The client team and TUG began with a thorough review of web analytics and a heuristic evaluation of the website. Next, we interviewed a variety of stakeholders and site users:
- City managers
- City departments’ web editors
- Marketing and communication staff
- IT leader board and staff
- Ann Arbor residents
- Ann Arbor business owners
- Ann Arbor visitors
These interviews consistently revealed navigation and organizational challenges: the site was cluttered and organized around the hierarchy of the City’s government, not the needs of site visitors. People wanted to serve themselves, but got hung up looking for what they wanted. The site’s web analytics showed visitors bouncing back to either the homepage or the previous page to try again.
We then created our proposed navigation plan based on these interviews, tested mock-ups of the proposed navigation with users, and provided annotated wireframes and specifications for the new homepage and navigation. We proposed updating the navigation to provide multiple entry points. The main navigation covered:
- Enjoy Ann Arbor
- Business in Ann Arbor
- Democracy in Ann Arbor
Additionally, the site made all city services and departments available in overlapping comprehensive access points at the top level:
- Services—for those unfamiliar with the organization of the City who need to access specific things, and
- Departments—for those familiar with the current site who know where to find what they need.
Within the Parks and Recreation pages, the revised wireframe emphasized actions visitors wanted to take, such as scheduling a tee time or registering for a program. While user testing did reveal a few minor labeling issues and information gaps in the site refresh (such as how to volunteer), the tests also validated the strength of the revised high level navigation.