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The Place

The Place : a review of site structure, navigation & landing pages

The Place is a contemporary dance institution in London, which has a number of different pillars to it. This is an ongoing project with a phased approach, and I have initially been asked to review the site with regards to making simple, low-cost changes that will help improve the site.

My detailed observations and recommendations are below for phase 1. Overall, I believe the first task is to refine & improve the IA, tweak the design to make it clearer & bolder, and declutter the site.

0.0 Sitemap - current : key observations

0.0 Sitemap - current : key observations

1. The Place website links off to two separate sites (1.1, 1.2). This leads to confusion to the user, taking them away from the main site, a consequence of which is the back button not then working. To aid a users’ understanding of The Place, usability and SEO, these sites should be brought back into the main place.org.uk
2. The term ‘Interact’ is not commonly used and it is unclear what it means. This is the case with other navigation labels such as 2.4, 3.0 and 5.2.
3. Juice is a publication for professionals and is consequently niche in it’s offering. It therefore struggles to justify it’s position as a top level navigation item.

0.1 Sitemap - proposed

0.1 Sitemap - proposed

1.0. Homepage. I have moved the external domains to sit under the main site (4.0, 5.0). I have retained the 8 tier 1 navigation as explained below.
2.0. What’s On. This retains it’s position as the first nav button, but 2.4 is renamed from ‘Make a night of it’ to Bar and Cafe - an immediately understandable term which will not require users to think about.
3.0. About. This moves nav button 2. Blogs (3.5) moves from Interact along with From Elsewhere which I have renamed News(3.6) so users can quickly understand what content to expect from this page. Interact is now removed from the nav.
4.0 Richard Alston dance Company. This is now integrated into the main site, rather than being an external site. It confuses users to lead them off to an external site, disabling the back button and making a separate entity of it.
5.0 London Contemporary Dance School. This is now integrated into the main site, rather than being an external site. All pages are reordered in a more logical manner to help people walk through the process. 5.4, the Edge dance Company is now included in the nav as it was not previously.
6.0 Renamed to ‘Professional Development’ so users can more easily understand what content will be on this page. Juice (6.8) is removed from the top level nav and brought under this section.
7.0 Renamed to ‘Learning & Participation’ as Learning is a fundamental part of this section and is a more immediately understandable term for users.
8.0 Support Us remains as is

1.0 Homepage

1.0 Homepage

1. The Place’s current homepage has a very large image carousel pushing the content very low down the page . I have tightened this up, to move the content closer to the top. 
2. The current homepage has promotional panels, however they are quite small. These are simply larger versions with bolder use of type to guide the users eye.
3. Currently, there is a lot of text on the homepage from the blogs and Twitter feed, a sign up panel, social media links and in all it isn’t very clear what to look at. there is a lot to process. I have introduced another carousel or video, as The Place has a huge amount of visual content to draw upon and entice the user
4. Two further sets of promo panels which can be A/B tested and swapped out as per company activity. 

2.0 What’s On

2.0 What’s On

1. The promotional carousel is retained throughout the site for design consistency and visual interest.
2. The secondary navigation in the current site sits beneath the primary nav. The main problem with this solution is that it does not allow enough space for all page titles to fit in this space, and as such there are pages in the site that do not sit in the navigation (e.g. 5.4 Edge Dance Company)
3. A more prominent calendar with clearer indication of the selected date.
4. At present there are both category and venue filters. the category filters are not required for the amount of performances, therefore I have stripped back to Venue to simplify the process
5. The selected date is clearly shown. This is missing from the current site and needs including to remove any doubt for users
6. Performances are listed in clear panels with pagination

3.0 About

3.0 About

1. The promotional carousel is retained throughout the site for design consistency and visual interest.
2. The tertiary navigation, when required, is nested within the secondary navigation which is now positioned in the left hand column allowing more space and flexibility. Currently it is sited in this left hand block, but only when needed making the page layout inconsistent

4.0 Richard Alston Dance Company

4.0 Richard Alston Dance Company


1. The site is incorporated into the main site. It confuses users to lead them off to an external site, disabling the back button and making a separate entity of it.
2. The promotional carousel is retained throughout the site for design consistency and visual interest. 
3. The secondary navigation is now positioned in the left hand column allowing more space and flexibility.
4. A simplified page layout incorporating imagery with the next performance date(s), enabling the current additional text box to be removed.
5. Promotional panels for each part of the company

5.0 London Contemporary Dance School

5.0 London Contemporary Dance School

1. The site is incorporated into the main site. It confuses users to lead them off to an external site, disabling the back button and making a separate entity of it.
2. The promotional carousel is retained throughout the site for design consistency and visual interest. 
3. The secondary navigation is now positioned in the left hand column allowing more space and flexibility. The Edge Dance Company currently does not sit within the site navigation, but is only accessible via a promotional panel box. This issue relates to the design of the secondary navigation being restricted to the site width. Having the secondary navigation as a vertically stacked list is a simple solution.
4. Promotional panels to engage and entice the user.

6.0 Professional Development

6.0 Professional Development

1. Renamed to this from ‘Professionals’ which is a less meaningful and less descriptive. The new name will engage users much more quickly, as they don’t have to think about likely page content.
2. The promotional carousel is retained throughout the site for design consistency and visual interest.
3. The secondary navigation is now positioned in the left hand column allowing more space and flexibility.
4. A revised page layout with the introductory copy sitting above the promotional panels rather than to the right, to give the page a more logical visual hierarchy.

7.0  Learning & Participation

7.0 Learning & Participation

1. Renamed to this from ‘Participation’ which is less common and less descriptive. The new name will engage users much more quickly, as they don’t have to think about likely page content.
2. The promotional carousel is retained throughout the site for design consistency and visual interest.
3. The secondary navigation is now positioned in the left hand column allowing more space and flexibility. This replaces the ‘filter results’ box which has been removed. There are not enough search items to warrant a filter box.
4. An introductory paragraph which currently does not exist and would greatly benefit users to quickly grasp the offering of this section.
5. Panels to promote under-subscribed classes or to highlight the most popular. Alternatively these can link to the other pages

8.0 Support Us

8.0 Support Us

1. The promotional carousel is retained throughout the site for design consistency and visual interest.
2. The tertiary navigation, when required, is nested within the secondary navigation which is now positioned in the left hand column allowing more space and flexibility. Currently it is sited in this left hand block, but only when needed making the page layout inconsistent. Further investigation and consultation is needed to look into why these pages sit at a tertiary level.
3. A promotional video would be an engaging way to highlight the need for funding. At present there is simply a list of ‘donate’ buttons which is off-putting to the user.
4. In place of the aforementioned buttons, it would be more engaging and a more gentle way of promoting the need for funding via a panel briefly explaining each fund
5. A large panel to acknowledge the support of existing donors.