Institute of Contemporary Art
There have been several occasions where their recommendations differed from our inclinations, but we were convinced by their gentle (but ﬁrm!) explanations, and we’re so glad we were.
We came to them to help us rethink and repair a site that another ﬁrm had really dropped the ball on, and to say that our expectations have been exceeded hardly does the experience justice. Within just a few months of launching we’ve already approached them to guide us through several new projects."
The ICA came to us in a tough position. They'd hired another firm to redeisgn and build their website, but as the project neared completion, the site still didn't work correctly on phones and tablets, and they worried about the usability of some features. Frustrated with the project, they were feeling inclined to just start over.
Step 1: Ask the users
Instead of scrapping everything they'd spent precious time and money on, we started by conducting usability tests with some of their members to get a sense of what worked well and what didn't. We also audited the existing site's Drupal setup and code to see what could be salvaged.
Step 2: Fix what's broken
We discovered that users struggled with a few important elements, including the main navigation and the Calendar search, so we focused our efforts on rearchitecting and simplifying those areas. After another round of user testing we saw a huge improvement in how quickly and easily people found information.
Step 3: Make it flexible
One of the ICA's concerns about their previous design was that their homepage would be too locked down, and would not provide the flexibility they need to highlight one big event, or lots of small events. We addressed this by making both the slideshow area and tiled content super versatile so they can feature exhibitions, events, news stories, or any combination thereof.
Step 4: Brand it
Users generally liked the design of their previous site, though a few said it did not adequately reflect the ICA's dynamic art and programs. We brought in bold typography and diagonal design elements that echo the logo and the shape of the building. We also gave the ICA ways to add in splashes of color without upstaging the art. Their members loved the results.