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CASE STUDY

University of Oxford - Finance Division

THE CHALLENGE

The Division approached the agency to carry out a comprehensive review of their website’s current usability, information presentation, navigation, naming conventions and overall structure. As the site is held on a sub-domain of the University Administration Services site and is largely held behind a secure-sign-in there was a reduced reliance on being able to search for content. Therefore the main requirement was to make the site more logical to the user in terms of how the information was grouped together and accessed. The project was carried out in six distinct phases:

1. Research – A feasibility review of the existing website, including an analysis of the Google Analytics and internal search logs. 

2. Testing – Provision of user testing and compilation of user feedback. 

3. Strategy – Proposal for a revised Information Architecture.

4. Visualisation of changes – Created the new top level sitemap and interactive wireframes for further stakeholder testing.  

5. Delivery – Structural changes carried out to the live site. 

6. Content – Workshops, review and stylistic changes. 

Once the structural changes had been completed, we then worked with the Division to deliver workshops to their community of web publishers and content owners on best practice when creating and editing content for the web.

THE RESULT

We helped the Division to restructure their content based on a comprehensive analysis of user requirements, stakeholder feedback and content prioritisation. The rationale for the restructure changes predominately came from the user testing phase of the project. For this, we interviewed a range of regular site users who used the site in different ways. Asking them questions about which categories they would group common tasks under. They were asked to assign names to the content groupings they had created. These were then standardised during the analysis, informing the new categories that we worked on in the revised website site map. We also identified entirely new requirements, including a ‘Working in Finance’ area and ‘Information for new finance system users’.

It was also observed in the user testing phase that there was no consistency in terms of the flow of the site, or appropriate standard iconography to support these. For example, all of the Forms, Processes, Regulations and Contact details were held in one category under the previous structure, which meant that you were taken away from the subject area you were in and onto an entirely different area of the site to download the related resources. So we integrated this content into the relevant subject areas and made all the landing pages contain similar icons to help identify these clear calls to action. These landing pages were also all made public rather than secure (as they didn’t contain anything confidential at this level) and so were searchable in the integrated Google Search Appliance.

The overall result is a much improved experience and an enhanced clarity of purpose. By carrying out a total overhaul of the site structure together with a Content Strategy and Style Guide, all parties responsible for maintaining the site are now empowered to build on this further. Looking to the future still, the website content will be in a good position when the Division moves across to a new responsive content management system in the medium-longer term.

WHAT THE CLIENT SAID

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