Sometimes a project doesn’t evolve like you hoped it would, I guess it always throws stones in your path. In our case we realised that the website had become not fit-for-purpose. It was time to cut a lot of fat away and reduce it to the basics.
The website had been born before we knew our audience very well, so now was the time to review and clarify our persona definitions before jumping into a redesign.
We looked at the main scenarios relevant for selling Language Learning courses and picked two:
1) A journalist or blog reader visits fluentglobe.com to learn more about the company and people behind it.
2) A person interested in learning Swiss-German visits fluentglobe.com to learn more about the language course and any other relevant services.
The smartphone is fast becoming the tool for quickly looking something of interest. The front page has to work well on it. When people use their smartphone, they are more likely to do a task using an App than going to a website, so there will come a time when the horizontal scrolling common in Apps will be expected over the vertical scrolling common on the web. Is it time to make horizontal navigation on a mobile first web page?
Our current site is also very content heavy, it has much more than most take time to digest. Instead we must put in an effort to make our point succinctly fitting in the space of a phone screen. The design should assume that each page has a single flow of content, and not that much of it.
The traditional way to study languages by going to class in a 1-2 hour session is similarly reflected in the other modes of learning such as, going to your desktop computer, sitting down to study for a while by running a dedicated application. Our mobile phone app will reflect a much shorter study timespan, the website for signing up must herald the experience to expect in the app by favoring phones.
We sketched journey maps for the two main scenarios like this one:
It’s great to see how useful the design toolbox is. We look forward to try more techniques as part of future work.
Once we had the navigation research prepared, it was time to straighten out the install procedure. It’s tricky since you can start the scenario from an e-mail link, the web trial sign-up or from the App Store. The website and App should share data about any trial information entered on the device.
We could make a prototype and test it, but we judged that testing the actually implemented install procedure will be more constructive since the real functionality needs to be verified anyway.
One of the little surprises was how the reduction of screen size affected the sample sign-up landing page design. Since we cannot put much text there we had to stick to the minimum. The resulting page was much improved from what we had before.
The presentations: Here is an abbreviated version of our design brief presentation:
Next up we will be conducting usability studies on 10 different questions for a few handful of users representing the personas.