USER PROFILES + USER FLOWS + INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE
GE Power: New Site + User Experience
Assignment + Approach
GE set out to combine two sites within its Power business portfolio, wanting to ensure quick product findability within its complex portfolio, streamline the conversion process and improve the overall user experience. We understood the business need. Next, the Content Strategist and I agreed that in order to create a sound structure we needed to first conduct an in-depth content and site analysis as well as identify our user segments and content needs. Our insights would help determine content hierarchies, reveal content gaps and understand the proper content relationships that would leas users seamlessly (and pleasantly) through the sales funnel. Heading into the effort, we established a core content and experience guiding principle: SIMPLIFY, INFORM and CONVERT.
Leveraging the user profile work created by GE and its partner vendors, we distilled the list of users for both business units down to five primary user types. We further segmented those types based on role/profession and primary motivations.
USER PROFILES: STORIES & CONTENT NEEDS
In-depth demographic-centric persona work been created by various GE marketing teams, but we felt the best way to keep a laser focus on each of our user segments was to create user stories and pinpoint their content needs.
The profiles were lightly personified and each of their stories consisted of a simple statement that revealed a need. We then identified primary and secondary content needs and revealed content gaps.
AUDIT: SITEMAP, CONTENT & HEURISTIC ASSESSMENT
We dove deep into the sites to understand the product lines and determined how the sites were presenting and delivering content. The two sites were vastly different from a structural, user experience and content quality perspective so we started with a content guiding principle that would serve as the foundation for the new site design: SIMPLIFY, INFORM and CONVERT.
Guided by our content guiding principle, I constructed user flows that demonstrated optimized paths to content based on the needs and motivations of our users. This helped inform content hierarchies, entry points into content and content relationships that facilitated natural and intuitive movement through content.
SITEMAP & NAVIGATION RECOMMENDATIONS
In order to meet the content needs and browsing behaviors of our users, we determined that we needed multiple entry points into content as well as a navigation that supported multiple topical entry points. One example of this was to provide both product- and industry-based entry points into product and service solutions. We then formulated a pattern of product-service-industry cross-pollination in the content matrix, which would also inform content hierarchies and template design patterns.
REALIZING THE SITE STRUCTURE
Designing a navigation model was essential to communicating to our client how the entry points worked. This visualization helped them understand how the sitemap could come to life through a real-world navigation system and how UI can be used to establish hierarchies. We also made clear that navigation systems typically do not represent every single page, particularly within large-scale websites such as theirs.
In the end, the client was thrilled with the recommendations and implemented the content hierarchy nearly 1:1. Since the initial launch of the site, GE has incorporated additional products, services, solutions and content, which has transformed the navigation system. However, many of the same principles outlined in this work remain implemented in the new navigation.