Bluetooth Website Redesign

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group is the member-based global standards organization that manages the Bluetooth specification and ensures interoperability between billions of wireless devices. The Bluetooth website is an important resource for the 34,000+ member companies that design and market Bluetooth enabled products.


The Situation

  • The Bluetooth website is ranked last in terms of user satisfaction by members, rated the number one opportunity for improvement*
  • 83% of members indicate that the Bluetooth website is their primary means of interaction with the Bluetooth organization*

*Source: Bluetooth 2011 annual member survey

“How can we improve the experience of the Bluetooth website so members can find the information they need more quickly and easily?”


Project Goals:

Clearly, our members were not happy with their website experience. Based on the survey numbers and comments, and anecdotal feedback gathered at various Bluetooth events, we developed our project objectives to:

  1. Increase member satisfaction with our web-based tools and content
  2. Create more intuitive navigation and information architecture
  3. Provide more custom experiences for our members

Key Research Questions:

  1. Who are the users of the site?
  2. What are the resources they are looking for?
  3. How would they organize information on the site?

The Team:

  • My Role: Lead Designer/Researcher/Product Manager
  • Marketing Director (project sponsor)
  • Front-end Developer
  • Project Manager
  • Engineering (8 Developers + 2 QAs)

Research

Heuristic Evaluation

The UX team inherited this site and were thus unfamiliar with how it was built and the thinking behind its organization. Conducting a heuristic evaluation to identify high-level usability issues was a good first step. Our findings showed us that the site has:

  • Too many categories to facilitate scanning
  • Inconsistent hierarchal structure
  • No contextual calls to action
  • Inconsistent navigational behavior
  • Poor location awareness (no breadcrumbs)

User Interviews

I conducted user interviews to collect qualitative data relative to usage, pain points, and unmet needs to determine our primary user segments and scenarios. We learned that members feel that:

  • The site is not geared towards new members
  • There is a lot of useful information on the site (pages, links, docs, tutorials), but it's often too deeply embedded in the navigation, in unexpected places, or hidden
  • There’s too much information on the front page
  • People like the ability to customize their views

Personas Development

Through stakeholder inputs and user interviews, I developed five main user types:

Card Sorting

In order to understand how our users would organize the site, I conducted an open card sort to allow participants to create groupings of content and to provide meaningful category names. I then conducted a closed card sort where participants placed content items within predetermined categories (defined previously in the closed card sort).

Of the 19 in-person participants for the open card sort and 159 online participants for the closed card sort, there was considerable agreement of naming and content organization with only a few areas with low agreement. Based on our findings, we created a top-level navigation model and vetted with stakeholders:

Design Requirements

Our research indicated that our design should include:

  • Direct paths for new members to learn about the technology and the organization
  • Optimized information architecture to surface the most relevant content
  • Consistent site behavior from section to section and visual location indicators (breadcrumbs)
  • Minimized front page content and dedicated space for different sections
  • Contextual content and calls to action

Sketching + Wireframes

I created sketches of page designs with dedicated content modules for the needs of each of our external personas:

  • Alan: Spec Developer — Specification and working group information
  • Min Jun: Product Developer — Specification information and market research
  • Klara: Test Engineer — Test spec information and errata
  • Robert: Product Marketer — Brand compliance guidelines

The intent of the layout was to create consistency and familiarity. The homepage design is of a similar visual format to many other sites, which was intentional. A format where content organization is easily understood and learned was a priority.

For the main navigation, I incorporated a mega dropdown menu into the design as a way to introduce more content options at the top level, and to aid users in learning the organization of the site.

Prototyping Testing

I conducted usability testing — in-person and online — using a prototype of the new design built in collaboration with our front-end developer. We learned that:

  1. Participants were able to successfully complete most tasks within 12 seconds and on their first try. As a result, we kept the top-level navigation as is.
  2. Participants consistently had difficulty with two tasks related to developer resources. We made a quick link – a prominent button — on the homepage to bring users directly to these resources.
  3. 90% of participants preferred the new mega dropdown to the original side navigation, but expressed concern about being exposed to too much content. We worked to keep the amount of content in the mega dropdown to a manageable level and utilized section landing pages.

Deployment

The new website was released in March 2012, followed by two sprints of hypercare to fix bugs and broken links.

Results

Members ranked the new website as the most improved program of the organization and the number one rationale for an overall 6% increase in satisfaction with the organization.*

“From last year the site is easier to navigate. I can find relevant info in less time.”
— Survey Respondent


*Source: Bluetooth 2013 annual member survey

Reflection

What I learned:

Extensive user research paid off. Establishing a sound understanding of our users and theirs content needs helped us make informed decisions.

Sharing UX research findings with the project team helped keep user needs as a project priority. If you want to make sure user needs are part of the development process, then show your entire project team a video of a user's ten-minute rant on why your search functionality is so terrible that he doesn't use it anymore.

What I would do differently:

Give internal users some love, too. The first few weeks of site management with a new CMS were unnecessarily difficult for content owners. A modest training plan would have made a huge difference.

Epilogue

Since the completion of this project, the Bluetooth website has been redesigned — and replatformed — twice, yet much of the IA work that was defined in this project remains in place.