New Prospect website
One of the latest projects I’ve been involved with has recently gone live: Prospect, the professional’s union, has just launched their new website. I’ve been helping with the website's new mobile and tablet friendly design, but also with some major changes to the information architecture.
The new design is responsive, a design approach that allows the template to change depending on the screen size being used to view the website. This means that users viewing on tablets or browsers see a slightly different layout than those on desktops, avoiding the need to zoom in and out to read the content.
We’ve also increased the width of the site, so that the growing audience of widescreen users can utilise more of the space. The biggest challenge was the amount of content and making the navigation more effective.
A study I undertook last year found that the Prospect site has about 55,000 public pages, making it the third largest of all TUC-affiliated union sites. We carried out an in-depth crawl analysis of the site to identify structural issues, such as problems that make search engines see unnecessary duplicate content.
We also conducted a lot of research to find a better navigational structure. This involved a large online members’ survey, conducting focus groups and also telephone interviews to ensure that a wide range of stakeholders from across the organisation fed into the process.
We also looked in depth at site usage, using several different analytics platforms, to identify behaviours that would help inform the redesign. Based on this research, the balance between the scope, labels and positioning of the navigation options were changed significantly to make content much easier to find.
We also introduced ‘mega- menus’ to the site, making it quicker to navigate through the large amount of content. When hovering over a link with a ‘mega-menu’, a large drop appears that can display a great number of options, reducing the amount of clicks required. These types of menus also score highly for accessibility over traditional drop down menus, as research has shown they are much easier to use. I believe the resulting new website is a big improvement, but you can see for yourself at www.prospect.org.uk.
I was previously in charge of technology at Prospect before founding Infobo, so it was great to work again with Prospect and Zedcore, the coding house who implemented the new design.
This also gave me another change to work with the very talented Simon Crosby, the in-house graphic designer who I worked with on my first union website design, a long, long time ago.