Design Thinking Increases Customer Inquiries
IO Education came to ikonic to help refine their website’s user experience and apply informed design to increase engagement. Our deliverables included rebuilding the website’s information architecture, enhancing and streamlining the layout & design, rebuilding PHP page templates, and onboarding IO to a more flexible content management workflow. Some of the initial quick wins were streamlining to a more advanced analytics implementation and assisting IO to a new marketing automation platform.
IO Education had previously held a focus group to help better understand their customers’ needs and the results showed that their current website was preventing visitors from discovering the value of their products. IO had also previously created personas which were critical to our work. The research gave IO Education a springboard for improving usability and increasing visitor inquiries and they turned to ikonic to facilitate the solution.
The first challenge we ran into was organizing the many product variations into categories and prioritizing page content across different audience personas. To tackle the problem we compiled a list of dozens of user benefits to card sort, enabling us to match offerings with user expectations. This exercise structured the content hierarchy and promoted the highest priority pages to enable discoverability of content for various user types.
With the user benefits prioritized and factored into the new architecture, I created diagrams to show the information architecture of key pages and primary user flows which we shared with IO to validate with product managers. The benefits of sharing these UX artifacts were two-fold. It helped organize everyone around a shared vision and validate the site architecture earlier in the project.
I then created high-fidelity design concepts to fuse the new user interface design with existing brand standards while providing a much-needed elevation of the IO design language. I also collaborated with IO Education on improving most of the visual assets across the website – replacing generic stock photos with bold, custom vector artwork.
Our prototype for this project was not interactive due to a limited budget, however, we presented our improvements to the user interface to IO Education who again validated our work with product managers.
Finally, I moved forward with platform redevelopment. I stripped the WordPress theme of excess bloat, inactive code, and redundant libraries. The theme was partially preserved to safeguard legacy content, but with improvements to the code to optimize page load times on new pages. I implemented a modular page building template that utilizes dozens of custom, reusable layouts enabling IO Education to create pages with a drag-and-drop UI.
As the front-end of the website came together, we advised IO on implementing HubSpot for marketing automation (among other technologies) to improve their marketing workflow. We also built custom workflows to push leads into Salesforce from form fills across the platform.
The result of our three-month effort was an exciting accomplishment for IO. Our effort gave IO a fresh start – and an opportunity to gain traction in a competitive and rapidly growing industry.
IO was thrilled to launch in November 2017, and the combined effort of our UX & front-end designers, developers, and IO team made this a seamless transition without any website downtime. The IO team can now deploy new website content on demand, in a robust workflow, without the assistance of a digital partner. Since the website launched, inquiries have increased over 20%, site abandonment decreased 25%, SERP increased dramatically, and the Sales team receives more qualified leads.