An interesting facet of this project was exploring the world of content strategy, site crawling, site mapping, and SEO. Before we jumped in, we dedicated ourselves to becoming familiar with the different aspects of managing and auditing web content.
Because of the specificity of the domain, getting a perspective on the competitive landscape was key in moving forward with the research. Our client worked in content strategy and web management for over 10 years and found that the site crawling software on the market was lacking the ability to manage massive amounts of data, and he created Dynomapper to fill in the feature gaps on the market.
Unlike other site crawling software services, Dynoampper’s capabilities outweighed the competition in terms of its power and robust features. For example, where other site crawling softwares maxed out at 5,000 pages, Dynomapper is able to crawl and map out a site with over 50,000 pages. Further, we found that it’s competitors couldn’t handle a large database of users.
After intensive domain research, competitive analysis, and a heuristic evaluation of the current software, we developed a research plan detailing our assumptions, research goals and methods, and target users.
KEY ASSUMPTIONS INCLUDED:
The analytics feature is the differentiator:
Dynomapper integrates with Google analytics to provide a user with statistical information related to their website. Currently no other site mapping software provides this feature. We believed if users found the analytics feature to be useful it would serve as the primary differentiator from other site mapping software.
The current dashboard doesn't present users with clear options:
Based on a heuristic evaluation, we found that the current dashboard doesn’t present the user with direct information about their sitemaps and web content.
- The user wants to be presented with a snapshot of web stats upon login:
- Users want to be presented with relevant information upon login in the form of a dashboard. Our idea is to organize pertinent information in a clear and accessible way. This will assist the user in optimizing their work flow and generate higher revenue for Dynomapper.
We chose to investigate our client’s business needs, in addition to the usability issues, because we understood Dynomapper could dramatically increase revenue with a handful strategic of UX changes.
One of the most interesting aspects of this project was conducting ethnographic interviews. Because the domain was so specific, it was challenging to find target users, and we had to leverage our network and resources to find experts in the field. By identifying a target audience, we saw it as an opportunity to differentiate the design against Dynomapper’s competitors. Moreover, we understood that narrowing down a target users not only leads to better design, but enhances business outcomes.
Ethnographic interviews became a key focus of our process because we wanted to get an in depth view of Dynomapper’s current users. Based on our research assumptions, we narrowed down our target audience to content strategists, UX designers, and web managers. We asked five content strategists and web managers about their normal work flow to understand common frustrations and understand the context in which they used Dynomapper. This assisted us in prioritizing usability issues under our tight time frame.
KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM INTERVIEWs:
- Users consistently managed massive amounts of data:
- One user was condensing a client’s 700 page website into 15 pages, and among the 700 websites, some were over 100,000 pages.
- The learning curve for Dynomapper was steep:
- For stakeholders and other officials involved in projects using Dynomapper, it was challenging for them to jump into the software and accomplish specific tasks. For example, one user had to send screen shots of Dynomapper with instructions on how to leave a comment on a sitemap.
- Feature gaps caused frustrations across users:
- For example, Dynomapper exported and omitted certain information into XML files. This forced users to enter some information manually.
- There were and redundancies and a lack of clarity in the organization of the software:
- Users frequently encountered redundancies in links and slight variations in language that made the process of auditing content confusing. For example, i there was a lack of clarification between “broken links” and “bad links.”
The interviews provided a wealth of data for us to synthesize and define. To draw insights, we transcribed the interviews and combed through them using the mental model. This will be elaborated on further in the next section.