Project Goals

To reduce the bounce rate of the homepage

We chose bounce rate over pageviews and page sessions because it would produce the greatest impact, driving traffic to all the other landing pages.

Measuring a single metric helped focus the team and our strategy.

To validate the new design through A/B Testing

The bounce rate at the time was very high (75%) and of visitors who stayed on the page, 64% never scrolled past the halfway mark.

Our hypothesis was that by improving the layout of content, visitors would be more engaged and the bounce rate would fall.

Why we chose to focus on the homepage

Proposing a revamp to the entire website would be a huge investment of resources which wouldn’t necessarily pay off from a business perspective.

Instead, we wanted to grab our stakeholders’ immediate attention by redesigning the homepage, and then move on from there.


  Design

Filtering the content

The existing homepage contained a plethora of categories and navigation options, but failed to communicate a clear brand message.

The idea was to reuse existing content but only pick the ones that echoed our brand voice. In the end, I narrowed the scope down to mid-to-high end dining, shopping and trends.

Getting the buy-in from investors

Making the design appealing was crucial. If the investors didn’t like what they saw, nothing else we mentioned would matter.

Core elements were removed from the existing design, including the main icons and regional categories. I made sure that there was a clear rationale behind each design decision.

Managing investor expectations

The new design conflicted with stakeholders’ expectations of the website being a city guide used at tourist destinations. As such, I had to clearly communicate my intentions and expected outcome for the new homepage.

Our biggest mistake – designing around data

Choosing content based on high click-through-rates and Google search trends seemed like a good idea at first, and was especially appealing to our content and SEO experts (who obsess about numbers).

However, the data-driven approach failed to produce an overall pleasing design. I made the call to drop data theory altogether: “we can come back and change things when we have new data.”


  Development

Using design to drive content

By scrutinizing every piece of content, this project was a good opportunity to strengthen our content strategy. For example, new sub-categories drove the reorganization of themed articles.

It was important that we anticipated these mismatches between design and content to minimize disputes.

Applying the design to the whole website

For this project, we did not keep the page styles consistent. The plan was to first single out the homepage and then change the other pages progressively. The business impact was deemed appropriate.


  Team & Responsibilities

Core Members

Designer, Project Manager

Scott Milburn

SEO Expert

Alex Ho

Developer

Timothy Chu

Collaboration Tools

Mockup and style sharing

Zeplin

File sharing

Google Drive

Interative prototyping

Axure