My Role: UX Designer
The client, long-time syndicated newspaper television columnist, Mike Hughes, wanted to have a new website created that would allow him to publish and search engine optimize his frequently updated web content more easily.
Long-time syndicated television columnist, Mike Hughes, asked us to design a site where he could publish fresh content often and easily. The previous site was an early and stripped-down content management system that hadn’t been updated in a decade or more. As he was working, primarily, with written content, maybe a little video here or there and was interested in maintaining his Google ranking, we chose WordPress as the CMS for his website.
The client wanted something that was visually appealing, but more than that, he wanted something functional and easy-to-use, for himself and for users, that could handle three different tiers of content without it becoming a sea of text. As a newspaper man, Mike wanted to add imagery, too, ‘but nothing too flashy or overwhelming like some of the online magazines.’
‘…nothing too flashy or overwhelming’
User research for this design was limited to some user surveys and website analytic data that gave us a sense of device usage, demographics and affinity categories. This information allowed us to put together some light user personas that gave us a sense of typical use-cases.
We started with some very high-level paper prototypes. The tiers of content were the biggest challenge and could be best described as daily, weekly and evergreen, but they all had a comparable level of priority. This latter part became a challenge because we didn’t know how to adjust the focal point of the site and the content in a way that would make all three content tiers primary all at the same time. Here, I’m reminded of the old Highlander movie quote: “There can be only one.” However, after some discussion, some work with tags, categories and views we figured out a way that we could show content in a way that met the requirements.
I bring this up a lot, but paper prototypes helped us get consensus and saved a lot of rework down the line.
“There can be only one”
From here we moved into the high-fidelity design phase working directly with WordPress. We established the UI design, styles, site structure, information architecture and content views.
In no time at all, Mike was updating his own content with WordPress’ user-friendly and highly usable interface and the stream of fresh content has been open ever since.
Mike managed to not only keep his Google rankings, but as we hoped and designed for, he improved them. Overall readership and visits are up over 40% and he’s updating the content on the site multiple time per day. Readers are visiting the site more and staying longer.
This wasn’t a huge job with a lot of user experience research and design flows, but it was a job that showed that no matter how big or how small, applying the discipline of user experience design and usability best practices can make any design better.
As an added bonus, we made the site fully mobile-responsive and AA WCAG 2.0 web accessible for his readers
Readers are visiting the site more
and staying longer
I have omitted and obfuscated some proprietary information in this case study.