

InterviewCreated with Sketch.

Contextual Inquiry

with existing users.

SurveyCreated with Sketch.

Online Survey

with existing users.

Usability Testing

I recruited 5 test subjects who were interested in blogging, but hadn’t yet visited the Dear Blogger website.

During the study, users were encouraged to think out loud as they interacted with the website (link to study script). They completed several tasks which helped us assess specific site features.

Critical user feedback:

"This is a lot of information, this is a lot to look at. This thing in the middle keeps moving and I can barely register what is on it before it changes."

"There are two navigations ... and then I noticed the other one that's at the top... a lot of different things are here."

Online Survey

Surveys helped us learn more about customers’ backgrounds and interests. 

Motivations for blogging:

"To keep a online cycling journal. Bicycle ride adventures."

"Share knowledge, sell digital and physical products."

"To speak to people running businesses from home, especially the over 50 age group."

The Different Types of Users

READERS

  • Owner of website
  • Prospective owner of website
  • Actively building website

WRITERS

  • Sharing passions and promoting their own websites

User demographics and behaviors were also considered but are kept confidential.

Data Analysis

I identified two site metrics that could be improved to benefit the company: user bounce rate and the returning users.

The bounce rate was high (the proportion of users who view only one page before leaving the site). One change that improved this metric, was the addition of related article links at the end of pages.

According to research done by Bain & Company, increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%. In order to improve the returning users metric, I focused on increasing newsletter subscriptions. I added pop-ups that invite the reader to subscribe. Knowing that forceful pop-ups deter users, I used a gentle form that only appears after a reader demonstrates significant interest in the content. 

Business Development Opportunity

Finding that there was an influx of web development requests, I created a survey to manage the demand. This enabled us to expedite project take-offs, filter out spam, and prioritize projects. Shortly after launching the tool, more high quality leads were becoming customers.

Wireframe Sketches

Prototypes

Made with Sketch & Invision

Mobile Responsive Design

I also oversaw the development of mobile responsive features for the website. Making the site mobile friendly involved changing the size of the content, font size, content padding, and more.

One impactful change was increasing the mobile font size. Small text can be hard to read, causing visitors to give up before finishing an article. This is especially true of Dear Blogger, many of whose users are over the age of 50 and therefore prone to experience vision issues.

Homepage: Before & After

Impact

The project resulted in a modernized Dear Blogger website and improved customer experience.

  • Improved
    user bounce rate Proportion of visitors who view only one page before leaving the site (Source: Google Analytics).
    and visit duration.
  • More visitors subscribing to the newsletter.
  • More author submissions.

Thank you for reading!

Work inquiry, question, or something else?

I'd love to hear from you, so feel free to reach out.