4 months, real client experience at Burlington Code Academy's UX program
main point of contact, project manager, UX/Web strategy, UX research, design, content strategy, information architecture
1st design iteration of full website and customer portal (not launched)
Glavel is a foam glass aggregate company that distributes a lightweight, thermally insulating building material derived entirely from recycled glass using no virgin material.
We created the first design iteration of a new website that is built for sales, has clear user pathways with different buying paths, informs the user about the product and has opportunities for users to convert.
Conducting user research and creation of wireframes, mockups, user personas, user flows, user journeys, content strategy, and design.
To adapt to projected demand increases and restructuring of the company from a product orientation to a service orientation.
My team and I worked alongside Glavel's Director of Marketing and their Sales and Marketing Manager. On my team's side, I worked with three other students. Along with my other responsibilities, I was the sole project manager, main point of contact to the client and also spearheaded the design and discussion regarding the customer portal.
Glavel, a Burlington-based company, that specializes in distributing foam glass aggregate decided to work with Burlington Code Academy after plans for expansion. Glavel's plans for domestic production foretold an increase in demand, a shortening of the sales cycle, and a requirement for scaling of backend systems architecture, data collection and an increase in site functionality. They needed a new website to accommodate scaling!
- Glavel's top competitor is their only direct competitor
- Website is fully functional, clean and responsive
- Case studies display depth and breadth of their work with clients
- Brand identity is strong and present in logo and missions statements
- Glavel's greatest strengths was their visibility in press and extensive amount of product related resources, however, those resources were really difficult to find
- Case studies, easier to use sites, and prominent branding on competitor sites were Glavel's largest threats
- Opportunities to redefine their content strategy and information architecture, especially regarding resources
- Most clicked link was to external press rather than site content
- Lowest page views were on page with all resources and content about products!
- Out of 5,155 total pageviews, only 15 or 0/29% were on resources
- 60% bounce rate – though, this isn't especially poor, the majority of website bounce rates fall between 26% and 60%. However, most search engine optimization experts have said that as a broad rule of thumb, websites should aim to have a bounce rate of under 40%.
- Overall lack of font hierarchy
- Confusing information architecture
- Information about product hidden in gated resources rather than available on the site
"(..) you need to compact it and then buy 30% extra and then install it and compact it, so we actually didn’t buy enough! We have been jumping through hoops…I didn’t want to wait another 6 weeks to get more, so we didn’t buy enough."
Glavel customers were struggling with the buying process because of a lack of information on the Glavel website.
They had trouble finding information because of confusing website navigation, and were relying on secondary websites, or not using the website at all for information about the product.
Glavel customers were missing information that they needed to install the product correctly. One participant faced major setbacks due to this problem.
Glavel customers told us how responsive and communicative the Glavel team was to work with.
Glavel customers were committed to Glavel’s brand values like sustainability, communication and their great customer service. These brand values weren’t so obvious on the website.
We learned that Glavel customers have a huge love for sustainability, sustainable products and environmentally conscious building.
This got us thinking about how to make Glavel’s brand values more prominent throughout their site.
This was the major point of our content strategy to address lack of information and helpful resources on the website.
We made these easy to find chock-full of information that would hopefully mitigate any missteps in installing the product. As a marketing strategy, some of them would still be gated to qualify those downloading them as leads and potential contacts.
Several users expressed the desire to order material themselves and to have regular status reports on their orders!
Though, users may not necessarily want what they say they want, I lead the initiative with user flows, wireframes, and designs to visualize what this could look like for the Glavel team.
Some users expressed issues with making major mistakes and miscalculations that dramatically affected their projects. We created this Materials Calculator to address mistakes when the quote is requested.
We put this on a devoted landing page to route all users to the primary action they want to take and would ideally allow the Glavel team to capture these leads in one central location through forms.
Time was coming close towards the end, and we didn't have a chance to actually test these designs! This would have allowed us to see the true results of our efforts and where we fell short.
Since I'm writing this after having had more experience, there are some significant things that I wish we had honored! Particularly – the forms! Having established forms is a huge part of the sales cycle to capture leads, and regrettably we weren't able to tell them how to implement forms.
Along with this, communicating to stakeholders that we weren't developers who were really building the website was hard to navigate without the experience. With that experience, it helps me to understand why collaboration with developers is so meaningful. We learn exactly how our designs become reality, and as designers we need to be able to know what they know, but not necessarily exactly how to do it.
Even though my team had elected me as the project manager, I had begun to feel that some of my team members were out of the loop of significant communications or priorities without having that role themselves.
I had become pretty overwhelmed both managing my very NEW responsibilities with limited understanding, as well as the responsibilities of others. Evening out our responsibilities would have made this team effort more collaborative!
Thanks for reading and thanks to Karen Yuen, Hannah Anderson, Will Hart and the rest of the Burlington Code Academy team for all the support! A very special thanks to my instructor Rick Machanic and teaching assistant Collin Hadley for all of your dedicated time and effort both during and after school hours.
Thank you for the extensive knowledge that you have shared along with the patience, empathy, and humor that you demonstrated daily.