Information Architecture (IA), User Experience (UX) & Accessibility
Setting the foundation for great outcomes starts with understanding the terrain and the communities you serve.
Website Content Manifest/Audit
Our content-forward approach begins with an audit to catalog the number of pages on a site, their location, hierarchy, corresponding links, and attributes.
Once we understand your content, we clean it up with you. Our unique EZ Tracker methodology allows us to work with you to determine which content stays, goes, needs editing, reviewing, or is ready for approval. We assign tasks to team members as we go. Our clients find this system easy and effective.
Example of a web content inventory audit.
User Journeys and Personas
User journeys are visual or written representations of a user’s interaction with your website. Journeys help identify user experience strengths and weaknesses. Personas identify fictional user profiles based on real data and guide teams to design sites to meet specific user needs and behaviors.
Next, using our EZ Tracker, we transform the content into a new information architecture (IA). The IA provides a scaffolding for your new site and functions as a touchstone throughout the project as we map out patterns and functionality.
To enhance the IA we may also employ sketches and user flows to illustrate innovative concepts. We are always looking for unique ways to condense page counts and simplify your site.
Designer & Developer sketches for ORCAA’s multi-county Air Quality Widget
UX Design & Wireframing
B&W Wireframes – Wireframes are sketched mock-ups of ideas. We deliberately keep them in grayscale to help establish structure, navigation, and flow of concepts. Our designers and developers collaborate to ensure the wireframes are workable before we present them to our clients.
Initial B&W wireframes for Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency’s website.
High Fidelity Color Mock-ups/Prototypes – Once our clients approve a direction, we delve into a more detailed look at the user interface with web accessible colors, fonts, patterns, and styles, paying particular attention to page layouts that display data or anomalous types of content.
Once a robust prototype is designed, we invite stakeholders to review. Client approval at this point is a milestone that helps us prepare for usability testing (see explanation below) and sets the course for development.
Color wireframe examples from the Spokane Clean Air Agency project
We strongly recommend prototype usability testing when budgets permit. We collaborate with your team to select five random users who closely align with your key demographics and target specific pages/screens for feedback during testing. Findings are shared with both design and client teams, and any necessary design adjustments are made promptly, expediting the development phase.
Thorough testing of navigation labels for Denver’ Water’s new website resulted in a better user experience.
Accessibility Design and Testing
With a strong focus on 508 compliance and a commitment to inclusivity, our team integrates accessibility principles and tests with a myriad of tools from the outset. Our designers prioritize color contrast, while developers implement ARIA tags, clear form instructions, error indicators, and keyboard-friendly navigation. We consistently achieve WCAG 2.1 & 2.2 Levels A & AA compliance at launch. In fact, our Air Quality widget is currently transforming how users access air quality information for both the Olympic Region Clean Air Agency and the Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency. Explore our case study for more details.
“I think all aspects of the project went really smoothly – I especially appreciated the systems used to communicate with team members and to keep the project on schedule in meeting important milestones. I loved the collaborative nature of your team with each bringing a variety of experiences and skills to the project. I refer to you as my “dream team.””