The first step was to map the site's content as a hierarchical text document and as a visual map. This preliminary analysis confirmed that the dense main user interface had duplications and links that led to unrelated content. Confusingly, there were links to Pala's other businesses, plus a mini website that sold mining tools from a different vendor.
Here's the top of the home page followed by a screen capture of the footer:
The first step was to map the entire site as a hierarchical text document.
In addition to the text content map, a schematic of the entire site was developed by pasting screen captures onto a white board, labeling the purpose of each section, and mapping the links between sections.
User Experience Map
Using the insights gained from the Content Mapping, we created a User Experience Map that builds from the splash page through to purchase, plus mapping the various detours through Trade Member login and the structured content. This map was modeled upon the conceptual redesign of the RailEurope website.
Since the client had purchased a lifetime license for a proprietary web-based database engine, we decided to develop a dual-hosted solution. Squarespace's beautiful and flexible templates would power the landing and content pages. The web firm would host and power the ecommerce functions and do the necessary system integration to make the the user experience seamless while using both hosts.
In this map, the blue items are hosted by Squarespace and the yellow items were to be hosted by the web firm using their proprietary database engine.