Jumping through too many hoops
Before we design any website, we conduct a series of discovery workshops that help us understand how users interact with the website and what their frustrations are. The Pony Club discovery phase confirmed that the website wasn’t user-friendly for new visitors. The chaotic navigation made it difficult for potential new members to sign-up and contact their local branch or centre, which resulted in a large volume of enquiries sent to The Pony Club HQ and a whole load of extra work for their staff there.
We also found the websites catalogue of content was buried in the depths of the website with poor navigation which made it difficult for visitors to find the content they wanted to see.
Following the workshops, we delivered a discovery blueprint, which set out our recommendations for the new website.
More than a one-trick pony
Making sure our clients have the right content management system (CMS) is an essential part of the process for any website we build as we need to be confident that the CMS can fulfil their business objectives and aims for the future.
We worked with The Pony Club to confirm what functionality they wanted for their website from the get-go, as well as a wish list of features for later down the line. Based on their goals, we decided that Umbraco would be the best CMS for The Pony Club as it would allow them to create microsites for individual branches and centres, should they wish to expand their website in the future.
Creating fast track navigation
We always have our UX hats on during the design stage of a project. When we were designing the new website for The Pony Club, we did so with a clear user journey and content structure in mind, aiming to create something that would guide potential new members to the content they need and encourage them to sign up.
We started by consolidating the three navigation bars into one clear bar at the top of the page. We then created an additional burger menu, which could house any content that did not fit the categories in the main navigation.
With the help of the new CMS, The Pony Club could map content appropriately, doing away with duplicate content from their old site, which in turn helped create an easy-to- follow structure.
Faced with the challenge of enabling members to easily find membership details on the website, our designers and frontend team worked together to create a ‘decision tree’ on the membership types page. The drop-down form with three simple questions was designed to determine the user’s membership type. Once they have answered the questions, the system highlights the most suitable membership option on the right-hand side of the page.
We also created a call to action for the page, designed to drive potential members to sign up for the correct membership. The call to action encouraged the users to enter their postcode or a specific centre/branch, and then points them to their nearest ‘Pony Club’. As well as ensuring users could easily get to the relevant contact information, we also simplified the site search by adding filters to take members to their desired destination in fewer steps.
Lastly, to tackle the issue of users contacting HQ instead of their local branch, we created a dedicated ‘Find a Pony Club’ page. The simple layout, combined with Umbraco’s sophisticated tagging functionality, enabled users to easily find the contact information for their local Pony Club without going through HQ. We used the same tagging functionality for the ‘Latest News’ page, so that visitors can sort news articles by sport type. In the future, we anticipate this functionality will also allow The Pony Club to tag their news content by specific centre and branch as well.