Information Architecture for a web site – Sample Web site Concept Draft

XYZ Company Web Site Concept Draft

“Becoming industry’s premier outsourcing solution for managed care services”


For the past decade, xyz.coom (fictitious) has been the major online presence for XYZ Company for serving the online needs of its customers as well as exhibiting its capabilities and services to the industry. XYZ Company’s core strategy is to continue generating revenues from its outsourcing services in the managed care industry, at the same time provide improved services to its customers for their retention. A project on IA strategy was undertaken to look at the existing web site, analyze its current features and functionality, conduct IA research to understand the business context and content requirements, conduct usability testing to identify critical areas of improvement and arrive at a detailed IA strategy which would recommend the targeted information architecture for the improved web site. This article highlights two major strategic points based on which various modifications/changes would be suggested to the existing website.

Key strategic points

IA research has lead to the identification of two major strategic points based on which improvements may be made on the existing website in order to align the site functionality with the business context, content needs and user needs as well as leading to best user experience. Focus is also laid on how overall site services would be improved, leading to effective marketing of XYZ Company’s services. The key strategic points are listed as below –

1. Effective marketing of XYZ Company as the premier outsourcing solution for managed care services
2. Retain existing customers by improved site functionality, thus continue generating revenue
Described in the following sections are the details of what needs to be done to support each strategic point.

1. Effective marketing of XYZ Company as the premier outsourcing solution for managed
care services

The following are the major areas of improvements that could be made to support this strategic point –

1.1. Improvements to the Home Page

Home page is the face of the web site, which determines whether users would be attracted and retained to seek and search information and utilize the site services. The
current home page calls for various improvements as far as content organization, labeling and navigation is concerned.
The Home page should give a holistic view of all the available information and services that the site has to offer, thus enabling the user to easily seek and search for
required information. The current home page has a major drawback that the companyspecific content groups are available inside the ‘About Us’ page. Other content groups such as ‘Contact Us’, ‘Glossary’ is not visible on the first load of the page. Even though we have the links to specific user groups, it is not self-evident what kind of service that a user can expect from each of them.

The home page could be modified in terms of re-organizing the content items into related groups, naming them with clear and precise labels and placing them in visually
identifiable positions to attract attention of users. The following specific improvements are recommended –

1.1.1. Company Logo and tagline

One major step would be to extend the page width with a much more brighter company logo with the tagline. The current tagline is vague, as it does not cover the
complete industry that XYZ Company covers. It might be modified as ‘Providing premier managed care services for 3 million customers’. Tagline is very important to create ata-glance view of XYZ Company intended industry and services.
1.1.2. Content Re-organization, labeling and navigation
Effective content organization is vital to site usability and reaching out effectively to the vast customer base. Following improvements are recommended to effectively
market XYZ Company’s services and capabilities. Organize content hierarchically into following groups and sub groups
o ‘Home’
o ‘About Us’
 Value Proposition
 Company History
 Leadership Team
o ‘Products and Services’
 Carrier Services and Solutions
 Sales, Marketing, and Distribution Support
 Product Administration
 Technology and Operations
 Voluntary Market Capabilities
 Association Programs and Services
 Search Products
o ‘Agent’
 ‘Agent Tools’
 ‘Locate a Provider’
 ‘My Cases’
 ‘My Forms’
 ‘My Profile’
 ‘My Network’
o ‘Employer’
 ‘Case Management’
 ‘Quote Request’
 ‘Locate a Provider’
 ‘My Cases’
 ‘My Forms’
 ‘My Profile’
 ‘My Network’
o ‘Individual’
 ‘Benefit Management’
 ‘Quote Request’
 ‘Locate a Provider’
 ‘My Cases’
 ‘My Forms’
 ‘My Profile’
 ‘My Network’
o ‘Infocenter’
 ‘Glossary of Terms’
o ‘Contact Us’
 ‘Phone Numbers’
 ‘Email Us’
 ‘XYZ Company Locations’
o ‘Careers’
 ‘Current Openings’
 ‘Contact HR’
 ‘HR Policies’

