UX Design, Usability, Wireframes, Prototypes

The brief for the mortgage advisory services was get it done fast, which we promptly ignored, and instead spent a couple of days and decided to plan it properly using our UCD process.

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Initially, the very 90’s looking site was … bad. In all senses of the word. In fact it was awful,I wish I had a screenshot still. The service itself was, however, quite impressive. They provided free mortgage advice, found the best mortgage for you at the minimum of fixed cost, no matter your circumstances. And then we had the Which mortgage tools and information on the main site providing everything else you could ever want to know about getting a mortgage.

All previous tables and data were provided as a dynamic daily feed to the main site, collated and presented. What we needed to do was to gather EVERYTHING together and to consolidate it.

The key journeys were not the most obvious. Yes, we wanted visitors to gather information and have a look around, play with some of the calculators etc but the key journey was for the serious mortgage customer and for these people we wanted them to phone the service and talk to one of the advisers.

The 1 day workshop focussed primarily on gathering all the information we intended to present, journey identification, some serious competitor reviews and the output were the site wire frames. and then we went straight to sprint planning.

Technically, we chose a WordPress theme as a starting point; this was before the days of bootstrap and it offered the quickest way to output an SEO friendly website.

We went for a clean open look, the phone number was not plastered in enormous fonts (as requested) and spread thick on every page, but the journey to phone the service was made very clear, along with a call back option and clear calls to action at the end of every story generated. We knew that trust was a key component before choosing such a service and so testimonials were key. Here were the high points.

  • Clean pages, clean feel, use of white space
  • Modern feel to imagery
  • Clear journey to call the service every page and concluding every story
  • Testimonials and real people stories
  • 100% transparent on any costs
  • Putting a face to the advisers (photoshoot)
  • SEO and 301 redirects
  • consolidation of all mortgage information for Which?

Driving visitors was important as well as keeping them allied to the Which? parent site (separate domain and servers) and so we created an i-frame version of the main navigation and used 301 redirects for much of the old data as well as creating a suite of banners to be used from within Which? and as part of the Which? marketing strategy.

The impact of the new site was amazing, the service went from 300 hits per month to 5000 per day, the calls to the service went up by 1200% and because all the mortgage data was now consolidated into the new design the data previously stored on the main Which? site was also hit massively with analytics showing that visitors continued from the mortgage site back to the main site using our header menu.

Unfortunately, there have been some changes since the site was made, in particular I dislike the new sub-menu as it is very unclear that you even need a secondary click to select the sub pages [we used to have a section landing page before with all possible sub-pages on display as slugs. Oh well, never mind eh.]