CASE STUDY 2019
AIL Milano: a design and content refresh.
Restructuring the content to increase users engagement, while bringing a new look to the site of this established organization.
Web designer & PM
AIL’s communication & marketing team
AIL Milano is a non profit organization that promotes awareness and research on blood diseases while improving patients quality of life by providing them direct assistance.
AIL Milano came to us at Beecreative because their current site was under-performing. In particular, they noticed that users were not able to source relevant information navigating through its pages.
This resulted in an overload of queries through the contact form, making it difficult to reply to all of them. Users seeking information online would also call the office requesting advices on medical issues or scientific information, making it unpleasant for the staff to turn them down.
Moreover, the Communication Team realised that the use of stock images and icons wasn’t conveying a proper sense of the company and it set an ill-suited tone of voice that they were specifically avoiding.
We discussed with them how we could help and identified a poor content structure and unclear information architecture to be the cause of all those support requests.
We decided together to restructure the content of the site while bringing a design refresh to align the website with the tone of voice of the company.
Next step was to identify metrics that would validate the success of our project. In particular, we looked for an increase in page views and average time spent on page for all scientific sections and a substantial decrease in general requests for help coming through the contact form. From the 50+ support request via contact form a day, we wanted to go down to 10.
- Reorganise the content with a new structure.
- Convey a more accurate feel of AIL Milano through a new imagery style and page layouts.
- A tight budget and a short time deadline (3 weeks) made the whole process even more challenging.
To ensure success, we started by analysing all the content from the previous site as well as all present marketing materials (flyers and collaterals). We focused on evaluating the consistency and appropriateness of labelling and information grouping.
We also included a findability analysis to identify and evaluate available paths to content, including evaluation of cross linking. We examined previous queries to understand where the findability failed or which information were not easily reachable to users.
This phase enabled us to better understand AIL Milano audience and to start formulating some hypothesis about their target and their circumstances.
As we progress scrutinizing the material, we assumed that a user visiting AIL Milano’s website was either: a patient, a patient’s relative/friend,
a business interested in donating, a supporter or a prospective volunteer.
After mapping the whole content, we found some dead ends and were left with some questions that proved some critical areas needed to be tackled.
It was time to move onto the next phase and discuss with AIL Milano all of our findings and clarify our doubts.
We tested our guesses though a quick design workshop with two AIL Milano’s core team members. Not only they validated our assumptions, but helped us mapping out user journeys, based on their expertise and experience.
Thanks to this, we realized that AIL Milano is also actively supporting researchers, fundings their studies. The information was partially neglected in the previous website, resulting in some confused and disperse guidance.
With a clearer vision and a refined strategy in mind, it was time to move on the design phase having two main points to deliver and make crystal clear: what does AIL Milano do and who does it for. These points would therefore guide and inform every step of our redesign process.
We kicked off our redesign with a new navigation, clearly marking out all AIL Milano’s activities and how to support these.
We also reorganised all scientific materials about pathologies to make it more accessible and clear to users. From disperse blog entries, we created specific pages for each topic and then organised them all into one single page that provided an overall view to anyone looking for information.
As AIL Milano’s serves also the purpose of informing patients and their families about new treatments and research findings, we created a system of content tagging for the news to be able to display updates on the each pathology page.
Another section that was previously neglected was the one where testimonials would be displayed. AIL Milano’s staff would incorporate testimonials in the blog, where they got a bit lost and were findable only digging into the post archive. We decided to organise them into a category with nested subcategories depending on the subjects (business, researches, patients and volunteers). This way we generated landing pages with specific URLs to be linked whenever in the more informative pages it felt that the users would benefit from reading a specific group of testimonials.
Moreover, crossing testimonials with other categories of the blog provides a useful and powerful was to display specific pieces of content whenever it is necessary. For instance if a patient is diagnosed with a specific pathology, he/she can read directly testimonials from patients affected by the same pathology.
Our attempt here was to put rock solid foundation for an effective information architecture to make sure that while AIL Milano’s digital content grows organically, it does so in a well structured way.
While working on AIL’s content for events and campaings we realised that every year they ran three major campings to raise fundings. We saw this as opportunity to incorporate into our content reorganisation an editorial calendar of sections and pages that would become relevant and that would change during the year. As Project Manager I liase with AIL Milano and decided with them to reassess project resources to make sure this was included in the deliverables. This calendar was shared at an early stage with the team at AIL and since then has became an ongoing effective tool.
DRESS IT UP
Once the content design was almost completed, with the creative director we work on new visual style putting emphasis on AIL Milano’s impact and its modus operandi. We achieved this with:
- a new and contemporary imagery style showing volunteers and patients and replacing the old stock images;
- some more dynamic and attractive page layouts;
- new animations with data results alongside the text;
- a new content format for all the scientific information;
- an updated content format for all different testimonials.
We sticked with AIL classic colour palette, following AIL national brand guidelines.
We worked on a couple of different options for the homepage: one with a hero image and one with a slider. In the end, we agreed with the client that they would be more comfortable using a slider to include a few big banners at the same time. This decision was taken considering that often times banners come directly from AIL Italia and promote national campaigns. A slider would accomodate these, while giving AIL Milano space for their own banners.
Finally, as PM I coordinated our internal tasks on the project and handled communications with AIL’s stakeholders. This allowed me to collect their feedback at every step and made sure they had a positive experience working with us.
We managed to delivery the project on time and had a great feedback from both AIL Milano’s team and end users.
The analytics proved our choices correct, resulting in a 35% increase in the average time spent on more informative pages.
Since the launch, requests for support have been less frequent (10–12 per day) and more specific as users have been able to easily find lots of answers on the site.
This project was delivered while working @Beecreative last year.
WORK WITH CLIENTS CLOSELY
Working as closely as possible with the client is invaluable as it generates a lot of insights. However, as much as they know their users, interviews are always a nice-to-have.
Testimonials can have a huge impact on users looking for support and information, espcially when dealing with critical situations. Those needs to be easily accessible.
Had we had more time and budget, on sites such this one where content is king, developping a search function across all type of content and information could have been be really useful.
NEXT CASE STUDY
Starting a community and empowering
users using transparency.
Case study coming soon.
Get in touch
If you have a project in mind that you wish to discuss or if you simply want to say hello, drop me an email: francesca.ponzini(at)gmail.com. I am always happy to connect with people!