Your online customers need to be able to find the information and products they are looking for on your website before they can sign up or to make a purchase. Make it easy for them to find what they need and you will keep them coming back.
Great online user experiences do not happen by accident. OGI experts will help you optimize information architecture, usability, and accessibility of your website or Intranet to improve user experience, grow brand/employee loyalty, increase revenue, cut operating costs, and differentiate yourself from the competition.
Usability is among the most fundamental factors for successful website and Intranet design, and yet it is often neglected or addressed as an afterthought. Jakob Nielsen defines it as “a quality attribute that assesses how easy user interfaces are to use.” Making website or Intranet usable boils down to making sure that it is as simple and quick to navigate as possible and presenting information in an easily readable format.
Usability requires significant user and environment research and discovery long before the website or Intranet are designed or developed. Eliminating or delaying usability evaluation until the website or Intranet are completed results in a product that is not targeted, not user-friendly, and lacks in satisfaction.
Think about the websites you frequent. Would you go back to a website if it was difficult to navigate? Or if you were not able to find the information you needed?
The number one problem most websites and Intranets suffer from is that users cannot find the information they are looking for quickly or easily enough. While providing a search feature is important, information architecture of your website has the most direct impact on findability of information on your website or Intranet and our experts can help you improve it.
Information architecture effort requires significant research and discovery and should take place before the website or Intranet are designed or coded. Eliminating this step often results in a website or Intranet that are not targeted, not user-friendly, and lacks strategy. Good information architecture, however, makes information findable and your website or Intranet more usable.
All websites and even Intranets should be designed and developed with accessibility in mind. In practice this means that they must support use of common assistive technologies and avoid design choices that make content or services inaccessible to users with disabilities, including blindness (or color blindness) and low vision, deafness and hearing loss, learning disabilities, cognitive limitations, limited movement, speech disabilities, photosensitivity, and any combinations of these.
Federal government and states require their institutions and vendors to comply with Section 508 accessibility requirements. As for businesses, the recent surge in website accessibility-related lawsuits had clearly demonstrated the impact that neglecting accessibility compliance can have on their reputation and bottom line.
Our UX & Accessibility Services
If you are a small business, non-profit, or school without a full-time UX/IA expert, keeping your website content well-organized and accessible to users with any ability can be a challenge. Our competent and dedicated usability and accessibility professionals will make your website more useful for all of your customers and constituents with personal attention and service you deserve.
Design & Test
- Persona development
- Context analysis
- Requirements definition
- Heuristic evaluation
- Remote/express evaluation
- On-site/lab-based evaluation
- Feedback/analytics integration
Design & Implement
- Content/information maps
- Metadata schemas
- Thesauri/controlled vocabularies
- Site maps
- User flow diagrams
All Together Now
- Persona development
- Feature priority analysis
- Site maps
- User flow diagrams
- Evaluation and optimization
Test & Implement
- Legal environment analysis
- Standard selection
- Requirements definition
- Tools selection/implementation
- Automated/manual evaluation
- Website optimization
Our Usability Process
Whether it is a heuristic evaluation, remote or lab usability testing, online or field user research, learning about your online customers’ needs, attitudes, and behaviors is a crucial step toward improving your ROI.
During the planning phase, we will help you formulate usability and accessibility requirements for your website or Intranet based on best practices, legal requirements of the countries you operate in, and your organization’s business processes and needs.
We will work with you to identify your website audience segments or Intranet user groups and create fictional personas that accurately describe them. Our persona development process combines using qualitative research from focus groups, surveys, and interviews with quantitative analysis based on website analytics. By matching web analytics data to users demographics, attitudes, and visit metrics we can identify who visits your site, their goals, their attitudes, tasks they attempt to accomplish, how they accomplish them, and how successful they are. This approach reduces probability of missing a key audience segment, user group, or attribute when compared to research exclusively grounded in interviews and focus groups.
During the user analysis phase, we will take our testing methodologies into the field. OGI experts will observe your users interacting with your website or Intranet in their regular environment, conduct stakeholder and user interviews, and moderate focus groups. Based on information collected during interviews and focus groups, our experienced consultants will identify users’ likes, dislikes, and preferences regarding website or Intranet content, functionality, and interfaces.
We may also use survey instruments to get both quantitative and qualitative feedback. Additionally, our experts can create use scenarios/mental models, moderate participatory/joint application design sessions, and conduct card-sorting exercises. Further feature prioritization studies may be recommended to gather user feedback regarding specific new website or Intranet features.
OGI experts will work with you to ensure alignment of your website and Intranet design, functionality, content, and workflows with business processes they support or to isolate potential gaps. To better understand the environment your users operate in, we will analyze your website or Intranet problem reports and analytics. Additionally, to identify emerging standards and best practices in your industry or market segment, we may also conduct competitive benchmarking studies and comparative usability tests.
Evaluation or Testing
During the evaluation phase, we can test your as-is website or Intranet, low-to-high fidelity prototypes, or beta/candidate release version of the to-be system.
Expert review or heuristic evaluation of a website or Intranet is usually the quickest and most cost-effective usability evaluation method. OGI usability experts will review your website or Intranet and generate a report detailing potential issues or concerns they observe. The report will also provide high-level analysis and feedback.
Remote or virtual usability evaluation is another cost-effective method that allows engaging geographically dispersed users. We can use web conferencing technology to remotely observe, interview, and digitally record users as they perform their tasks. Alternatively, we may subcontract with a virtual usability testing service to reach potential website users in other regions or nations.
For a quick snapshot of how well your users will be able to operate, navigate, and understand your website, we can perform an express usability evaluation that will focus on a small portion of the website or Intranet to validate design changes.
