gunatitjyot.org is a website I lead technical development for with the help of a team of volunteers for my religious organisation. The website has an audience around the world wanting to keep up to date on the organisation’s latest activities, events, and spiritual material, as well as new visitors coming to learn about the religion.
In late 2017, the team, led by myself, began to evaluate how the website could provide a better user experience for visitors. This included the kinds of content on offer, how they were organised and structured on the site, and the visual design of the website.
Examining our Google Analytics from recent months, we identified which pages from our top nav and content from the homepage, new and returning users clicked on the most.
This allowed for us to see what kind of content was popular and users actively seek on the site, with the goal of making this easier to access, as well as a guide for where we should focus efforts for new content and editorials.
By analysing our top nav and types of content on our homepage in this way, we also came to the realisation that for a single event or news topic covered on the website, there are multiple places in which content for that subject is located.
For example, for an auspicious celebration, there may be the following:
- A journalistic writeup as a part of a fortnightly newsletter, currently in the Newsletters section
- The above writeup may include a few select photos
- A comprehensive photo gallery covering the event in the Photos section
- A video recording or archived live stream of the event in Live Streams on Demand
- An article on the homepage explaining the religious significance or a special pre-event editorial on the topic
The organisation also has a monthly printed newsletter called Patrika, which will also cover key events.
Content spread across different areas of the site and multiple articles covering the same topic not only creates fragmentation on the site, but also confusion for users as they could easily miss content related to what they’re looking for.
Following the initial exploration of our data and insights, we had a few goals:
- To maintain and improve discoverability of content, through highlighting new content and increasing accessibility of frequently visited pages
- Optimising key content on the site to be mobile friendly and unfragmented so that content for the same topic wouldn’t be scattered across the site
This led to us taking a step back to see what the big picture was:
By really thinking about what it meant for ‘News’ to be on our website, we were able to break it away from its current fragmentation across the site in the form of fortnightly newsletters, monthly Patrikas, and a different kinds of article for each material type, and instead deliver content in a way similar to that of a news publication’s website.
The medium fidelity wireframe, above, addresses the goals we had set out. The homepage displays all new content across the site in a chronologic order, with only one article per topic, each containing all relevant material, meaning any new content is discoverable without needing to navigate the top menu or multiple articles.
Articles used as editorial pieces are rarely accessed after the relevant time of year and so do not need to be made available for constant access, instead being featured in a highlighted section of the homepage when timely.
The top navigation quickly takes the user to static content that was commonly accessed before, but sometimes buried.
With the project receiving approval, I development roadmap for how we were going to transition to the new website.
The first step is to make gradual changes to the current site, starting with simplifying the top navigation and homepage as much as possible. We would be able to read from analytics what kind of effect this would have based upon hit rates to new content that was previously undiscovered by users.
Update 1 9/10/17: the top menu structure has been adjusted to display mainly static aspects of the site as per the wireframe. The homepage now displays all new articles across the site in a chronological order (different content types would still have separate articles though)