LASIK MD: LASIK MD Develops Intuitive, Best-in-Class Website with Macadamian
Services: Website software development
Before launching its new website, LASIK MD, Canada’s only national provider of laser vision correction turned to Macadamian for usability advice. Leveraging Macadamian’s user experience services, LASIK MD launched an intuitive and visually-appealing website that is driving new, better-informed leads and contributing to increased sales.
LASIK MD performs over half of all laser vision correction procedures in Canada. By early 2009, however, its website was cluttered and looking out of date.
“Our website was broken on two levels,” recalls Michael Engels, LASIK MD’s Director of Marketing Communications. “It was beginning to look old and it held a lot of information that wasn’t well presented, making it difficult to navigate. Secondly, the backend was outdated and lacked scalability. Our business was growing and we wanted to incorporate social media and reflect the best and latest information on the site.”
The company also recognized that its website was an important marketing and educational vehicle that had to be top-notch. “At one level, our service is simple,” says Darren Yaphe, LASIK MD’s Senior VP of Marketing. “People get laser vision correction so that they can free themselves from glasses and contacts. At the same time, however, it’s a medical procedure on a very sensitive part of the body. So people are very interested in understanding the science and technology behind it. They also want information about the surgeons and the outcomes that they can expect. We needed the website to address all of those concerns.”
Revamping the Website
Initially, LASIK MD approached a number of web designers to update and redesign its site. The company, however, struggled to find a designer that could meet its business, design and usability needs.
“We finally settled on a design concept that we liked and were about to start production,” says Engels. “We suspected, however, that the design sacrificed much of the usability we were looking for. The design looked nice, but we didn’t have confidence that it was created with our users in mind.”
Putting the User First
LASIK MD sought out Macadamian to determine whether the concept design would, indeed, hurt the site’s usability. “Macadamian had the usability expertise that we were looking for,” Engels explains. “They would be able to offer us a sound rationale for either modifying or scrapping our initial designs”
Upon analyzing the proposed wireframe designs, Macadamian’s first recommendation was to switch from an audience-based architecture to one that was task-focused.
“The original design required users to click on an online character to receive information,” recalls Meaghan Reinecke, Usability Researcher at Macadamian. “But it wasn’t clear which character was the best to choose, and we felt that it was likely to cause a lot of confusion among visitors. We argued that users visiting the website would have a particular task or question in mind, and that the website should be designed around those tasks.”
Testing the Design
To test its hypothesis, Macadamian worked with LASIK MD to identify the most common user tasks and design a new, task- oriented website wireframe. “Macadamian then tested that wireframe to see whether users could, in fact, accomplish those tasks,” says Engels.
The results of the research indicated that the website’s homepage should help users to quickly answer three questions:
- What is LASIK?
- Am I a candidate?
- What does it cost?
Using that information, LASIK MD created a new website architecture that included prominent, graphical “ads” that offered quick access to that very information.
Macadamian also recommended that LASIK MD use card sorting, a popular user experience design technique, to better categorize the various topics found within its website architecture. Through card sorting, LASIK MD was able to architect the website’s workflows, menu structure and navigation paths in a more logical, intuitive fashion.
Launching a Best-in-Class Website
Based on the advice provided by Macadamian, LASIK MD successfully developed and launched its new website in 2010. “Our website is now the best-in-class in our industry,” says Yaphe. “Not only is it helping to educate prospects, we know that it has played a large role in the continued growth of our business.”
“We really liked working with their team,” added Engels. “They were very thoughtful and extremely competent. We have an experienced marketing staff, but Macadamian offered us a specific skillset – usability and user experience expertise – that we lacked and really benefited from.”