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How Doing User Tests Prior to Redesign Helped Determine a Better Web Design

Doing User Testing

Summary: If you redesign before learning what’s not working with the current site, there’s a good chance you’ll get it wrong.

When doing a redesign of a website, sometimes the first instinct is to create a great looking design to impress the client. When E & K Insurance Group asked us to update their site, we, too, wanted to create a great design. However, cleaning up the look of the website wasn’t the only thing they wanted. They also wanted to increase the business they were generating from the site.

E & K Insurance Group handles both personal and commercial insurance. They’re an independent agent meaning that they provide many different insurance carrier options for their clients. Because they can quote multiple carriers at once, they can’t offer online purchasing of insurance. Not having an online purchase option puts them at a disadvantage, particularly with the order online mindset of the mainstream consumer. One of our challenges was to help the visitor of the site overcome that hurdle.

During our initial meeting, we learned many of their new clients go to the website but ultimately called to inquire about insurance. E & K wanted more business started on the site. Our challenge was to create a user-friendly site that will encourage more of their visitors to initiate a quote with them online.

One of the criteria was that they wanted a cleaner website. Their current website had a bunch of links to other pages of their site, and they felt it was too disorganized. We also felt that there were too many options for the visitor. Initially, we figured those links were going to be the first thing to go. So, we started our user tests.

In Doing User Tests, We Learned Something Completely Different

Once we started doing user tests, we began to see a pattern that we weren’t expecting. Hardly anyone that we tested used the top navigation, the testers scrolled down to the links on the homepage to navigate the site. The other thing we learned was that to fill out an online quote form, the visitor would have to click to the page of the insurance in which they were interested. Then they had to navigate to a page with all the forms listed and then to the online form.

The client also recently implemented a client portal. When we were testing, we asked the user to visit the client portal. A majority couldn’t find it or missed the button altogether. It also wasn’t clear how to reach a representative from the homepage.

Taking What We Learned and Pulling It All Together

The final design implemented what we learned from our testing. For example, we created several clearly defined landing pages. Two greet you at the top of the page when you get there. One is for Personal Insurance and the other for Commercial Insurance. From there, we broke it down into the insurance options for the visitor.

In addition to the two choices at the top, we also organized their insurance products into lists that the visitor can quickly scan to make their choice. Once the visitor chooses a link, the landing page includes information about the product and a form to get an online quote. We also included above the quote request, an easy to understand graphic that explains the procedure once the form is submitted.

Final Results

Because we tested the current site before we started designing the new website, we had a better understanding of the expectation of the visitor. The result is a site that is easier to understand and navigate. We eliminated many of the multiple clicks that were needed to navigate to the right information. We also gave the visitor all the information they needed to make their decision on one page.

In the end, E & K was pleased with the results and has seen an uptick in site usage by both current and new clients. If we didn’t do the testing at the beginning, we would have had to rely upon assumptions, and there was a good chance that those assumptions would have been wrong. When we start a redesign, we look at what the current situation is first and make design decisions based on facts, not assumptions. Good web design goes beyond the look of the site. Good web design brings a better ROI for your client which is why it is important to test before you design.