Website redesign for Canada’s number one outdoor retailer
Founded in Vancouver, Mountain Equipment Co-op is one of Canada’s most known outdoor retailers. This member-owned co-operative offers products and services to its membership base with the mandate to support self-propelled wilderness-oriented recreation. Mountain Equipment chose OpenRoad to lead a redesign of their website mec.ca.
While the primary goal of the project was to redesign the creative look and feel of the website, reorganizing the non-retail content was also important. The mec.ca site was rich with content to help its members learn about activities, equipment, sustainability practices and ways to meet others within the community; however, this content received little traffic as most members were not aware that it was there. The challenge of this project was to improve the design of the non-retail sections of the site; apply the changes to the retail portions of the site while not impacting the current shopping experience. To meet the unique needs of this project, OpenRoad partnered with Karo Design and Cober Design. Utilizing Karo’s ability to envision compelling brand experiences and Cober Designs extensive outdoor brand experience, a creative team was assembled to help create a new look and feel that would help motivate members to participate in activity – both online and outdoors.
OpenRoad led the development of a clear strategy and requirements through workshops and baseline usability testing. The usability testing helped to identify key areas for improvement and requirements it provided the project with a measureable baseline for improvement. Through the creation of the new information architecture, wireframes, and visual design, user-centered design methodologies were baked into the process.
Testing the wireframes enabled the team to iterate the design prior to development being started. This not only helped to save time in the timeline, but saved development efforts as the changes were made early on in the design process. In conjunction with the redesign efforts, OpenRoad worked with MEC to define key performance indicators (KPIs) for the non-retail sections. Once the KPIs were established, OpenRoad conducted a baseline KPI evaluation to ensure that the effect of the redesign could be accurately measured.
To aid the MEC team in analysis and reporting, a dashboard was created. The beta site usability testing revealed the success of the redesign, showing an increase in all usability metrics that were defined in the baseline testing. Participants not only found it easier to find information, but they felt that the new site communicated that there was more to the site than just a retail section.
The new website launched in the middle of May 2010. Forsee trends measured in June revealed an increase in both overall satisfaction and navigation on the new website. These values help to validate the importance of a user-centred design approach with introducing the new information architecture and navigation model.