Treebeards is a small tree-trimming company that approached us to design a website to establish its online presence and attract new customers.
- Increase online visibility
- Support good user experience: the website needs to be user-friendly and easy to navigate so visitors can quickly find information and take action, such as requesting a quote, or scheduling a service.
While this project is still unfolding, I began with a stakeholder interview and a competitive analysis to better understand the user’s and client’s needs. I followed this up with a small (n=10) round of user interviews with potential customers who have used tree services in the past. I capped the interviews with a small card-sorting study to revise the site map and ensure the site’s information architecture aligns with representative users’ mental models.
The stakeholder interview revealed the ultimate goals, vision and tastes of the client.
The competitive analysis helped identify the competitor’s strengths and weaknesses and opportunities to differentiate Treebeards from others in the market.
The user interviews provided additional insights to help ensure the design meets the business’s and its customers’ needs and expectations, while the card sorting helped to align the client’s and my mental models surrounding information architecture to that of the users.
At kickoff, I had the opportunity to speak with the owner of Treebeards and gain valuable insights into the company’s goals and vision. Through our conversation, I learned that the owner wanted the website to showcase the company’s expertise and professionalism while also highlighting its commitment to customer satisfaction.
Additionally, we discussed the importance of establishing a clear and easy-to-navigate structure for the website, focusing on providing visitors with the information they need quickly and efficiently. This led us to prioritize clear calls to action throughout the site and an intuitive navigation system that would make it easy for visitors to find what they want.
The stakeholder interview provided important context for the design process and helped shape the project’s direction. With these insights, I am working to create a website that effectively communicates Treebeards’ expertise and dedication to customer satisfaction while providing visitors with a straightforward, easy-to-use interface.
To better understand the competitive landscape for Treebeards, we thoroughly analyzed the websites of several other tree-trimming companies in the area. Here are some key takeaways from our analysis:
- All the websites we reviewed have a similar structure, with a homepage featuring a hero image or slider and sections highlighting services, about the company, testimonials, and contact information.
- Most websites had a clean and professional design, but some were outdated and difficult to navigate.
- Most websites featured before and after images of previous work, and many highlighted their experience and expertise in the industry.
- Several websites also offered customers educational resources, such as a blog or a FAQ section.
- Only a few websites had clear calls to action, such as a prominent “Get a Quote” button or a form to request a consultation.
Based on our analysis, we identified several opportunities for improvement in the Treebeards website design. We recommend incorporating clear calls to action, updating the design to be more modern and user-friendly, featuring before and after images, and providing educational resources for customers. Some examples of local competitors are below.
I conducted semi-structured user interviews with 10 potential customers who have used similar services. We asked open-ended questions to gather their feedback on the Treebeards brand experience and user journey. We then analyzed the data and identified common themes and pain points.
- Can you tell me about your experience with tree-trimming services? What do you look for in a tree-trimming service?
- How did you hear about Treebeards, and what made you consider their service over others?
- Are there any specific features or services that you would like to see Treebeards offer that they don’t currently provide?
- How important is the price to you when choosing a tree-trimming service? Are you willing to pay more for quality service?
- Can you describe a time when you had a particularly good or bad experience with a tree-trimming service?
- What motivates you to use a tree-trimming service? Is it for aesthetic reasons, safety concerns, or something else?
- How important is it for you to have a personal connection or relationship with the tree-trimming service provider?
- Brand Perception: Several users mentioned being unfamiliar with the Treebeards brand and generally preferring to use more established and recognizable companies, but they called for a free quote. They also mentioned that the Treebeards logo and branding looked outdated and could be refreshed.
- “I’m not familiar with Treebeards. I usually go with bigger companies that I’ve heard of before. But I might consider giving them a chance if they offer a free quote.”
- Website Navigation: Users expressed the need for a clear and intuitive website design that would allow them to quickly find the information they were looking for.
- “If I have trouble finding the information I need on a website, I will just leave and go somewhere else. A clear and intuitive design would be helpful, with fewer distractions and more emphasis on what I am seeking, trimming services. Whatever you do to make that easy is great.”
- Mobile Optimization: Many users primarily access websites through their mobile devices.
- “I primarily use my phone to access websites.”
- Quote Request Process: Users found the quote request process confusing and time-consuming. They have to call for a quote, with some reporting having to leave a message or play “phone tag” before finally scheduling an appointment for an onsite estimate. Users suggested that the process could be streamlined with clear instructions and the ability to upload images.
- “The current quote request process can be a bit confusing and time-consuming. I think it would be better if they had a form or something on their website with set pricing tiers and you could just like build the project.”
The information architecture for the Treebeards website was developed by following a user-centered approach, considering the user’s mental model and their information needs. Here are the steps we followed to develop the information architecture:
- Identified the primary content areas: We first identified the primary content areas that the website needed to include, based on the client’s requirements and stakeholder interviews. These primary content areas included the services offered by Treebeards, customer testimonials, pricing information, contact information, and a blog.
- Organized content into categories: We then organized the content into categories that made sense to users, based on the user’s mental model. For example, we created a “Services” category that included all the different types of services offered by Treebeards.
- Created a hierarchy: We established a hierarchy of content based on user needs and prioritized content that was most important to users. For example, we placed the “Services” category at the top of the hierarchy since it was a key reason for users to visit the website.
- Developed a site map: We then created a site map that visually showed the hierarchy and organization of content. This helped us ensure that all content was accounted for and placed in a logical location.
- Tested and refined: Finally, we conducted a card sorting study to test the site map with users and ensure that it made sense and that users were able to easily find the information they were looking for. Based on user feedback, we made refinements to the information architecture as needed.
Card Sorting Study
Card sorting is a method used to develop an intuitive and user-friendly information architecture for a website. In the case of Treebeards website, we conducted a card sorting study to get insights on how users would organize the content on the website.
We recruited 10 participants who were representative of the target audience of the Treebeards website. We provided them with a set of cards that had different content and asked them to sort the cards into groups that made sense to them.
After the participants sorted the cards, we analyzed the results using an open card sort method. We looked for patterns in how the participants sorted the cards and identified the most common categories they used to group the content.
The findings from the card sorting study revealed that the participants had a clear preference for organizing the content by service type. They wanted to see different sections for tree trimming, tree removal, and stump grinding. They also indicated a preference for having a separate section for customer reviews and testimonials.
Informing the Information Architecture:
Based on these findings, we restructured the sitemap to reflect the participants’ preferred organization of the content. We created separate sections for tree trimming, tree removal, and stump grinding. We also added a section for customer reviews and testimonials, making it easy for users to find and read reviews of Treebeards’ services.
Here is an initial site map for the Treebeards website:
- About Us
- Tree Trimming
- Tree Removal
- Stump Grinding
- Emergency Services
- Contact Us
- Get A Quote (form)
- Phone Number
- Email Address
- Physical Address
Stay tuned for further developments.
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