Information Architecture, Content Strategy, UX/Visual Design
While volunteering at Midnight's Farm on Lopez Island, WA, I was asked to contribute to a website redesign process that had been stalled due to busy work schedules.
Purchasing information updates
Information Architecture & navigation update
Color scheme update
Content reorganization & creation, copy simplification
New page buildout
Landing page buildout
I led a short discovery session with the farm owners, where I learned about what aspects of the farm were represented currently and also those which still needed to be added to the site. I viewed their first attempt at a redesign, and worked off of this version.
During our discussion, they informed me of their need for greenwaste dropoff accountability and tracking.
We talked about their main audiences: yoga practitioners looking for schedule information, potential farm volunteers, other farmers dropping off greenwaste and/or buying compost and Lopez Island residents buying meat and pork from the farm stand.
We needed to address their greenwaste dropoff concerns and shape the website for these personas.
Overall, I determined the main usability issues to tackle were as follows:
Confusing navigation without landing pages for top level navigation items
Inconsistent fonts for headers, body copy
No general gallery for photos
No representation of accepting volunteers
No clear way to buy/reserve beef and pork products on the site
No form for greenwaste dropoff signup (for purpose of tracking and accountability)
Midnight's Farm Homepage, Before and After Redesign
Site Map and Content Analysis
When I reviewed Midnight’s Farm’s information architecture and navigation, the site was organized as follows:
There were a few issues that I saw immediately upon review of the current navigation and an inventory of the content and its placement on the site.
Lack of Landing Pages
Landing pages did not exist for any of the top level navigation items underneath “Home.” The taxonomy needed to be simplified and flattened, with pages such as “About Studio,” and “Teachers” being integrated as general information on the “Down Dog Studio” landing page. A bulleted, succinct list of the “Benefits of Compost” could exist within the “Compost” landing page.
No Image Gallery
The farm also needed a gallery for all aspects of the farm, and not just the “Farm Stay” section of the site. These types of issues with navigation and content existed throughout the site.
No Volunteer Representation
Continuing with discovery, I asked the farmers questions such as, “what are the most important aspects of your company?” to inform what was deserving of a top or secondary level navigation. Based on a review of content, I determined that there needed to be some sort of representation of WWOOF or volunteering on the farm. Multiple sources of content specific to volunteering existed in other locations (WWOOF Welcome PDF, WWOOF website, etc.) but not on the Midnight’s Farm website.
After multiple iterations and discussions, the navigation simplified and transformed into the following:
Simplifying Copy: Farm Stay Page Example
Descriptions on the site were also consistently too long. I explained that users don’t read on websites, they skim information to find what they are looking for. The copy on the site needed to be trimmed, bulleted where possible, and sharpened. I summarized and rewrote copy to match this guideline.
Overall, I tried to increase striking visuals and decrease lengthy paragraphs of text.
* Please note that many photos that you see here in the “After” screenshots are still considered to be placeholders, and will be updated after the next round of client feedback.
Farm Stay Page Before Redesign
Farm Stay Page After Redesign
Volunteer Page Buildout
We discussed various ways one could visit the farm and settled on the farm stand, farm stay, and volunteering. This resulted in the top navigation of "Visit," with information about the farm stand living on the Visit landing page.
"Volunteer” and “Farm Stay” were given their own pages in the secondary navigation.
Previously, there was no representation of volunteering on the site. I built a Volunteer page from multiple resources (a PDF specifically sent to WWOOFers, other copy on the site, the farm profile page on WWOOF, etc.) to help WWOOFers gather more information about the farm.
Based on business goals, the final publishing of the Volunteer page is still to-be-determined.
Instagram Gallery Integration
The issue of adding an easy-to-manage photo gallery to the site was resolved quickly.
Using Wix, we added an app connecting the farm’s Instagram account to the site. From the Farm top-level navigation item we linked a secondary page titled “Photos,” intended to be a general gallery of farm photos.
The farmers already were actively and regularly using Instagram and curating beautiful images. Instead of having to maintain a separate gallery of images, it made sense to use the existing imagery available through their Instagram account.
This way any new photo added to Instagram would also automatically be added to the photo gallery on the website.
Reserving Beef and Pork Online
There was also no clear way to purchase beef or pork products from the farm. I had a lot of questions.
Is it sold at farmers markets?
Could you even buy it online and get it shipped to you?
A landing page on “Beef and Pork” hopefully helped to clarify some of these questions and informed customers with CTAs that they could reserve, but not buy, meat online.
A secondary navigation item of “Reserve Online” under this page then allows customers to reserve a variety box, half a hog or quarter beef. Previously, “variety box” was scattered on a page on “Beef,” without any indication of how to reserve it.
On the “Reserve Online” page, the QuickBuy thumbnails link directly to a product detail page. We also added a section on the page about the farm stand to let customers know when and where they could purchase products directly from Midnight’s Farm.
This method consolidated all purchasing information into the “Reserve Online” page , and allows users multiple chances to reserve beef or pork with the homepage CTA, landing page CTA and individual product QuickBuy option.
This site redesign is an active work-in-progress.
We have plans to continue with more feedback on the first pass at a redesign, and then continue with iterations until the newly designed site goes live (end of summer 2018). Before this project can be completed, business goals need to be further defined. Additionally, various work remains to be accomplished and integrated into the final product:
Further pruning of content (Kids Welcome- is it needed?)
Greenwaste dropoff/signup process improvements
Yoga schedule integration with Google calendars, continued build-out of “Yoga Studio” page tree
Volunteer page improvements
Connect Instagram account for photo gallery
Copy updates review
Buy/reserve beef and pork clarification
Further defining company values/mission and showcasing on homepage
Photos courtesy of Zachary Scott Snyder and Midnight's Farm