August 28, 2014

NTEN’s Website Redesign: Survey results from the community

With NTEN’s website redesign project underway, we took a step back and asked, “How do we know how our users use our site and what they want if we don’t ask? So we turned to the NTEN community, as we will continue to do at various stages of the redesign process, for your candid feedback about the NTEN website. We conducted a website survey with about 80 respondents, and conducted some one-on-one interviews with eleven members of the NTEN community. Here’s what you had to say.

First the good: While there’s definite improvements to be made, NTEN’s existing site does have clean appearance that is fairly simple to use.  As several users pointed out, keeping a clean, simple design should be key consideration in redesign so as not to detract from NTEN’s offerings. In general, people were able to conduct transactions (i.e. register for an event, renew their membership, etc.) with no problems, but it is a confusing, non-seamless transaction experience, both in terms of design interface and glitches in data sync between different systems.

Lots of users find NTEN content to be of high-quality, but it needs to be presented in a design that’s easier to digest and more attractive as a place to return to more often. Many people shared that the community groups provide a lot of value for them, so we would do well to put more community-generated content throughout the main site and highlight community-contributed articles more prominently. Membership information is easy to find, but the benefits can be highlighted more, and this is another opportunity to bring in visual content and feature more Member Stories.

The not-so good:

There’s too much text. The biggest pet peeve users cited was that NTEN is very-text heavy and not very engaging. More visual content would make the site much more useable, appealing, and easy-to-read. As one respondent wrote, [the site] “does not reflect the fun, caring, social personality of NTEN and the NTEN community. It should be much more “human,” much more “cool,” and should point much more quickly and easily to the resources people need (research, tools, community for questions, etc).”

The site is really hard to navigate. There’s a lot of resources, but it’s hard to find them, as the navigation drop-down menus aren’t very intuitive, and the search function doesn’t work well. Navigating across the different NTEN sites (myNTEN, myNTC, etc.) gets confusing and time-intensive.

NTEN.org is not very mobile-friendly. Responsive design needs to be a key piece of the redesign so the site renders clearly on any device.

One user summed it up well, “NTEN tries to be everything to everybody. As a result, the site is overwhelming with a lengthy homepage, text-heavy content, and long drop-down menus that aren’t particularly intuitive result. Consider nailing it down to 3-5 key highlights of NTEN’s offerings or calls to action that switch on a daily basis to show the diversity of content and be responsive to different audiences by giving users a more personalized experience.”

Good Website Examples Suggested by Respondents:

  • New York Public Library uses an appealing block layout
  • Tu.org‘s personalized user experience on their homepage. Like NTEN, they serve multiple audiences (e.g. beginning, intermediate, advanced users).
  • Emilyslist.org and Care.org both have an attractive, clear presentation of information

Key feedback from our users we’re prioritizing in our redesign:

  • Responsive design that is mobile friendly
  • Intutitive navigation and taxonomy
  • Robust search function
  • Clean, clear, and visually compelling layout
  • Community-centered design
  • Seamless user experience across all of NTEN’s sites

Thanks to everyone who gave us their feedback. Read more about our progress and stay tuned for the next web redesign update!

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Interest Categories: Websites
Tags: case study, NTEN, survey, website redesign