AQA website re-design in 2012
- Re-develop the AQA website including: a new IA and visual design; new CMS and taxonomy and new in-house production and management regarding content authoring and web page production processes.
- The old AQA site had a confusing Information Architecture (IA). Teachers needed to use the website to access the syllabus, known as a subject specification, in order to plan the year’s tuition but were unsure if they had the correct version. AQA received many requests from teachers for information which was available on the website but difficult to find.
- Subject specifications were in PDF format. Searching for them was difficult because their content was not indexed.
- The visual design was out of date.
- A move to a new CMS required a new editorial process, content strategy and taxonomy.
- Identify the main audience: who is the primary audience: teachers, parents or students?
- Enable teachers (the main target audience) to navigate to correct subject specification for lesson planning.
- Enable parents and students easy access to the information which is relevant to them.
- How to display subject specifications online – establish commonalities for online presentation of subjects as diverse as French, Mathematics, Physical Education and English.
- In-page information architecture.
- Site-wide Information Architecture.
- Requirements gathering – speaking to subject matter experts and project group at AQA and reviewing user research from interviews with main audience groups.
- Content analysis – comparing different subject specifications to identify common components and produce a common web-based layout for all subject specifications.
- Prototype development – incorporating new concepts into a prototype and script to use to identify ideal IA, user journey and layout. Concept validation via user testing sessions.
- User testing analysis – observing usability testing sessions, discussing with facilitator how best to find out what we needed to know; reviewing footage to identify users’ language, concepts and mental models and incorporating into revised wireframes.
- Validation of the proposed site-wide Information Architecture.
- Validation of the proposal to produce subject specifications as HTML.
- Identified areas for further research and first phase layouts for subject specifications.
- Identified priorities for page layouts for the whole user journey for key audiences.
The overall outcome was a much more intuitive flow through the site for the different target audiences. Teachers now could be more confident that they were looking at the correct syllabus or subject specification for planning their teaching. AQA staff received fewer questions from teachers wanting information which they could access on the website.
The new layout and visual design gave space to make use of modern technologies for displaying information. It also portrayed the AQA brand in a contemporary way.