Background

From  website analytics (quantitative research), screen recordings, competitor analysis and 4 online video interviews with representatives of our target audience (qualitative research), we identified the following areas for improvement –

  • Site navigation labels and ordering
  • Load times (before 8.4s after 4.3s)
  • Simpler copywriting and less of it
  • Better presentation of case studies
  • Information about how we research at a sociable distance
  • Stronger branding
  • Better SEO

Roles and responsibilities

  • Project manager (scrum master) – scheduling and facilitating meetings, maintaining the artefacts we used
  • User researcher – understanding current site usage, designing feedback survey, recruiting participants, analysing results and presenting actionable insights
  • Copywriter – messaging and how copy was marked up for SEO and accessibility 
  • Graphic designer – ‘wireframes’, image creation and optimisation
  • Developer – customising the WordPress theme, presenting content, optimising page load speed and site security 
  • Marketer and SEO analyst – ensuring content supported branding, managing keywords and metadata

Process

These After making basic wireframes of some of the new pages, we shared them with the agency that coded the site. By sharing screens in Zoom meetings we were able to discuss these early ideas and layouts and make changes in real time.

From these rapid prototypes, the home page was selected as the first page to code as it was the most complex and would act as a template for the rest of the pages. This enabled development to begin whilst the wireframe and content for the next page were drafted and assembled.

Image of wireframe for Agile Research's new landing page

To chunk down and track the many tasks required to move from design to development, we used Trello as a kanban board. Tasks were specified on cards, broken down into checklists and allocated owners. These were then discussed and refined in daily Zoom meetings (stand-ups). 

To measure progress, cards moved from “In progress” to “For Review” and “Done”. This worked well with keeping us all on the same page, and collating information such as project specs, login credentials and documentation in one place. It also helped ensure no one was held up by someone not having done something.

We used Trello as a Kanban board to manage tasks

After all the pages had been drafted, we shared the new site as a beta version and invited feedback with an anonymous online survey.  The survey asked about the user experience e.g. load times, use of text and imagery, and how likely respondents would be to recommend our services (net promoter score).

Introductory page of web survey investigating how the new website was perceived

Results from the survey

Results of feedback survey

Reviewing the results highlighted snags which we discussed and addressed systematically.

Overall though feedback was positive which was really encouraging.

To motivate people to take the time for this review, we offered a donation to AgeUK for every response and we thanked them.

Thank you from AgeUK acknowledging our donation

Lessons Learnt

  1. Despite being careful to document every stage of the process, ambiguities and misunderstandings inevitably occurred, but referring to what was shared online really helped to straighten things out and reach a shared understanding
  2. We could have better identified and baselined the KPIs we wanted to improve
  3. Having an eye to the site’s purpose from the outset i.e. to be easily found through Google searches and encouraging visitors to make contact, really helped with writing and laying out the content.
  4. Online artefacts such as wireframes should be quickly abandoned after they’ve served their purpose e.g. the wireframes became redundant as soon as content changes could be made to the to the new pages 
  5. It’s OK if things take longer than expected. We thought it would take 2 weeks from start to finish but it actually took four. This was mainly due to not fully understanding the tools provided by our ISP (site host)
  6. Agile and Kanban really work! Besides task management, the rest of the team agreeing that a task has been completed was really satisfying for the task owner
  7. We enjoyed collaborating :)
  8. Users enjoy the opportunity to participate in design and development 
  9. Though this is obviously baked into our work: feedback from actual users proved invaluable for informing development, questioning things we’d taken for granted and snagging
  10. These tools proved really useful –
    Google drive and Google forms, Google Keyword Planner, Moz SEO software,  Hotjar, Zoom, Draw io, Trello, GTmetrix, Webpagetest.org and LinkedIn