Supporting User Intent
AROMATICS INTERNATIONAL NAVIGABILITY OVERHAUL
IMPROVING CONTENT FINDABILITY AND USER HAPPINESS
With over ten years of history, ownership changes, and thousands of customers, the number one name in essential oils had become a maze to navigate. Lacking a clear hierarchy, the site was confusing to navigate, even for employees who used it daily. There was a trove of valuable content, but it was buried under layers of pages.
SITEMAPPING AND CONTENT UNEARTHING
First things first. After performing the website intake meeting, I started out learning the site and taking inventory of the content to get a feel for just how much and what types of content existed. The sheer volume of useful information that was present was amazing! Many of the pages were consolidated at this time due to similar forms of content appearing on separate pages.
After taking a look, there were 43 links that were accessible via the top level nav. Users brand-new to the site had no idea where to start.
STORE OR EDUCATIONAL RESOURCE?
The vast amount of information available and partnership Aromatics International enjoys with the leading school on aromatherapy, Aromahead Institute, led to a bit of an identity crisis, which manifested itself in a somewhat confused information architecture. This was multiplied by the various user personas each with distinct needs:
- Professional Aromatherapist
- Novice/ Enthusiast
Is Aromatics a content provider and hub of resources? Or, are these articles and starter guides secondary and do users simply seek products and head straight to purchase?
The question of hierarchy and priority of purchase pathways vs. education was a question that we answered by looking at user flows that resulted in more conversions, user testing, and an audit of the competitive landscape, especially social channels.
Diving into Google Analytics showed us that users who stumbled across an essential oil recipe page were significantly more likely to convert into customers than those who did not. This made sense, since the recipes show inspiring real-life applications.
Users first exposed to Aromatics International had no idea where to start. They intuitively started by clicking on exploratory pages like "Getting Started." Placing pointed, relevant CTAs on these pages for further action would be prudent.
Industry competitors utilize multi-level marketing techniques, proving enthusiasts often have similarly interested friends. Allowing for easy shares (and rewards for doing so) would be crucial. The most 'sharable' content were the recipe pages.
Starting the users on a path of education and allowing for shortcuts into the purchase pathway clearly became the optimal flow.
Satisfied with the breakdown of where the site should place itself between resource hub and shop, we started the wireframe process.
The first set of wireframes focused heavily on the community and educational aspect. I collaborated with the social media marketing team to ensure that the recommended channels were integrated tastefully into the site in key positions.
The client decided that they preferred to lean more heavily toward the product selling side rather than as a resource to the community, so we shifted gears a bit and added featured product bands as well as recipes to the homepage.
Then, I proceeded along the main user pathway towards purchase, wireframing the next high-profile page: the essential oil product gallery.
The catalog of essential oils alone was sizable, with nearly 200 unique oils. Aromatics International has a vast amount of knowledge of each oil that I harnessed into filters to create an interesting and easy shopping experience for the novice and professional user alike:
- Aromas (is it minty? Spicy? How about woody?)
- Origin (Aromatics prides itself on responsible sourcing around the globe)
- Notes (Top? Base? Middle?)
- Plant Part (Roots? Stem?)
- Chemical Family (Fancy some sesquiterpenes?)
- Chemical Component Slider
The recipe section on the old site, although hidden and unorganized, resulted in higher conversion rates than users that didn't chance upon them. Strangely enough, this was the case although the recipe pages had no method for users to purchase. Customers had to leave the page and hunt around for the recipe ingredients.
With the site redesign, we sorted the recipes into categories: Wellness, Skin + Beauty, and For the Home. We also added the ability to quickly view all ingredients on a specific recipe in list format, as well as check them off individually (or a "check all" button) to add them to your cart. Plus, easy ways to share and print for a recipe box. Taking a cue from popular food recipe sites, we also included ratings where users could chime in on their experiences with a blend recipe.
Ultimately, I was responsible for the identification and creation of a set of 26 page templates. At launch, we received heartwarming validation through the Contact form on the site:
I am enrolled in Aromahead's Certification Program and I have to say that I LOVE the new recipe section on your site! With the new design, there is so much more to discover about how to use these amazing oils. Thanks for making it easier to navigate and the beautiful pictures don't hurt either!
By focusing on how users browse, learn, and shop for essential oils, we were able to speak to all major audiences, and design a user experience that resulted in higher conversions as well as greater customer satisfaction.