Noln.net faced several issues in regards to development and design. In the process of redesign, I had to take several things into consideration. A large portion of the audience at the time would have difficulty navigating a completely new layout. The login process was a hindrance for many. Most content required several clicks to access, had poor instructions and unrecognizable links. The site needed to be constructed in such a way that it would be easy for others on the editorial team to add content, as needed. The site was visually a burden with too many colors, small text and all ads in the right column. Advertising is a necessity, yet readers were turned off. The existing site was not responsive and not mobile friendly.
In considering the layout, I provided a couple of wireframe options, but ultimately, the decision was made to keep the layout very similar to provide some familiarity to the existing user base. I looked at the pages that were most visited and took into consideration the features that NOLN wanted to emphasize when putting together the layout. Of course, the layout also had to be responsive and properly laid out for mobile.
Since noln.net is a publication site with regular new content, feeds were a critical component. Staff needed to be able to add content without having to update additional pages.
The structure of the site was also simplified so that most, if not all, content could be reached within two clicks.
Another improvement was the login process. Previously, users were redirected to their profile page when they logged in. Now, they can log in from any page, and the page will reload. This is especially useful when premium subscribers forget to log in before trying to access restricted content. They no longer have to navigate back to the page they were originally trying to access.
Subscribers and advertisers have responded with their approval of the redesign.
By taking steps to optimize the site and improve SEO, traffic has increased significantly since the launch with more than double the users and page views per month and the bounce rate slashed in half through, all achieved through organic methods.