Information Architecture

Vanguard

About

Responsive Web | 2020 - 2021

The site's original navigation left users feeling confused and lost. We took a user-centered approach to determine how to best organize and simplify how a user moves through the site. 

We overhauled Vanguard’s navigation with a behavior driven approach.

My role

Senior Product Designer

As one of the most senior product designers, I was tasked with the more complex user flows and interactions. For this feature I collaborated with an experience strategist to rework Vanguard's navigation.

Product team: Domestic & international product designers | copywriters | developers | creative director | product management | client stakeholders

Understanding our user

The personal perspectives and insights gained from our user research became the foundation of our design-led process. It was how we came to understand not only existing attitudes about retirement, but also the ways they manage and plan it. Existing attitudes included:

Guidance would encourage better savings, sooner

Planning feels like guesswork

Retirement is treated as an afterthought

Critiquing the original

The site's original navigation left users feeling confused and lost. We conducted several experience exercises to better organize and simplify how a user moves through the site. 

Original site map & site navigation

We started by asking why
people do things

Before we could begin to map out a new retirement experience, we needed to understand what underlying needs drive action when humans of all types engage with the idea of retirement, and how those needs break down into actions people need to take, things people need to see, and information people need to learn.

Whiteboarding sessions

Ecosystem planning

We organized our assumptions in to an ecosystem matrix to catalogue the actions people need to take, things people need to see, and information people need to learn.
This ecosystem catalogue informed our navigation approach

Navigation based on human behavior

Almost everyone plans for retirement, but everyone is different. So instead of a persona-driven approach, we took a behavior-driven approach that serves the universal human needs of every user.

Our strategy included that there be a point of residence for every core activity or topic, that can be directly navigated to and/or bookmarked.

Testing our assumptions

To make sure that our work successfully served users both at the conceptual level and in actual interactions and wayfinding scenarios, we tested it with potential users and made improvements based on those outcomes. We conducted two rounds of testing, first with 48 quantitive participants, and then with three qualitative participants.

Based on the results of our testing, we made changes to the original draft of our site architecture
→ Improving taxonomy and labels
→ Shifting hierarchy
→ Removing and redistributing sections
→ Clarifying singular destinations, rather than having multiple touch points for the same content

Simplifying the wayfinding experience

With our testing insights, we delivered a human behavior inspired architecture.