Standard usability evaluation is typically conducted in a lab environment, although using a portable equipment set can be a viable low-cost alternative. Representative users of your website, Intranet, or web application will be given a predefined set of tasks and asked to perform them while being observed and recorded. Usability testing is conducted in one-on-one sessions, unlike multiple-participant focus groups. Our usability expert will moderate, observe, record, and analyze how test subjects interact with your website or Intranet and how easily they are able to accomplish their given tasks. The usability test report will provide actionable recommendations for addressing usability issues and improving user experience.
Each of these usability evaluation methods can be performed iteratively and integrated into most stages of the development life-cycle. Early design testing can be performed to validate initial design decisions. Iterative express usability testing integrates well into agile SDLC with dramatic and measurable development time saving results.
Your website or Intranet usability process should not end after the final summative test. This is why we will work with you to implement effective feedback and analytics tools to continuously measure user satisfaction, success rate, and other KPI’s. We will also help you implement business processes and procedures that will provide for periodic or trigger-based website or Intranet usability re-evaluation. The triggers may include analytics data eccentricities, significant design changes, introduction of new business processes, changes in the environment, or introduction of new audience segments or user groups. Upon completing the project, if needed, our experts can continue helping your web team with usability maintenance tasks.
Our IA Process
OGI information architects will perform a comprehensive content, labeling, taxonomy, and metadata evaluation of your website or Intranet. The main deliverable of our IA services will be recommendations for improving logical structure of your website or Intranet, re-labeling content and navigation menu items, re-structuring some pages, and determining whether and where the content can or should be duplicated. Other deliverables we may produce include site taxonomies, metadata schemas, content maps, site maps, user flow diagrams, and wireframes.
During research phase, we review existing website, documentation, and content as well as meet with stakeholders throughout the organization in order to gain high-level understanding of the goals, business environment, target audience segments or user groups, and existing information architecture.
In addition to existing taxonomy, existing metadata, content, and context analysis, we will benchmark against taxonomies and content of similar websites and Intranets. To better understand your website or Intranet users, we may develop user personas, use cases, user flow diagrams, and analyze website or Intranet search logs and analytics data.
Among other tools we may use in our IA research are user interviews, individual and group card sorting exercises, and collaborative design/JAD sessions. This methodology is usually most effective when used in parallel with website or Intranet planning and design, but can be used at any stage of design and development. For large-scale/high-stakes projects, IA research can be iterative and closely integrated into all stages of development life-cycle.
During strategy development phase, we will decide whether to use bottom-up or top-down approach, define topical taxonomy, top levels of website organization and navigation structures, document and content types, as well as draft metadata schema that will include structural, descriptive, and administrative metadata. Deliverables of this phase may include metaphor exploration report, scenarios, use cases and stories, conceptual diagrams, and IA strategy report.
Working with your web team, we will produce high-level and detailed taxonomies, controlled vocabularies, metadata schemas, site maps, and wireframes, which will provide guidance for graphic and interaction designers, programmers, editors, and producers. We will create content inventories and content maps that will identify content sources, content models, content types, and content templates. We may also create an architecture style guide that will document proposed information architecture and contain suggestions as to how it can be extended as the website or Intranet grows.
During the implementation phase, we will help your web team to organize and tag content as well as to implementing taxonomies, ontologies, and thesauri for your search engine.
Your IA process should not end with the new website or Intranet rollout. This is why we will work with your web team to implement effective feedback and analytics tools to continuously measure user satisfaction, success rate, and other KPI’s.
We will also develop an information architecture maintenance model, either federated or centralized, that will define business processes and procedures that will provide for day-today IA maintenance, including classification and indexing of new content, controlled vocabulary management, and periodic or trigger-based IA re-evaluation. The triggers may include analytics data eccentricities, significant design changes, introduction of new business processes, changes in the environment, or introduction of new types of content.
Upon completing the project, if needed, our experts can continue helping your web team with information architecture maintenance tasks.
Our Accessibility Process
OGI accessibility experts will perform a customized accessibility compliance test of your website or Intranet, identify accessibility-related issues and concerns, and then work with your web team to address them. We can also work with you to ensure that your web team has the tools and expertise to maintain accessibility standards compliance after the project is over.
During the planning phase, we will work with you to create an accessibility compliance strategy for your organization based on accessibility standards of the countries you operate in. In addition to legal environment and standards research, OGI accessibility experts will analyze your web development standards, business processes, and conduct stakeholder interviews. The accessibility compliance strategy will identify the standards to test to, for example Section 508, WCAG 2.0, or ISO 9241, assistive technologies to support, use of either manual or automated testing, testing technologies, documentation, and validation processes to clearly demonstrate compliance.
Our accessibility expects will use a variety of open source and proprietary tools to run customized tests to identify accessibility issues and concerns that may prevent users with visual, hearing, mobility, and cognitive disabilities from successfully achieving their goals on your website or Intranet. The accessibility test report will give you unique insights into how your website or Intranet are experienced by users with certain disabilities and provide actionable recommendations for addressing accessibility issues and improving user experience.
Your accessibility compliance process should not end with the accessible website rollout. This is why we will work with your web team to implement technology, business processes, and procedures that will ensure continuous accessibility compliance.
We can also provide periodic re-evaluation services to confirm that accessibility standards are maintained over time. Our experts will run customized tests to identify potential new accessibility issues and concerns that may prevent users with disabilities from successfully achieving their goals on your website or Intranet. The monthly or quarterly accessibility test reports will provide actionable recommendations for addressing accessibility issues and improving user experience.