The above organization of content focuses on projecting XYZ Company’s core capabilities, what it has to offer its customers and it’s various targeted audiences. The main content label shall identify the main content group eg: ‘About Us’ and the sub-content labels shall be displayed within the area of the expanded tab or pulled down menu. Implement tab based top navigation system
From the above content groups (as identified in section, identify ‘Agent’, ‘Employer’, ‘Employee’ and ‘Individual’ as the audience specific organization scheme
that could be potentially be implemented as tab based top navigation bar, which should be visible at the first glance on the web site. Placing this on the top has great
importance, since it is where user’s line of sight falls first and it is an industry standard. The top navigation bar may be visible only on home page.

Create and display image of XYZ Company corporate building on first page load linked to the ‘Home’ content group. The image can be animated with succeeding animations showing clients list, service highlights, satisfied users etc. Create and display audience specific image animation on the specific tab views of each audience content tab. This may be substituted for the current welcome blurb.

1.2. Implement global navigation system

From the above content groups (as identified in section, identify ‘Home’, ‘About Us’, ‘Products and Services’, ‘Infocenter’, ’Careers’, and ‘Contact Us’ as specific
content items for the global navigation system which will be consistent throughout the website. The global navigation system should be prominently placed on the very top of the web page.

1.3. Create global login section

Global member login section is essential which should be visible on a prominent location on the home page (top right part of the page or bottom left is suggested), which
would create the idea that site offers login based/personalized services.

1.4. Create new content groups

Create new content groups such as ‘Testimonials’, ‘News’, ‘Carrier/Product search’ and ‘Member Login’ on prominent locations on home page. Each of these content
groups should be placed within clearly identifiable sections with the identified labels (‘Testimonials’, ‘News’ etc)

2. Retain existing customers by improved site functionality, thus continue generating revenue

The content organization, labeling and navigation as recommended in section 1 will have a direct impact on improved site functionality and would allow users to easily utilize the site services. The following are some of the other specific areas that could be worked on to bring out effective user experience and satisfaction –

2.1. Implement local navigation system

Local navigation is essential to navigate within local content, especially when the user is logged in under a specific audience group or is accessing content within specific
audience group. For example, when user clicks on ‘Agent’  ‘Agent Tools’, he should be taken to a separate web page exclusively for Agent with the global navigation system on the very top and the local navigation system below it, both clearly identified.
The local navigation will be nothing but the sub-content items of the main content group ‘Agent’ as identified in, with an additional ‘Logout’ link. Below local
navigation, there will be specific content areas for ‘Agent Tools’. User can navigate to the Home page without logging out (via the ‘Home’ link on global navigation bar) and
can come back to the Agent section via tab based top navigation system.

2.2. Implement breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs are an essential feature to inform users where they are and thus aid them in easy site navigation. The current website does not have breadcrumb feature and
needs to be implemented. Breadcrumbs can be implemented as, say, ‘Agent Agent Tools’, in between the local navigation and the main page section.

2.3. Making features/objects as self evident as possible

This should be one of the most important focus areas when the site is revamped. Make all content objects and/or features as self evident as possible so that users are not
kept thinking about what it is and how to use it. For example, the current home page has links to various audience specific sections such as ‘insurance agent’, which is not self evident as clickable. Another factor that improves site’s usability is sticking on to standard practices such top navigation system, global navigation system, local navigation system etc.

2.4. Consistent and meaningful label formats

Care should be taken that there is no duplication of content labels and that we follow consistent labeling convention throughout the web site. Labels should communicate
information efficiently and should have consistent fonts properties, noun/action usage and should not take up much of vertical space.

2.5. Common Footer

It is recommended that the footer contain major links from the global navigation such as ‘Home’, ‘Contact Us’ and additional content items such as ‘Privacy Policy’,
Copy right info and company address & phone number. It is advisable that the footer be common to all web pages and is visible without vertical scroll.