Established in 1975, the Long Service Corporation is a government agency that provides portable long service for workers in the building and construction industry. The schemes administered by the Corporation enable workers to receive long service benefits that they were previously not entitled to under outdated legislation.
The Corporation wanted to rebrand and redesign their array of websites in a way that brought both the design scheme and technical functionality up to date. This initially comprised a corporate website providing general information about the Corporation and content common across all industries, plus a whole host of industry-specific portals.
User feedback suggested there was a lot of confusion about the relationship between the various industry sites and the corporate site. Users were increasingly frustrated by the need to constantly navigate back and forth between different sites to find what they were looking for.
So the task was to create a more streamlined experience for users, and as part of the user research to determine how many sites the Corporation really needed to service their members.
With so many different websites and individual user requirements, the idea of creating one online presence was initially quite daunting. The first challenge was understanding the nature of each industry’s requirements and distilling them into a structure that would provide common, streamlined and seamless access for every user. The second part of the challenge lay in adding industry-specific depth of content for those who required it – without confusing users or creating a disruptive, distracting interface.
The Corporation also needed to gain the support of stakeholders who had initially felt that user research was unnecessary.
Keeping users at the heart of the project was a key requirement for us because we believe that if a website isn’t properly engaging users then it’s not doing its job. We embarked on an exploration of the current website audience, examining the different requirements of each industry. In doing this, we also analysed how these requirements overlapped and found common ground.
Because desk research is never enough, we extended this exploration into a series of workshops. In each workshop we worked with 8-10 users to understand their needs and wants in greater depth, allowing us to identify distinct content areas across each group. It also gave us the opportunity to discuss potential design solutions in a one-on-one environment.
During the user research we discovered that users wanted a “one-stop-shop” for all their needs and did not want navigate back-and-forth between the industry and corporate sites. To accommodate this need, we designed two self-contained industry sites that also accessed and utilised corporate site information. This was all made seamless and simple by the content re-use of Open souse content management systems.
We also discovered that our initial user groups broke down further into distinct sub-groups with specific information needs and different skill levels, for example:
This led us to a navigational structure that allowed quick access to targeted content so that users could find exactly what they needed – when they needed it.
Because not everyone needs the same thing, we developed a separate corporate website to act as a portal for any users who searched for the corporate site, with clear links to the industry-specific sites. The corporate site also provides information to non-specific industry groups such as media or government agencies.
Long Service Corporation has solidified its online presence by creating a streamlined user experience that gives visitors relevant content in an engaging manner. Because of the extensive research and strategy, users are directed to the right website every time – and they stay there.
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