Creating excellent digital experiences is one of the top priorities for organizations in 2019. Here at Belatrix, this is no different. We work constantly to ensure we’re providing the best experiences to our clients and the broader market. As part of those efforts (and as part of our overall website redesign), we decided to overhaul and revamp our blog to offer an even more customer-friendly and enjoyable experience.
In this article I want to explore how we undertook the re-design and the benefits it has provided.
Firstly, it’s important to note that we publish a lot of content – we’re constantly looking at the latest trends and best practices in business and technology, and our experts publish blogs and whitepapers every week to share their insights and expertise. We also know that content is key in building a great customer journey – from the moment someone hears about Belatrix, to when they are working with us, and beyond, we want to ensure they have a great experience. Sharing our insights via content is a crucial part of this.
In the process of changing the visual design and workflow of our blog section, we carried out a Lean UX workshop in order to brainstorm ideas, detect issues and identify strengths. For those who are not familiar with Lean UX, it is an iterative method that aims to test and validate hypotheses as fast as possible in order to build a high-quality product at speed. It combines the principles of Agile development and Design Thinking in order to build a user-centric product in a collaborative way.
During the workshop, we created personas of the different types of audiences that visit our blog. Visualizing and understanding our audience was a fundamental step, before we started work on deciding what aspects to improve. We made a list of the features we believed were the most attractive of our blog and the ones that we needed to remove or refine. We then tested these hypotheses during interviews with a range of people that comprise our audience. These interviews helped us gain valuable first-hand insights into how people use our blog, what they like about it, and what we could improve.
To provide the best experience and gauge our content performance, we used heat maps and scroll maps to find out the areas of the blog that generate the highest engagement. Such maps helped us detect where we should place CTAs and relevant content to provide a user-friendly experience, and validate hypotheses and assumptions related to how enjoyable and effective our visual design is.
In order to improve the usability of our blog section, we added a number of features. For instance, our UX designers added a progress bar that not only helps users track their journey but also encourages them to keep reading. Progress bars work as missions to complete on a web or mobile application and they encourage users to keep exploring an interface.
Today, both marketers and users know the importance of page load time. However, companies often still struggle with it. Research indicates that 46% of people say waiting for pages to load is what they dislike most about browsing the web on mobile. It has a clear impact on user satisfaction. As a result our page load time was a key objective for our development team – and as part of the redesign they were able to lower this substantially, by 20%.
Visual design is another factor that makes the difference between users that continue to explore your site, and those that leave within a few seconds. Personally, when I open a website and I find small typography, big blocks of text and no visual hierarchy whatsoever, no matter how good the content might be, I don’t find that website trustworthy anymore. Web pages and blogs need to bear in mind that visual elements have a huge impact on user experience.
As a result, we added vertical columns, improved the visual hierarchy, and organized content so you can easily find hot topics, a special selection of blogs by our senior executives, and content related to your personal interests. We also added more micro-interactions as we want you to have an active role in your journey through our website. We also made sure to keep the mobile experience at the forefront of our minds during the process – thus we worked on optimizing the navigation, and load time, among others.
Based on the site upgrade, we’ve already seen major improvements. Firstly and most importantly, we’ve received positive qualitative feedback from clients that we’ve spoken to about it, who enjoy the cleaner and easier to read site. One of the key metrics we measure is the page size – and we’ve reduced this by 80%. We know that people who enjoy spending time on our blog, reading our content, are more likely to convert into customers – so we can see the importance of our blog content in the overall customer journey.
Our blog section and website will always be a work in process, so we’d love to hear your thoughts about it. We know that as technology continues to change rapidly, so user experiences will always be in constant change.
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