Following on from Andrew’s blog post yesterday about user experience, I thought it would be an appropriate time to touch on some of the major improvements we developed for the new Crucial Cloud Hosting website.
As many might already know, the website was launched on December 15 along with our new company branding and all-SSD hosting solutions. This combination required some extensive and long term planning that begun in early 2012. The new website was in the pipeline for some time, however the re-branding and focus on ‘Cloud’ was something borne out of the changing nature of the products and services that we offer at Crucial. The importance of the branding relaunch coupled with the vast investment in our infrastructure and product line-up, emphasised the critical need for us to get it right with the new website.
Improvement One – User Flow
The first and foremost requirement for our new website was to build a website that reflects one of our company values, to make web hosting easy and reliable. Web and Cloud Hosting is a technically-driven service and thus your website can create a vast amount of friction for the user, eliminating choke and friction points on our site and providing the path to success is something we worked tirelessly on achieving. Strong call-to-actions (CTAs) are placed in the relevant locations on each page, and are now far more effective.
The key feature however, is the static navigation which gives users access to every page they need, all of the time.
Improvement Two – Homepage Impact
Following on from improvement one, our homepage was another area which we identified as needing a complete overhaul. The carousal now includes what we classify as brand-enchancers, information that is factual but also build a positive picture of the company. The ‘Value Add’ lower down on the homepage is another example of this. But the area where we identified as the most important, was the inclusion of a metro-style tile feature in the middle of the homepage. This eight-tile segment would include our most popular products and their pricing, thus giving users a call-to-action as soon as they reach the homepage.
Improvement Three – Product Differentiation
Its true we have quite a few products and services which can bewilder the non-concerning user, so how do we approach this particular issue? Differentiate. On our old website we including a single drop down menu which included all of our hosting services, in our new website we have the same navigation style but with one small but important change; categories. This tiny change greatly assists the user in seeking out what they are after, plus we’ve added handy comparison pages which help break it down for customers seeking our Cloud, Virtual, and Dedicated servers.
Improvement Four – Support & Information
Previously our website included a ‘Support’ drop down menu, which included all of the helpful tools we provide to customers. Video tutorials, knowledge-base articles, our Forums, plus the link to our Support Desk, were all featured in this menu. Now, we’ve done away with that tiring layout and have included a simple all-in-one Support page, which is accessible via the static navigation bar.
Improvement Five – Responsive Design
This was a no-brainer given the take up of tablet and smart devices in the past 4 years, the site responsive in three formats: full desktop, tablet, and smartphone.
Some of our readers may have picked up that ‘aesthetics and design’ was not major improvement in my list, given the importance of fresh and pleasing-on-eye design these days. The fact is, new and improved site design is everywhere, it is very easy to purchase a WordPress or Joomla theme and turn a blank page into a killer design in minutes, but if the usability is poor and relevant information is in the wrong location; the whole ergonomics of the website is thrown off, possibly damaging the conversion rate and unintentionally increasing the bounce rate.
We feel that good design supports great usability, in other words form and function in harmony.
Crucial would like to thank our site developers, Sydney based Leafcutter Creative Digital for their work on our new company website.
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