When you want a house built, you hire an architect to ensure everything is designed properly, meets standards and everything works together in harmony. The same goes for websites. Element5’s information architects create the blueprint for your website, determine how visitors should find their way through the site, what navigation names make the most sense to the audience and how quickly they will get to the content they are seeking.
Mental models help us match user behavior with tactics that support that behavior. When the two are aligned, a solution is found. This lets you better understand how your customers make decisions about your brand and its products and services.
Unlike the ecosystem that displays every digital property you are associated with or own, a site map is a visual representation of one site in detail, usually your company website. By mapping out every page, we can see at a glance how big the site is, if certain sections are missing, outdated, or need consolidating, and if the architecture of the site is simple enough for visitors to find the content they want quickly and with minimal effort.
One of the trickiest elements of site design is getting the language right. The taxonomy helps us understand and control the terms and topics in a site. We need to know how to match visitors with their interests, and the taxonomy is the best way to do so. It also helps companies use terms that their customers expect, rather than their own confusing industry jargon.
One of the mistakes web designers frequently make when they don’t work with an information architect is creating well-designed pages without considering how they link together, or how someone will actually go through from point A to point B. Our user flows show, in story form, how your target audience will navigate your site, find what they are looking for, and how they will be helped when they do something unexpected.
User Experience Maps
When you have a website with repeating errors, you need a user experience map. Let’s say you check your Google Analytics and find that no one is clicking on your homepage promotions or that you seem to have a high number of people abandoning your shopping cart. It’s probably because pages were designed, but not designed as a flow with the customer journey in mind. When we create a user experience map for your website, it explains how the user will travel through the site, perform all the major tasks—even how to get them back on track should they do something unexpected or outright wrong.
So your site looks wonderful. The entire staff loves the new direction. Unfortunately, your customers do not. Your visits have gone down and bounce rate has skyrocketed. You need usability testing—right now. By testing actual people who fit your target audience, we can see what they like about your site—in their own words and actions—as well as what they are frustrated by. We’ll give you a detailed report proving how—through usability testing—we’ve found the issues causing cart abandonment, bounce rate increases, lowered traffic, form errors, etc. We’ll also provide you with the roadmap of recommendations on how to fix them, and we can fix them for you. We have an entire development team to help you out.