Miller Electric contracted Hanson Dodge for a Sitecore website redesign for their MillerWelds.com. Their website looked dated and needed new features for both their eCommerce and Find-a-Dealer customers. The product makeup ranged from welding gloves apparel to million dollar robotic welding systems. The old information architecture needed a refresh as well as industry innovations have redefined various processes and product lines.
Overview of Information Architecture Project
As the UX / Information Architect on this project, first task was to understand the project goals and current mind-map for welding products. After holding a series of discovery sessions a series of competitive and controlled vocabulary / taxonomy surveys were executed.
Team and Personal Involvement
On this project, I led the discovery, UX/IA strategy sessions..
Technologies: Sitecore, Riversand Product Information Manager (PIM).
Site Deployed: Q1 2014
Tools: Axure, UsabilityTools.com (no longer available, now using Loop11 for usability studies), Google Suite.
User Experience Journey Map
The user journey was expressed in a customer experience map (see below) to guide the information architecture, web strategy and page flow.
Customer Experience Map for Welding product selection (click to see larger image)
Competitive Information Architecture Study and Analysis
First an overall competitive menu analysis of the most successful welding companies was performed to determine their controlled vocabulary and taxonomy practices (see partial result below).
A partial image of the menu study of major competitors
Then I considered the differences in menu labels and classification to identify study areas of interest.
Classification Card Sort
To resolve disparities in menu/product classification labeling in the competitive environment, I used an online card sorting product (see below) to flush out the classification issues with the MillerWelds audiences. This online test was sent to both company application engineers and customers (see below).
Users drag items on the left into classification label on the right
- The user was asked to use drag various product labels to product categories.
- The first one was to drag the MIG Gun item to the category they would expect to find MIG Gun products.
- Then the user was asked about 1 or more questions about the task just completed.
I then tabulated the results and presented them to a select stakeholder group and SMEs (Subject Matter Experts) within the company. Here is an example of how users refer to the class of TIG welding equipment (See below)
Menu System Findability Test
Once classification issues were resolved, a proposed menu system for the website was implemented as a prototype and embedded into a findability study to test the effectiveness of the new menu labels and taxonomy. The prototype used a proposed design shell to make it as real as possible (see below)
Menu Findability Prototype / Usability test candidate
Findability Test Results
The findability part of the test asked the user to select a level 2 menu from the prototype that best matched a find request (see illustration).
The findability test recorded time to locate the menu item in the menu prototype and the menu item selected against the expected result. As one can see from the above bar-graph, at least one menu item was confusing to the most participants.
Findability Test methodology and results.
After the participant located the menu item, they answered a couple of questions about the experience, specifically whether the menu was difficult to locate (see below) and thoughts on the naming of the menu item.
Usability survey for menu item
Information / UX Architecture Results
The development process produced a solid information architecture for the creation of the menus system, site map, product catalog and conceptual data model for the Product Information Manager (PIM) and the CMS/eCommerce website.
Partial of Conceptual Data Model for Ecommerce UX
The data model included common attributes and technical attributes, product categories, data types (simple and complex) and the UX for the product list filter attributes.
Content Audit and Strategy
I also led the Content Audit and Strategy to determine other UX, IA and Web strategy requirements for the website and PIM, which included mostly internal processes (see below)
Content Strategy Workflow Diagram
A content audit was performed to define the content update requirements and responsibilities and define the URL mapping for the new website taking into consideration the preservation of SEO/SEM keyword equities.
Website UX and Design
On this project, I was responsible for the UX wires for the menu system and reusable page components that content managers used to construct the pages. The very capable design team performed the design refresh based on the updated IA outlined above. See MillerWelds website for design.