Founded in 1983 as a one-man, rush/same-day courier operation, by 1988, American Expediting was one of Philadelphia’s leading time-critical delivery organizations. Boasting a 99.3% on-time performance average, the company has great presence in the B2B market.
Our team was tasked with redesigning the company website to increase public exposure. User-centered design is utilized to overhaul the company's website, positioning it as a public-facing digital asset to greater impact business.
As a design project that aims to be brought to market, our team worked the full pipeline process from evaluation, iteration, and finally documentation for deployment.
We conducted a heuristic evaluation of the current site, identify usability issues, review the results, and present recommendations to American Expediting. With regular client engagement, we elicited business outcomes from American Expediting's leadership that they would like to realize with the website. After gaining agreement about how to move forward, the team began iterative design/build/test cycles, resulting in a starter design system made to ease the transition into development.
The main outcome of the project was a responsive web prototype with element-level interactivity. As a design solution that is scheduled to be developed and put to market, we also provided all the necessary sources for digital assets as well as the style guide to complete the starter design system. All deliverables were designed to allow American Expediting to expand on their website with visual and structural cohesion.
Using Nielsen and Molich's usability heuristics, we ran Heuristic evaluation sessions with third-party participants by running them through relevant tasks on the website during a think-aloud protocol.
You may be wondering, if we are to overhaul the website from scratch, why are we bothering with the evaluation at all? For the purposes of this project, the evaluation serves a number of benefits.
1. It revealed underlying backend faults that have not been caught, especially in a public-facing context
2. We also wanted to use the evaluation as a vehicle to communicate the relationship between usability, visual design, and business outcomes to our clients
3. Finally, it helped shed ineffective design thinking that may linger from the rendition of the existing website
The usability findings were organized and prioritized based on the frequency of occurrence and level of impedance to the user experience. Our team determined the three that were of high priority and more effectively fixed by our redesign.
Visual elements such as the navigation menu caused confusion amongst users. Many visual cues fall flat due to less than ideal typography choices. Users struggled to find the information they needed on text-heavy pages.
There is much organizational confusion where links in vertical tabs lead to other subpages located in other horizontal tabs. There seems to be some redundant linking when the user is not logged in. Users were confused by the inconsistent language to describe the same asset.
Inputting pure integer numbers into the tracking number form allows users to access the information to the according order. This may cause issues where users could be confused with their order information, or worst case allows malicious abuse of this feature.
Through the evaluation, feedback, and discussions with American Expediting leadership, we were able to condense the insights and design directions that will be carried on henceforth.
American Expediting boasts a 99.3% on-time performance average, which is a key business asset to showcase their reliability, especially in the life-science field. The website must be able to reflect the company's credibility.
American Expediting’s services have expanded to encompass air services, a national logistics program, distribution and warehousing, fulfillment, facilities and fleet management, and temporary staffing. The website must showcase these services to potential prospects.
With an expanding business, the development of American Expediting's brand places emphasis on the Life Science field and its time-critical nature. At the same time, the website must make clear the company's roots in traditional delivery.
Finally, the website must act as a means of engagement with potential Independent Contractors, outlining the benefits of working with American Expediting, and the value they bring to the company.
The team underwent iterative design-evaluate-discuss cycles to head towards our final design. Throughout, we leveraged our engagement with the American Expediting leadership team to discuss underlying systems, PR stratagem, and content logistics.
The ultimate goal was to ensure that the client could take the work we have done and bring it forward to serve their business needs after our hands are off the project. This means leaving them all the tools necessary for the deployment of the current design and future expansion of the website.
We presented our final design to the American Expediting CEO and leadership team for final approval. We then composited our style guide for the starter design system. We concluded the project after handing off the materials to the development team.
The experience of regular engagement with the company leadership during this project was invaluable. Being as close to the critical path of their business as we were emphasized the importance of effective communication with the client.
Coming in as designers, we can come into the conversation in a position of expertise by building credibility through example. showing trust enthusiasm within the team also helps give confidence to our ability to deliver.
As exploratory design reveals new possibilities, the narrative of the project may be subject to change as does the business environment. As the designers, it is necessary to guard expectations and define the scope of the design outcome.