Evans Distribution Systems

Evans Distribution Systems is an 87-year-old, family-owned and operated logistics company offering customers a single source solution for warehousing and distribution, transportation, contract packaging, quality inspection, fulfillment, staffing and other logistics-related services.

Role

UI Designer, UX Researcher, Strategist

Project Type

Client Project for Evans Distribution Systems

Time Frame

4 Weeks

Tools Used

Hotjar, UserBrain, Adobe Photoshop, Invision

The Challenge

Create a process that will enable iterations of Evans' website to be quickly designed, tested, and then handed off to our developer while operating under a limited budget.

The Environment

Evans just released a new website that cost a significant amount of money, but they had no way to test if the design worked. There was no user research to back up the validity of their designs because they did not have any process in place, and getting users to test was close to impossible. Furthermore, because of the resources allocated to redesigning the website, the stakeholders were not interested in investing more money into it. The company, however, was looking to expand their e-commerce fulfillment service, which required their website to be adapatable and shift when trends do in order to appeal to younger, tech-savvy audience.

“Our CEO was hoping to have a website that wouldn't have to be touched in 10 years, but that seemed crazy because technology could change overnight.”

Choosing Our Tools

After setting a budget in place, it was time to look for tools that could be used for research and testing. I created a comprehensive analysis of 20 tools that could be used for A/B testing, split URL testing, heat maps, scroll maps, eye tracking, and user session recording.

The company also struggled with customer feedback, garnering little to no interaction form them, so getting customers to participate in live user testing sessions was a time consuming task. Unfortunately, it was not feasible for me to devote a significant amount of time to search for users. I also needed to deliver results quickly in order to get more buy in from my stakeholders, thus, we I decided that we also needed a tool that offered remote user testing. So with all that in mind, I narrowed down the list to 3 tools that would work best for the company, and immediately started my research/testing.

Research Driven Design

The first dilemma to address was the company’s request for quote (RFQ) situation. My hypothesis was that this issue was caused by a lack of a distinct call to action. My research also showed that only 15% of visitors were reaching the RFQ form in the home page. The RFQ form also only garnered 3 clicks out of the total of 375 recorded clicks, which was far below the desired amount that the company wanted.

The first step I took in redesigning the homepage was eliminating the, “It’s Easier with Evans. Find Out Why,” section because it was confusing to users.

Evans Redesign Mockup 1

That section was supposed to be where they could search for anything on the website, but the lack of a distinct search button caused users to bypass it as they scrolled down. In fact, there was only 1 click out of the 375 clicks recorded. In the remote testing sessions, users would also hover over that section and wonder what it was for. It was a constant source of confusion for them as they tried complete the task that I had set for them, so it was apparent that I had to eliminate it from the new design.

I created three designs that featured a more prominent RFQ CTA, which I then A/B/C tested to see what would be the most appealing to our users.

Evans Redesign Mockup 1
Evans Redesign Mockup 2
Evans Redesign Mockup 3

In order to prove that the design would garner the desired effects, however, it was tested further. This time we used a split URL test to see how it performed against the original site. But after a month of testing, the redesign did not perform to the desired effect, so I went back to my research findings to figure out what to do next.

Further analyzing my research prompted me to eliminate the news section above the header. Our users were looking for specific information when they came to our website, and all the superfluous elements were distracting them from forwarding an RFQ to us. According to a concept called Hick's Law, the more choices that a user had, the longer it would take for them to make a decision. That was what was happening with both the new and old design, which was the reason why I shifted our homepage to a landing page. By creating more white space, and two distinct CTAs, we allowed our users to make quick, easy decisions. They could either choose send us an RFQ, or they could learn more about our services.

Evans Redesign Mockup 4
Evans Redesign Mockup 5

The current design has proven to be the most effective with the amount of RFQs doubling to 6, compared to the original version’s 3 RFQs in the same one-month test period. The number of clicks that “Services” had in the menu also increased from 8.27% to 12.44%. “Contact” also increased from 7.07% to 9.78%.

In Conclusion

I was pleased by the way that this project turned out because of how passionate I am about user-centered design. The belief that permeated throughout management was that our website was a static tool that was only to be updated once a decade. By showing them how our users interacted with our website, and how it failed to meet their needs, I was able to shift that archaic mentality. The constant interations also became something they looked forward to, and I would get emails asking what new graphic or image the new homepage would feature.

I was also enthralled that I was able to establish a cost-effective process for the company because it enabled our stakeholders to buy into the process. One of the key constraints that I had was our budget. Designing around research was a radical idea to my stakeholders, and it would not have been possible for them to get a grasp of that concept if it had involved a staggering sum. In the end, they were so enthused that they had me present some of the new tools in front of other employees during our company quarterly meetings. User-centered design had finally come to Evans.

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