A navigation redesign for Akamai.com
Akamai is the leading content delivery network (CDN) services provider for media and software delivery, and cloud security solutions.
UX Designer at Vertic responsible for the information architecture, competitor & best practice research, wireframes, interaction design and creating solutions that align with the business strategy and user insights. I was also responsible for conducting user testing with the tool Optimal Workshop.
July 2018 - September 2018: Discovery, User Testing and Categorization of Products & Solutions
September 2018 - December 2018: Sitemap, Wireframes, Prototype and User Testing
The vision for the project was more than just creating a new navigation.
I restructured the information architecture of Akamai's website in order to positively impact site engagement, usability, and findability to set the foundation for their entire digital transformation. Vertic was the agency hired to gather insights that would inform the information architecture and wireframes. Final visual designs and implementation was done by Akamai's in house design and development team.
Understanding the Problem
There is a lack of awareness about what Akamai does and what the brand stands for.
Within the existing website structure there is a siloed and highly complex brand architecture that does not align with how existing customers are currently seeking information. Overabundance of options and tabs within products and solutions sections negatively impacts the user's path to information.
Inside out terminology & categorization
The focus on branded product names prevent customers from determining which products can help solve their business need.
Inconsistent menu across devices
Users have difficulty using the mobile menu because the information architecture is completely different across devices.
Collecting user data to inform the information architecture.
Ease the buying process for customers with a more user friendly navigation and taxonomy.
Increase awareness of Akamai’s products and key content areas, in particular, Security.
Guide users to the information they are seeking by improving findability of relevant content.
The team used various research methods to collect insights.
I lead the UX phase of the project to understand the business objectives and collect user insights by working alongside the strategy team. The navigation was designed and developed by Akamai's in house team but I worked alongside their development team to understand any tech constraints. We were continuously working with different stakeholders within the company to validate changes being made to the information architecture and navigation.
8 stakeholder interviews were done to define the business objectives and KPIs.
Stakeholder Interviews gave us insight into what the ambition for the business was and the key areas of improvement.
Usability testing & card sorting
Conducted usability testing on the old navigation with 10 users using Optimal Workshop.
Conducted a card sorting test on their products and solutions with 13 users using Optimal Workshop.
Conducted a study to see how competitors were organizing their products and solutions.
Compared how users categorized Akamai's products and solutions against competitor taxonomy.
Strategy analyzed current visitor behavior using Google Analytics, Swiftype, and Clicktale.
Determined high / low sales attribution and engagement pages.
Internal Search & External Search
Strategy looked at internal and external search behavior to see what keywords users were searching for on Akamai and what product pages they were trying to view.
Only 7.8% of visitors use the main navigation.
Customer login portal received the highest volume of clicks.
92% to 56% decrease in overall CTR when moving from default Web Performance tab to sequential tabs in the products menu.
'About Akamai” page was the 2nd most visited page among users.
Some of the most visited pages are not in the main navigation but in the footer.
*Note: Date range from 1/1/2018 – 8/1/2018, Google Analytics
Usability testing findings
Users had difficulty differentiating between products and solutions.
Users responded that they were looking for information by solution or capability.
The internal product terms make it difficult for users to find products that may solve their business need.
Users had difficulty differentiating categories in solutions and products.
Users had more success using the footer instead of the main navigation.
Defining the sitemap and information architecture.
Key changes to the sitemap & information architecture
Simplifying the navigation to have one main navigation level. Primary Navigation sections are: Why Akamai, Products, Resources, Support, & Contact, Free Trials, Search, & Log In. Pages with highest attribution value are easily accessible through navigation.
Reducing levels in navigation by eliminating or consolidating pages with redundant content or that had low attribution and engagement.
Clearly defined a capability-based and need-based information paths. Solutions pages demonstrate subject matter expertise to users with specific industry needs while contextualizing Akamai product offerings.
Resources is added as a main navigation section for users to easily access product documentation and Akamai’s external websites.
Validating the designs.
We collaborated with Akamai to test and validate the navigation. 88 participants were given 23 tasks in a one click test through Optimal Workshop. Some of the personas included in this study were IT Professionals, Engineers, DevOps and Business Decisions Makers. Mid-fi wireframes were tested of our recommendation to determine the usability problem areas within the navigation for desktop and mobile. After testing we iterated based on the user insights and qualitative information we had gathered.
"It was easy to understand and use, intuitive which is always a plus when using websites."
A new navigation for Akamai.com optimized for usability and findability.
Simplified navigation across all breakpoints
On click, of one of the global navigation sections a dropdown appears listing the second level pages. Category titles are used to organize the second level pages by intent to improve the findability. For each global nav section, the right panel will have a featured tout area to promote campaigns and thought leadership content. Using DemandBase and Marketo, content can be personalized for users coming onto the website.
Hover effect to improve findability
As the user hovers over the menu items the panel on the right would change to give users more details into the content they can find on that page. The color and mouse would change as the user hovers, to indicate this is a link users can interact with.
The new navigation successfully met project objectives.
Increase in users using the navigation
Increase in security content view rate for navigating sessions
Higher Click Through Rate in free trials for navigating sessions
What I've learned throughout the process.
The value of user research
Prioritizing the time to get the targeted personas is key to continue to develop and validate the work done. It can be easy for the business needs to outway the user but I learned the importance of constantly advocating for the user.
Thank you to everyone for making this project happen!
Strategy: Joycelyn Chen & Johannes Hultquist
UX Director: Stacey Eggimann