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Modea Corporation
How We Came To Terms With Our Website Sucking

How We Came To Terms With Our Website Sucking

How It Happened

Modea.com. It’s a starting point for those that want to learn more about us and the services we offer (or for those looking to join our team). As in the case for each of our clients, our website is our digital identity.

But that said, our identity has changed more times than I can count. Being a small business, we have the flexibility to adapt and make changes quickly, and over the last 5 years we’ve gone from a traditional Advertising Agency, to a Consultancy/Product Studio combo, to our current state - a Digital Consultancy with a Healthcare industry focus.

Sorry for the brief history lesson, but I do have a point :)

Every time we changed our focus as a business, it required an update to our identity on Modea.com. And with each update, we slowly became our own worst client. We lost sight of what was really important, nitpicked on the details that really didn’t matter, and had way too many cooks in the kitchen. For a company that uses Lean-Agile to build and launch iterative solutions with great economy, we just weren’t doing a good enough job on our own website.

Along with our own blind spot, there were three problems with Modea.com that we needed to address immediately:

  • Technical debt with no formal deployment pipeline
  • Data wasn’t driving decisions
  • Content overload

The amount of technical debt we acquired was affecting our ability to make quick improvements. Similarly, not having a deployment pipeline in place impacted our ability to release improvements on a regular schedule. 

The second problem with Modea.com was harder for us to admit than it was to fix. We were NOT making data driven decisions. We were collecting pageview and event data, but not reviewing or analyzing it. Instead, we were making decisions based on personal opinions or assumptions. We also weren’t conducting user testing, which is a must for any serious website.

Last but certainly not least was the content overload. This one was especially apparent due to some recent client work. Prior to launching a new website for the Carilion Clinic Cosmetic Center, we preached and PREACHED to our client that reducing their content from 30+ pages to 9 would simplify their site hierarchy and create a better user experience. And yet, we had 30+ pages staring us in the face on Modea.com.

Having too much content also lead to a pretty profound reality check beyond the issue of having too many pages. People who came to Modea.com struggled to quickly understand what services we provided, with the majority of these people being potential clients. They were visiting our site for clarity, and walking away with more questions and confusion. One prospective client blatantly asked “So what does Modea do?” after having visited our website multiple times. Yikes!

In that moment, any ego, opinion, or personal goal that previously prevented improvement no longer existed. Clarity immediately became the biggest issue we needed to address.

How We Fixed It

In order to develop clear, meaningful content for our audience, we needed to better understand their current patterns and paths on Modea.com. Our first order of business was an audit of the data we were collecting in Google Analytics. Through this, we found the four most visited pages on the existing site, which lead to us focusing on three user groups who visited those pages each month:

  1. The prospective client
  2. The existing client
  3. The job-seeker

We started with these personas, then identified the natural paths they were taking on the existing site. We then focused on updating our information hierarchy and creating more clear content. The new evolution of Modea.com was born, and the result was a one page website with two thirds less content and a more clear representation of what we do and how we do it.

We recognize a single page website is not a new concept. Looking at other companies in our industry (and beyond), it’s quite common to find one page websites that aim to achieve the same goals as Modea. However, we knew the success of our single page site would come from the way we chose to implement this new product. If we didn’t utilize the Lean-Agile principles that we preached to our clients, we would find ourselves right back where we started.

With that in mind, we released a minimum viable product (MVP) of the new Modea.com in July of 2016. This means we took our website and paired it down to the minimum amount of content and functionality we needed to quickly push to production. Getting something live quickly allowed us to gather data, user test, and see how the new site performed.

Moving Forward

Once we started gathering user feedback and general performance data from the new site, we started to improve certain features. For instance, the success and failed states of our Contact Us form weren’t clear to users, so we pushed an update to production one month after launch. We also found the About Us section wasn’t giving job seekers enough information about why they should consider working at Modea. So we beefed up that section of the site to see how/if it affected our recruiting efforts.

Overall the new, single page Modea.com took about a month and a half from start to finish. But the opportunities to continuously learn from and improve the site are endless.