web site of this large semiconductor company had evolved as a set of
independent web sites developed by different product and services
groups. The independent sites had been brought under the corporate
style manual and so had a consistent look and feel on the surface.
However, customers had a difficult time using the site. Lack of
consistent conventions and an overall navigation architecture:
- Caused customers to get lost, confused and be unable to
meet the goals that brought them to
- Kept the company from effectively marketing and cross
selling on the
The company determined that it
needed a program to encourage the
distributed owners of the site to work together. One that provided both
objective measurements and incentives.
The owners of each section were given one year to improve the overall
site, with a portion of their bonus riding on their success. The
project began with a baseline practices audit of the seven key sections
of the site, auditing them as if they were a single site. A number of
competitor and best practice sites also were audited to provide
objective data for making decisions and setting priorities for change.
The the results of the baseline practices audit were presented to the
business owners of the seven sections of the
site. Together they made decisions on which practices needed to be
over the following twelve months. A few practices were
determined to be irrelevant or too low in priority to include.
For each of the next two quarters, a progress practices audit was
conducted on the site, and the results were given to the section owners
so they could track and adjust their activities based on their
progress. At the end of the year a
final audit was conducted on the overall site and the original
competitor and best practice sites. The semiconductor company site improved its practice
conformance in all the
categories. Very few of the competitor or best practice sites
had improved in any categories,
and several had lost best practices over the same twelve month period.
The semiconductor company also engaged in regular satisfaction surveys
and conducted targeted usability tests during the twelve month period.
Overall the satisfaction
the site improved along with the
conformance to their documented practices. Using documented practices
in conjunction with usability testing
allowed them to determine that one specific audience differed from the
majority of their site visitors (and the best practice state) on one of
the practices. Having documented practices allowed them to
problem and adjust for it only in the section of the site this audience
maintaining the more preferred experience for everyone else.
The use of specific, documented, practices following the web site
improvement framework allowed this company to:
Additionally, they now have a way to continue to describe,
monitor and improve their web site.
- Describe the current situation in actionable terms
- Agree on where and how existing practices needed to change
- Track and manage progress toward their goal
- Identify, test and pinpoint audience exceptions
- Improve satisfaction and success for all the key audiences