This information architecture portfolio is intended to demonstrate TUG’s information architecture expertise through recent case studies.
National Safety Council (NSC)
To save lives, the National Safety Council’s content has to be findable and usable. NSC partnered with TUG to envision its new site. To see the full case study, please visit understandinggroup.com/how-we-work/case-studies/national-safety-council.
University of Michigan – Office of University Development (U-M OUD)
TUG worked with U-M OUD to improve giving flow on the donation website. By all measures—analytics, user feedback, and donations—the new flow succeeded. To see the full case study, please visit understandinggroup.com/how-we-work/case-studies/university-website.
University of Michigan – Human Resources (U-M HR)
TUG worked in partnership with U-M HR to help research, plan, architect, and build a new digital place so employees, job seekers, and retirees find it easy to do what they need to do and go where they need to go.
The old HR site had grown fragmented over time and the structure was driven as much by the internal organization as user needs. The navigation was unbalanced, as primary and even secondary navigation links would jump to new sections of the site with different templates, leading to confusion. The primary navigation also offered many choices—too many to scan easily, yet too few to be fully comprehensive. The result was a fragmented user experience. To address these issues, U-M HR wanted their new website to:
- Orient users to the world of HR within broader university context
- Improve findability
- Communicate clearly and comprehensively how wonderful a place U-M is to work
- Share recommendations and guide users through experiences
- Make content more web and user friendly
- Update the visual design and interaction patterns
- Showcase wide range of HR services in a simple, easy-to-understand way
TUG helped U-M HR achieve their goals through consolidating content, creating a narrow and deep structure, and exposing connections.
More than 30 architecturally distinct sites were identified, reflecting the federated internal organization of the university. Each site had its own local navigation scheme with only top-level links back to the HR portal and few links between sections. The sprawling nature of the HR universe added undue cognitive overhead for users, especially as tasks often require traversing multiple sites.
The new structural framework organizes all previous sites and sections within a simple, overarching taxonomy. There are now fewer distinct “islands” of content, and groups of small, related pages are combined for greater efficiency when deep within a section. (Purple: Working at U-M; Pink: Benefits and Wellness; Green: About U-M HR)
Narrow, Deep Structure
TUG distilled the primary navigation down to just three top-level sections that persist throughout the site; fewer initial options makes it easier and quicker for visitors to choose a direction. Additional options are revealed as visitors progress deeper into the site. Though the site houses a large amount of detailed content, the depth and complexity is exposed gradually, without overwhelming the visitor.
At the end of each page, “next step” cards anticipate and prompt further action. These links can cut across the site structure, providing easy paths to common actions even if topically unrelated. A list of neighboring sections gives a peak at what content is nearby, orienting the user within the broader structure and suggesting related content without the need to backtrack. The global footer provides pathways back to top-level sections as well as other university sites and offers contact information.
The result of this project is a new structure for U-M HR focused on findability. To view the full U-M HR website, please visit hr.umich.edu.