Ellingham Hall: How Changing the Structure of a Website Can Improve Its User Experience
Ellingham Hall is a luxury wedding venue and its business has expanded hugely over the past few years. As is expected, to accommodate this growth their site has been added to and altered at various stages over this period. When the time came for us here at Blumilk to reorganise and redesign parts of their site, we recognised it as an opportunity to improve their user experience (UX).
Here’s why it’s important to provide a positive user experience and how we applied this understanding to Ellingham Hall’s website redesign!
Providing a Positive User Experience: The Supermarket Analogy
For most businesses, customer satisfaction is an absolute top priority as this factor often determines the likelihood of a person making a purchase, inquiry, referral, or return. Due to the many digital developments over recent decades, this requirement to satisfy customers’ needs and intentions has slowly but surely crept into online – as well as physical – spaces.
Supermarkets are often used as an analogy for search engine optimisation, website redesigns, and UX. Whilst we might not think about it when we go, supermarkets are very carefully planned in various ways. For example:
- Isles are laid out specifically to influence the route made by shoppers e.g. having checkoutsspanning the width of the storeto make it as easy as possible to pay
- Isles are clearly labelled and follow an intuitive order/hierarchy
- Products are labelled andplaced in specific ways to encourage greater attention to certain products e.g. ‘grabbable’ items are placed at the entrance and by checkouts to encourage impulse purchases
- The warehouse section is always out of site of users, similar to the ‘back-end’ or ‘off-page’ elements of a website
- Cold/freezer sections are often grouped together for greater efficiency, just as navigation bars use groupings
Websites can be considered as much a ‘space’ as anything else in the physical world because they also require planning, navigation, and maintenance. Over time, pages will be added and removed, links will be changed, content will be altered, images will be uploaded and deleted, links will be added, and so on. If this isn’t regularly reviewed, this can start to damage what’s termed the UX.
The Ellingham Hall Site: What Was Needed?
When Ellingham Hall approached us to redesign their website we were excited at the opportunity and challenge ahead, recognising it as a great opportunity to improve their UX.
Getting started, we devised some specific objectives to help us accomplish this aim, which were to:
- Make it easier for Ellingham Hall to update and upload changes to the site
- Make their navigation function more consistent across the site’s pages
- Alter the templates used on some pages to make the site more mobile friendly
- Make Ellingham Hall’s popular gallery page more search friendly
- Create and implement consistent call to action buttons on necessary pages
In theory, these changes would improve the site’s UX by reintroducing consistency to the site and making it more seamless and intuitive to use. These changes would also give Ellingham Hall more influence over the user journey, allowing them to encourage users along predetermined or favourable routes.
The Ellingham Hall Site: What Did We Do?
This was a particularly interesting project as it was very varied, involving multiple specific parts of the site.
We started by reviewing the current sitemap and proposing a more effective version which used our custom templates in a more consistent way across the site’s various pages. We then changed the layout of these pages to incorporate more content and to showcase the amazing photography of the venue, which is a key driving point for the site.
Once this was done, our talented developer created a bespoke search and filter system for their gallery page. This means that people can easily search for their wedding photos within the large gallery without wasting time.
Then we turned to the buying journey and thought about how we could use buttons to streamline the buying journey. We added a consistent ‘Book a Private Viewing’ button to the top right of the screen so that users can get to this crucial step regardless of where they are on the site. We also included an expandable ‘Contact Us’ and ‘Private Viewing’ button for both desktop and mobile versions of the site.
These changes may seem subtle but in unison they contribute to a seamless, improved UX. Importantly, Ellingham Hall will reap the benefits of this redesign for years to come as the results will be cumulative over time.
Here at Blumilk, we’re always looking to tackle problems preemptively and for ways to exceed our clients’ expectations. Regardless of the size or type of business or project, we will always find effective business solutions to help propel your business operations. Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions, from graphic design to digital marketing and from brand development to advertising campaigns!