Retail Site Redesign
Vanguard’s retail site redesign was a three year initiative that completely reshaped every aspect of how content, design, architecture and development worked together to deliver interactive experiences for users with a primary goal of raising the sites prospect conversion rates. I was responsible for leading the entire life cycle of the project establishing strategic project planning, resource allocation, content strategy process, UX/UI design, information architecture and the creation and deployment of a new responsive web design process and development methodology.
Historically Vanguards clients are DIY “Bogleheads” that are product focused and fees obsessed. While this is, and most likely will always be, Vanguards’ core customer, the sites content needed to appeal to a larger market of prospects that were more contextual, goal oriented, and life event investors. Inspired by Simon Sineks’ “Start with Why,” Human Factors Internationals’ theories on “Persuasion Emotion Trust,” and our internal phone representatives consultative selling models, we developed a content strategy process that would generate the most relevant, persuasive and helpful content for both our product and goal oriented users.
Historically Vanguard‘s large scale projects originate from the business, then are handed to IT to estimate, and finally presented to the user experience group with a set scope and schedule to deliver against. This project was very unique in that it was the first to be driven from the retail user experience group and presented to the business as the best approach to deliver a integrated solution that would address multiple pressing business goals. This created an opportunity for our UX shop to take the lead working with our IT partners in developing a new approach for not only how we worked together but also the methodology for how we created responsive pages. In the effort to build consensus, I reached out to industry expert, to help me persuade our partners in the creation of a pattern library and base our code on progressive enhancement principals that among other benefits, would greatly improve the sites accessibility.Aaron Gustafson
It is essential to prototype in order to fully flush out the page interactivity and design details. I prototyped the major page templates in order to provide detailed direction to guide our development teams.
project delivery plan
The project delivery plan needed to allow time for us to create, test and iterate our new ideas while still maintaining the current production schedule. With so many aspects of our process being completely over hauled we also needed to prove the new direction we were headed was the right one. While teams were building new prototypes and developing new content for our products and services, we were constantly looking for opportunities to test out the new approaches live on the current site or in our client insights testing lab. This approach allowed us to get realtime feedback from users that kept our efforts focused on what worked and to quickly adjust for things that didn't.
creating & maintaining pages
Like most large organizations, Vanguard has a content management system that allows for non technical people to maintain and edit content for the site. While this system did allow for some level of page building, it was extremely limited. While working with our IT partners we immediately realized the potential benefit of integrating our new responsive pattern library into our CMS so that page building and maintenance could be done entirely without IT. Through this integration we provided the ability to build sophisticated, unique, fully responsive pages without IT at a fraction of the cost and time it would have taken previously.