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September 26, 2019

We Redesigned Our Blog!

After two years of publishing fresh content, we thought it was time to add some navigation and speed things up.

Erin May

October 2nd, 2017. It’s my first day at User Interviews. My new co-worker, and now podcast co-host, pings me: 

“Erin, we’ve got a partnership brewing with Lookback. Let’s launch a blog tomorrow so we can announce it on schedule.” 

I’m used to moving quickly, but I’ve never launched a blog in a day. We threw some quick specs together, JH gave me the crash-iest of courses on Webflow, did most of the hard work himself, and we had a blog in a day. Here’s our first post. And here's what the blog index page looked like as of earlier today:

User Interviews Blog, October 2017-September 2019 - RIP

Nearly 2 years later, and exactly 99 posts later—this is our 100th blog post!—it was very clearly time to make some updates to the original 24-hour design. We wanted to make the blog more discoverable on other platforms, and sticker, easier to navigate once you found yourself there. And we wanted to make it as fast and accessible as possible. To that end, the main changes we made, in addition to an overall visual design finesse, were:

  1. Created category pages
  2. Added search
  3. Added a secondary navigation
  4. Built author pages
  5. Sped the blog up
  6. Worked a lot on accessibility
  7. Comments!

Let’s dive into each of those a bit. 

Created category pages

An example of one of our new category pages.

I’ve been in the SEO game for more than a minute, and there are a couple of things I really like about it. First, you’re serving a demonstrated need. I, the searcher, want to know something, you, the publisher, are gonna serve that up for me, right when I need it. SEO gets a bad wrap, but that’s a pretty awesome UX when done right if you ask me. Second, the evolution of SEO over the years has been more and more aligned with what most of us would consider a good UX. The days of content farms, keyword stuff, and all sorts of games to try to outsmart the Google algorithms are over. Optimization these days is largely about creating great content that meets user needs. 

So, category pages. It’s hard for search engines and humans alike to understand what we’re trying to do here if we don’t have some basic information architecture to explain things. So now we have actually meaningful categories, you all helped us finalize through a closed card sort on Optimal Workshop. 

We have two kinds of categories. One we’re calling User Research Topics, which includes things like Leadership and Research Methods. The second kind is around format, so we have data reports, podcasts, and video. We hope this will help you explore our content a couple different ways. 

The best stories about user research

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Added search

Some of us prefer search to folders, navigating around. We have that now. Try it out!

Added a secondary navigation

Categories and search aren't that useful if you can’t access them. The secondary nav is always in reach, on mobile or desktop, so you can seamlessly move from one article to the next. Feel free to binge (in a healthy way!), we won’t tell. 

Built author pages

We have real humans creating our content here at User Interviews. We rely on a mix of in-house and freelance writers, as well as researchers and UX-ers in the field. Now you can explore the entire User Interviews oeuvre of any given writer. Simply click on their byline from any article or click on a featured author from our blog homepage. 

Sped the blog up

We still need to do a bit onetime effort to update our previous post with next gen images to further improve our speed, especially on mobile, but we’ve greatly improved the load time of our pages on the template level across mobile and desktop. A not-sexy but important win. 

Made progress on accessibility

Last, but certainly not least, we delayed our launch to make sure to address everything we could here. We made strong progress on navigation, input assistance, readability, and adaptability. It isn’t done—apparently our brand shade of green presents a contrast challenge, something we’ll consider in future branding efforts—but we made a lot of progress. We’ll continue to work to make our blog, website, and product more and more accessible all the time. If you have any specific feedback in that regard, please share. 

Comments!

Comments are always controversial. There are well documented arguments in the pro and con columns. It turns out, we get a decent amount of inbound feedback about our content, and engagement off platform on Facebook, Slack, etc. This is an experiment. Will it be radio silence? Interesting dialogue and debate? Troll soup? We’ll see and adjust depending!

Thanks for lending us your eyes, ears, and voice over the past two years. We couldn’t be more excited to watch our content and community continue to evolve. As always we want your feedback. Hit us up at marketing@userinterviews.com

Erin May

VP, Growth & Marketing

Marketing, content, UX, CRM, and brand enthusiast. Customer and user advocate. Writer and editor. Lifelong learner. Strong opinions, weakly held. Lead marketing at User Interviews.

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