UX Refresh for the Harvard Gazette website
While working for the Harvard Public Affairs and Communications office I participated in a biennial UX review and feature enhancement project for the Harvard Gazette, Harvard’s primary online news publication.
- Our goals were to revisit our primary business objectives; are they still accurate, are they still relevant, have newer stakeholders had a chance to weigh in?
- Rethink UX design and user flow to accommodate updated business goals and evolving UX trends and best practices.
Business Goals were defined as:
- Lower the overall site bounce rate
- Increase time on page for articles/stories
- Increase average page visits per user (with the goal to visit/read more than one story)
- Increase sign-ups for our daily HTML email newsletter
- Website feedback form – We pulled together the last two years of suggestions, complaints, feature requests, and praise that came in through our standard website feedback form, and created a report documenting the highlights and commonalities.
- Internal Google Analytics data
- Online survey results
- Daily HTML email newsletter click rates and heatmaps
From here, user personas and user journey maps were created to flesh out and humanize the data collected.
A few tips we picked up directly from our users and web tracking data:
- People are less likely to read a second article if they have to put extra effort into finding a related topic or story
- Appropriate use of continuous scrolling can serve up content options quicker, and has been proven to lower bounce rate
- Our time on page rate was actually on par with industry standards