Specialised in redistributing medical publications and material, Axon has been experiencing a loss in sales for some time now. Convinced something can be done about it, they entrust us with the task of finding design-related solutions. The following video illustrate the state of affairs at the time.
As we look closer, we identify several problems. First off: the site is looking old, very 90s, which gives off the vibe that the ones administrating the service are not familiarized with online transactions all that well. It's not only the look: there are more things wrong with the UI than there are right. CTA buttons with no consistent style, or no style at all, wrong highlighted content, no distribution of information according to importance, etc.
More over, the conversion process is hard, unfriendly and inconsistent. Depending on the type of product, you may or may not make your purchase online. In some cathegories, the user has to pick up the phone and place the order directly to the store. In some cases, he even has to download a pdf first, browse the items available in the pdf and get the reference number.
We also identified a complicated classification of products, that had more to do with internal organisation rather than end-user use. Browsing products is really hard, and you get lost while navigating because there are no back links, no breadcrumbs, or any kind indicator of where you are inside the site. Furthermore, the list of items you can see, even after a search, is limited to 15/16. There are more results, but you will have to try a more specific search in order to see other products.
All in all, AXON still has users, because they can find specialised producs for very specific profiles; but they're quickly moving on to Amazon or bigger distributers with better sites.
My UX strategy is based in two principles: a specialised user will trust a small distributer if he feels he is competent and users will choose the experience that allows them to find what they need.
About the first: the user needs to feel AXON is capable of managing orders and deliveries online -at the very least-. No phone but for contact.
As for the experience, it actually feeds the first principle. We designed a search-centered UX, and a tag-based classification of products, keeping only three cathegories in the menu -that correspond with the most common search demand-.
In addition, there was a reason behind the complicated tree of navigation: the professional profile of the user. The intention was to show the user exactly what he might need. But instead of the complicated selection of field, we decided to give the user the possibility of defining his/her professional profile. The user benefits from taking the time to select it, but is not hurt by not doing so.