How do you design a website for multiple users with different needs?

Chloe Ward-Smith

UX Design

In October we joined forces with Cardiff based branding agency, Stills, (our sister company) to re-design the website for Alcumus ISOQAR - leaders in ISO certification and training. If you’re new to the world of ISO certification don’t worry, we were too. The important take away for the sake of this article is that it’s a very information-heavy area, so we were working with a lot of content. They needed to provide listings of ISO certifications and trainings to purchase, along with all of the supporting technical information for each one.

So, this was a challenge. How do we organise and prioritise content in a way which makes it digestible, easy to navigate around, and also allows users to find specific items at speed?

Easy right? We look at the hierarchy of the site, the Information architecture, and the user journeys.

But, there was more to consider - As well as all the content, Alcumus also had three different key users, each with varying needs.

The first, User A, was a businessman who was in a hurry and needed a quote for ISO certification at speed. The second, User B, was more collaborative, and though they also wanted a quote for certification, they had more time to hand. The third, User C, was interested in ISO certification but wasn’t sold on the company yet, so needed to be convinced of the brand’s integrity first.

So how did we handle these three different users, plus the challenge of the large amounts of information-heavy content?

Well, it’s all about prioritising, balance, and most importantly, it all comes back to the users.

We started with user research, talking to Alcumus and their clients, hearing their needs and their pain points, and how the site fits into their daily life. Following this, we ran workshops with Alcumus to dig into our findings and create user personas.

Here’s what we discovered:

Not only did user A need a quote at speed, but he also wanted ISOQAR to do the leg work for him because his time was the thing he valued most. Whereas for user B, it was important for him to feel involved in the process of getting a quote for certification - he was looking for a collaborative approach. And for user C, they had to land on the site and directly be sold ISOQAR’s services, whilst at the same time building trust in the brand; this user may go on to seek certification directly, but they may also need a bit of time and come back another day, so we needed to cater for that too.

The context we got from these workshops, and the why behind each of the users’ needs was the golden insights we needed, and it informed our design decisions from then on; Off the back of this we put together user journeys.

So now we’ve put ourselves in the shoes of the users, we have our context and our why, and an idea of the user journeys they will need to take. So now the question is, how do we cover all those needs at once?

In order to avoid trying to give equal weight to all the requirements and by effect catering to none, we needed to check priorities again with Alucmus. They confirmed that the number 1 priority was to direct users to Get a quote, because ultimately this went on to convert into sales.

We also discovered that whilst they want to cater for User B more, the largest volume of users at the moment actually fall into category A, so we needed to service both. To do this, we used a general CTA to ‘Get a Quote’ which is the first thing users see when they land on the homepage. When users click on this, they’re given three options; To call Alcumus directly, to complete a short form to request a callback, or to download and submit a long form. Each of these options covers the different users’ needs, and not just in terms of the format of contact, but also in terms of how involved they want to be in the process. We carefully chose language to support these three choices, gently directing users to the right option for them. We also added the ‘Get a quote’ CTA up in the header so users would always have it on their screen.

After that, the next highest priority was to service user C, who was interested in ISO certification and training, but first needed to be convinced of the brands’ integrity and quality. We did this by focusing on the homepage - including a block about the services ISOQAR offered which sits directly under the hero section, and focusing the rest of the homepage on the brand, its integrity, and the value it can bring to an organisation.

We approached this work from a user-centric perspective and we will continue to do so, testing with users and iterating as needed as time goes on, to optimise the site and it’s performance.

We can guess how users will interact with a product, but we can never know for sure until we see them doing so. But by starting with conversations with the users, we’re going to get a lot closer, than if we just guess based on our own assumptions.

Alcumus ISOQAR were extremely happy with their site, and we look forward to working with them again. So, if you need ISO certification or training, you know where to go. And if you want to build a complicated site with conflicting focuses, you also hopefully now have a clearer idea of how you could approach it.