Just Show Me Some Content! An Elastic Grid UX Report On Collateral Search

By on 16th June 2015

let-me-download

During March and April the UX design team focused on analyzing usage of the Collateral Library, including flows to it, interactions on landing, and search results pages. We analyzed across vendors with the most popular libraries and identified a few interesting user behaviors that didn’t meet the UX plan. In particular, regarding how they were searching. Here’s what we noticed and how we acted on our findings.

Finding Collateral

Our Collateral Library landing page offers various paths to collateral content, based around different user needs. However, the hierarchy focused on refinement style options. The idea was to lead the user with “What are you looking for?” options about Products or Campaigns. However, without any context, users were primarily clicking on “Go” without selecting any options.

Once the search results appeared and a user could see collateral items to download, they would then use the refinement filters. Interestingly, one of the most utilized, despite not being in a focus area on the page, was the keyword search. However, its ability to return relevant data (searching only on file names) meant it wasn’t effective.

Here is an overlay of how this page was performing across various vendor Portals:

marketing-collateral-landing-crazy-egg

The heat map shows heavy use of the "Go" button which counted many more clicks than all the refinement usage. Users were keen to see the collateral.

We also identified a severe lack of scroll reach on the landing page. There are good reasons to showcase all the vendor’s campaigns, with applicable downloadable assets, at the entry point. However, users simply weren’t interested (or aware of them).

marketing-collateral-landing-crazy-egg-scroll

Yellow = good. Blue/Black = bad.

The search results page shows users refining by all available options. Download links were being used as well as scroll reach and pagination. Improving the sub-par keyword search was something we could do to help users since it was getting used. But, nothing indicated a need to adjust layout or facets options.

collateral-results

If it ain't broke, improve it.

Considerations

Why not remove the landing page entirely and jump straight to search results when a user asks for collateral? This is certainly a good question and one worth exploring. However, there are many workflows which lead users to the Collateral Library, depending on their context throughout our application suite. There is also a user case whereby some of our vendors showcase their collateral library and the landing page gives their partners a contextual starting point.

Though we might work toward a more out and out streamlined approach, right now, the focus was on simple, quick improvements. The user flow wasn’t broken, just not optimal. Funnels indicated that users were traversing from Log in to Download without drop off. But, our hierarchy didn’t match actual usage and we weren’t showcasing the assets on the page well enough — as proven by the uptake in campaign specific collateral following updates to the layout.

Solution Approach

Though important, the Collateral Library is not a key development area at the moment. We are heavily investing effort in other areas. Looking at the above, our approach was to identify simple yet key improvements we could make. We decided on three small changes to tackle the problems observed:

  1. Improve the search box (scanning all content fields in the database to find search parameters).
  2. Create a new hierarchy of search fields based on observed user behavior on the landing page.
  3. Tighten the overall page layout to see if we could improve scroll reach into the campaign section.

As a result, the page became a more obvious starting point for users with all the fat trimmed off (especially explanatory texts and labels). There were fewer big buttons to help hone users in on two main search journeys: “Search” or “Browse”.

collateral-lib-search-updates

Updated interface: the search box is up front with improved functionality and now indicates the data types by which users can search. Links to pre-canned popular type searches are contextually relevant here but have far less emphasis than before. The popular "Go" became a more applicable "Browse" call-to-action with less focus on the optional up-front refinement options. And, it was given much more click area.

These changes were applied within one sprint cycle and then we re-tested and analyzed the pages with Crazy Egg (recommended tool for layout optimization).

Outcomes

What we have since observed is mostly positive. Of note, there is a much more balanced use of all the search options. We are no longer noticing a heavy emphasis on one method and the keyword search is used much more than before. The big improvement is the scroll reach. And, we’re also tracking clicks on specific campaign items. We can monitor the campaign specific pages to see if they are leading to download conversion.

collateral-library-improved-search

Search methods are used much more than before, when presence of the "Go" button caused users to skip the page. The jury is still out on whether the page is a hindrance rather than a help but we will take this new layout to our next round  of user testing.

collateral-library-improved-scroll

Yellow > Blue & no Black!

Takeaways

Always test assumptions. Break observations up into small manageable problems. Avoid re-inventing the wheel for the sort of things noticed here. And, keep your solutions simple, particularly if the pages in question are not your big ticket items. The quicker to market the better. If you come up with a big re-work it could get lost in your backlog and you’ll probably end up making as many assumptions as you did in the first place. Any changes you make need immediate re-testing as you may not see an improvement or have caused or uncovered a deeper issue.

 

“We have loved using the AWS Grid. It is a wonderful tool that we are very excited to be able to utilize. It is simple and our customers love the message”

Amazon Web Services Partner

 

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Lead UX designer and Design Team Lead at Elastic Grid, responsible for the user experience of the platform and the products visual brand. Lorenzo has extensive experience designing simple digital solutions for large, complex commercial projects, including e-Commerce, marketing campaigns and content management platforms.

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