Beyond a simple face lift for the ICBC Partners site
The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) is a crown corporation that provides universal public auto insurance, driver licensing services, and road safety support for British Columbians. In order to fulfill their mandate, ICBC relies on a network of business partners to support customers, from 900 insurance brokers, to auto body shops, medical and paramedical practitioners, and driving schools around the province.
To support their network of business partners, ICBC created the Partners web property in the late 1990’s. Originally for Claims suppliers, the site grew ad hoc and organically over time to include subsections for other business partners. By 2010, the site had fallen behind not only OpenRoad’s 2008 redesign of the flagship site icbc.com, but also had some structural issues to address. It had a challenging organizational structure, inconsistent (or missing) navigation, poor support for contemporary browsers, and various ways of addressing content that required a login or download.
ICBC asked OpenRoad to assess the existing Partners website and redesign the site, and propose a new information architecture, navigation, page layout, and look and feel to provide a better user experience to their business partners, an up to date execution of their brand, and support of contemporary browsers.
OpenRoad’s first challenge was to determine how the existing site was being used and understand the relative use and importance of the site content. Unfortunately there was not a web analytics tool in place to provide any insight, but OpenRoad was provided some good old fashioned log files and applying some custom filters in a tool called SawMill, was able shed some light on the usage patterns of business partners. Combined with a user survey and requirements from stakeholders, we were able to reorganize the site to suit the tasks of business partners.
A new information architecture and wireframes followed, which delivered a clean hierarchy, a consistent navigation and elegant layout. A consistent scheme was applied to indicate downloadable content and that which required a username and password.
OpenRoad worked with frequent collaborator Cober Design for a visual design treatment that brought the site into the 21st century and brand compliance while addressing the unique needs of business partners. Clean standards compliant XHTML mark up ensured that the Partners site is lightweight and compliant with the latest browsers.
The new pages combined with a Google Analytics specification ensured ICBC’s internal development team had everything it needed to re-launch the site in May 2011. ICBC is proud of the new site and pleased that it has a design that can sustain future growth and the analytics to manage its performance ongoing.