IA and Wayfinding Optimization + User Testing

Assignment

American Express was seeking to improve its information architecture and create a new structure that could be implemented globally.

Approach

Our team proposed and executed a number of methods to understand the structure, content, stakeholder insights and market nuances. We identified key user tasks and conducted a tree test and and card sort to capture task completion rates and content groupings across five primary markets. These findings were synthesized and initial recommendations were made for that specific business group. Later, these findings were presented to a broader leadership team where we worked in a co-design fashion to optimize the existing site structure for re-testing.

Client

American Express americanexpress.com

Agency

we are experience


Audit: Site Structure + Wayfinding System

The audit consisted of two primary activities: documenting high- and deeper-level site structures across five key markets and illustrating the complex wayfinding system for key tasks (identified in a separate activity).

 
 
US Market: High-level IA.

US Market: High-level IA.

 
 
 
US Market: Deeper Sitemap w/ wayfinding system (1/4 of map shown here).

US Market: Deeper Sitemap w/ wayfinding system (1/4 of map shown here).

 

Content Relationships

I created content buckets from the deeper-level sitemap and mapped the content relationships and wayfinding paths. This helped stakeholder leadership teams better understand how users are bounced around from one part of the site to another with no discernible path. 

 
 
Content relationships and wayfinding map .

Content relationships and wayfinding map .

 

User Testing: Tree Test

To further validate assumptions and expose additional user challenges, I created and moderated a tree test for five markets to determine how users would navigate through the existing IA to complete key tasks. 

I measured task completion rates (by category and specific tasks) by market, compared markets and identified opportunities to leverage and replicate existing paths that are successful in specific markets.

 
 
Task completion rates were captured for each market.

Task completion rates were captured for each market.

 
 
 
Market task completion rates by category were compared against each other.

Market task completion rates by category were compared against each other.

 
 
 
Rankings and observations of categories by market were compared and scrutinized.

Rankings and observations of categories by market were compared and scrutinized.

 

User Testing: Open Card Sort

The open card sort required participants to group brand- and card-related topics. How users grouped content provided insight into the effectiveness of the existing nomenclature and groupings. We then looked for patterns of agreement across categories and markets to inform taxonomy and nomenclature optimizations.

 
 
Markets were compared by the number/% of categorization agreements amongst participants. This helped exposed what was working and what required further exploration.

Markets were compared by the number/% of categorization agreements amongst participants. This helped exposed what was working and what required further exploration.

 
 
 
Dendograms were generated by Market to visualize categorization/grouping agreements.

Dendograms were generated by Market to visualize categorization/grouping agreements.

 
 
 
Market-specific challenges were identified in the market analyses.

Market-specific challenges were identified in the market analyses.

 

Synthesis & Recommendations

I synthesized the findings and provided recommendations for implementing a more intuitive and robust site structure and wayfinding system, ways to improve taxonomies through additional user testing, global scalability methods and general industry best practices.

However, the research revealed something much deeper and, perhaps, more important; when dealing with global markets, a one-size-fits-all solution may not be possible. Not only did each market contain its own portfolio of products, but direct user research revealed that consumers within these markets think of financial services differently. This meant that taxonomies and nomenclature required thoughtful localization and, in many cases, the corporate messaging needed to adapt to cultural differences to facilitate conversion.

Ultimately, the recommendations included further testing at the market level. Employing industry best practices is the easy part—it's understanding your audiences and tailoring messaging, nomenclature and taxonomies that would ultimately drive brand confidence and conversion.

 
 

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