What’s taken us so long?
We know it’s taken a long time and we’re more than aware that we’ve been promising ‘live’ dates for the last 16 months, but like many good web projects it’s taken longer than expected.
If there’s one thing you can expect from Econsultancy though, it’s that if we’re going to do something, we make sure we do it right.
The new site has been a project built from the ground up and we’ve made sure that we have the right infrastructure in place to deliver a much improved customer experience not just for now but also for the future.
This is still very much a work-in-progress, one that we will continue to iterate as we gather more and more feedback over the coming months. Please don’t be shy in letting us know how you feel about it and where we can further improve.
As our customer we value your input above all others.
If you’re reading this on a mobile device, you’ll no doubt be pleased that you can now ‘actually read this on a mobile device!’ Yes, the new site is responsive, as is the newly designed Daily Pulse newsletter.
Of course we’ve been talking about the benefits of mobile optimisation for a long time, so we should apologise for being late to the game on actually delivering this.
Part of the reason for the delay is the sheer amount of functionality that’s built into the site, both front and back-end. It’s not just a case of changing the design, but thinking about how people use it.
Long pages, deep content sections, tables, downloads, ecommerce… at each turn we’re trying to solve a new problem.
One of the more controversial elements of the new design was dropping the round logo from the site header (it’s still in the footer). The thinking here is that a round logo with text inside it just doesn’t play well on mobile.
We need to think about the customer experience first and the company second. We’d be interested to hear your views on this too.
Aside from the responsiveness of the site, the design has been updated to unclutter the pages and create a clearer visual language to guide you around the site.
The feedback from the Foresee customer experience survey we’ve been carrying out shows that an updated design should have a positive impact on visitors’ experience of our site.
As part of this, the tech team have been working with a new UX repository where the language of the site is held. This has ensured that we’re disciplined in keeping a consistent look and feel.
It’s also meant that we have lots of reusable elements to help speed the process up.
As our business has matured and grown, so has the range of content on our site. We’ve taken a fresh look, thinking about how the visitor finds what they’re looking for and discovers more about what we offer.
As well as introducing a different main navigation bar, we’ve also brought in ‘mega-navs’. Previously, our navigation had been more of a glorified filing system, reflecting on how the back-end system was built.
Here we’ve thought about the visitor and what they might want to do on the site and what content they might be looking for.
The experience for subscribers is also different, as we wanted to make it even easier to access research and data. When logged in, you’ll see a very different navigation on the left, making it easier to get straight into the content.
Do not be fooled by the unassuming search bar at the top of the screen. Behind it lies a beautiful and powerful search machine. The new search functionality can also be seen in action if you visit the (subscriber-only) channels or case studies.
It’s fast, accurate and a generally wonderful experience, even if we do say so ourselves. Please try it.
A lot of work has gone into this and its development underlies a lot of what the site is about. Surfacing content and helping you get to what you’re after. We’ll explore the concept of the editorial metadata behind it all more fully on another occasion.
Work in progress
What you see now, and what’s been outlined above, is all a work in progress. The big lessons we’ve all learnt are to do with discipline and focus. The list of what we want to do next is probably longer than the one we’ve already implemented. And there’ll always be a string of fixes to make and bits to be tidied up.
All the teams at Econsultancy have contributed to this project. This really works for us as it ensures that we get as close to the right balance as possible between customer, commercial, technical and editorial interests.
Keeping that under control has been a major job in itself. There’s probably another post in that too.
Anyway, we’ve waffled on for long enough. Please explore the new site, make yourself at home, tell us what you like, tell us what you don’t like… enjoy the experience. It’s for you as much as it is for us.