Open Data Navigation
Upon starting my job on Esri's Open Data team I was challenged with the task of completing a usability audit the platform I'd be working on. This task was intentionally open-ended, leaving me in the dark about existing problems and tasks the team was working on solving. My first impression of the product was how difficult it was to navigate between different components and features.
My usability audit resulted in restructuring the information architecture for the platform paired with a brand new navigational structure designed to make the platform easy to navigate, increase wayfinding, and increase intuitive browsing when working within the system.
Before embarking on the actual design for the product's navigation, I performed an audit of the existing information architecture by creating a reverse site map, which entails building a site map from the navigational structure, essentially reverse-engineering the information architecture. After learning more about the product and how it was structured, I was able to identify areas that were confusing, unorganized, and complex to understand for the average, external user. Because I was new to the team and had little understanding of the product, my perspective was that of an outsider, which helped me question the existing structure of the product.
Once I got a handle on the information architecture, I took a look at the existing navigational structure again. Luckily, Esri has a great pattern library for design that I was able to utilize. This jumping off point greatly helped me translate the changes I made to the information architecture into an intuitive navigational experience for the platform.
Throughout my process, I asked my team to challenge my assumptions, ask questions, and evaluate the changes I was making to the platform. I gathered feedback in a clickable prototype that illustrated the information architecture changes as well as the visual design modifications. Below is the result of my research and design process.
Redesigned Navigation in Action
This is a snapshot of the redesigned navigation in action.