Telling the Story of Development
In 2016, we just wrapped up the branding work for our client. Chemonics is a mission-driven international development firm. This is the story of how I reimagined their website to match their new brand and mission.
I was part of the strategy team. I was responsible for user experience and content strategy for the new website. I lead the UX work producing all deliverables and presenting them to the client between January 2017 to April 2017. I also worked with a digital strategist to conduct research and develop the web strategy.
Our client approached us with two primary objectives — to refresh the design and function of the website; and to build a flexible user-friendly CMS that is expandable and mobile friendly.
The website contained over 500 pieces of content plus 3 years of blog content. Our task was to create a new user-centered and content-focused website within 7 months. To meet our objectives we needed to conduct some research.
Interviews and Audits
We conducted stakeholder interviews and distributed user surveys to key audience groups. Because Chemonics is an international company we talked to people across the globe.
We quickly discovered that the site was not used by Chemonics team members. In fact, one person said she has never visited the Chemonics site.
As the UX lead for this project, I conducted a user experience, content and SEO audit of the existing site. My goal was to uncover the Chemonics story from the content. Each piece of content needed to be evaluated by specific criteria:
- What is this page trying to achieve?
- Is it useful and relevant?
- Is it written for the user?
- Is it aligned with the goals of the site?
With the content audit and research in place, we crafted the personas and website charter for the project. The website charter is what we use to outline the goals of the site, key audiences, and KPI’s that we will measure.
Building the Blueprint and Foundation
With the amount of content on the Chemonics website, it was important to not only establish a clear structure for the site but to also establish a content model. The client requested a robust search so it was important to build a strong taxonomy.
While developing the wireframes I wanted to make sure that each page of the site lead the user to another part of the Chemonics story. One of my main focuses was on showcasing the impact stories. I highlighted the success of each project, integrated more compelling imagery and I added sub-heads to the content to help the team write easily digestible content.
Designing Around Content
The Chemonics website is filled with important content but it was difficult for their audience to find what they were looking for. During the interviews we heard several people complain about how hard it was to find things on the website, finding it much faster to call someone. So I spent a lot of time reading the content and trying to find patterns that we could build a content model from.
Visual Design and Development
We outsourced the design and development of the website. It was my job to provide the team with functional requirements for the site.
launch date: Summer 2017
website: Chemonics International