Cleaning up navigation and categorization in a startup's menu system.

Information Architecture Redesign

 

Parature Information Architecture

When I joined Parature, there were a lot of questions about the organization of the site.  As new features were added, they were "tacked on" to the design, and things became convoluted.  When we began the Parature redesign, I wanted to make sure the information architecture remained clear.

 

The Question

"How do current users mentally categorize this certain list of tasks?  How should they be nested?"

 

The Approach

In order to figure out users' mental model of the information hierarchy, I sent out an online open card-sorting study.  A card sorting study has the advantage of letting users reorganize and categorize a predetermined set of words to best see how they group them together.  With the software used, I structured it as an "open" card sort where users had the ability to name the categories they placed the cards, and add notes to individual cards, such as "I don't know this term" or "I could also see this in another category."

 

The Results

The results from this study were shocking; I had never seen such a perfect dendrogram with so few branches generated from a card study before.  I enlisted a developer help to remove abandoned answers and other false entries from the JSON file hoping it would explain more nuance, but it only served to sharpen the results.  The users had a very clear idea of how the pages should be organized.

The Outcomes

Based on the dendrogram shown above, I reorganized the main navigation for the product.  Support calls decreased by 6% overall, and the number of views on the support articles explaining how to navigate the site plummeted by 32%.  

 

When we tested the new structure, user feedback consistently included how intuitive the new layout was.