Thinkific BlogCompleted in 2020
How might we design a blog experience that better showcases Thinkific's stand as a market leader on online education through better user navigation and content strategy?
Lead UX/UI Designer
Thinkific's blog receives one of the highest traffic of their website, however, conversion was always low in comparison to the rest of the website. After analysing usability of the site, including looking at traffic data and heatmaps, we concluded that users were not navigating from one blog post to another, they were not singing up and there was no button to sign up to a newsletter. We essentially had a blog where prospects landed on a post and bounced right out of the page.
The ultimate goal of the redesign was to make Thinkific's Blog a known resource within the course creators community and increase brand awareness to consequently increase conversion from prospects to customers.
The secondary goal was for the blog to become a free resource for Thinkific's course creators to learn how to be succesful on their online business.
Blog Audit: Addressing Legacy UX Problems
In the old version of Thinkific's blog, there was plenty of usability and functionality issues. There was not a lot of user generated data at this point, except for conversion rate. So I decided to do an audit on the blog and listed out the main UX problems, based on industry standards and research of other successful blogs to ensure the new design was solving as many of them as possible.
• CTAs and buttons that didn't pass the minimun accessibility standards;
• Lack of discoverability between blog posts or categories;
• An almost hidden drop-down category filter, with no clear organization, which made navigation incredibly hard for the user;
• No hierarchy to ensure the user can quickly scan the page for most relevant content;
• No way for the user to subscribe for our newsletter;
• Image selection was not optimized for the component it was being used for. Below you can see an example where the image's text and a photo lose readability once it's placed as a background image.
During the process, we had multiple conversations on what the primary goal of the redesign should be: creating a blog that course creators would use for thought leadership pieces to grow their business or a high conversion blog that would generate lots of marketing leads. We decided to focus on the former, as the latter would come naturally as we design a blog with the user in mind and produce more thought leadership content.
The previous design only allowed the user to navigate from a blog post to the previous or next post. This often meant the articles on the footer of the post they had just read were irrelevant to where they were on the customer journey.
I redesigned this section so it would be pre-populated with relevant blog posts of the same category, so discoverability of new content was a lot more intuitive from a user perspective. Thinking about the thought leadership goal in mind, we also wanted to ensure our posts could be easily shared on social media, so other course creators could easily find our blog and learn how to build a successful online courses business as well.
Finally, another important feature was adding a sticky side bar that would be on the right side of the screen as the user reads the post. The side bar adds more relevant blog posts the user could be interested in, along with a spot for ads, where we could promote other Thinkific initiatives, like our free online summits or webinars.
As we worked to test the new blog navigation (including the new categories menu and the side bar), it was crucial to run quick wireframe tests with subjects that were easily available despite the quick turnaround of the project. I decided to consult people accross the company, including the product designers and discover how they navigate their favorite blogs.
I also had to work closely with the content team to ensure the final design allowed them to do everything they needed as they were the primary stakeholders working on the blog full time, including adding a banner at the top of the category pages to promote featured guides.
The final homepage redesign addresses all the issues we uncovered during the discovaribility phase – including navigation between categories and the discoverability of new articles. After the redesign, our conversion throughout the blog went from 1.4% to 4.7%. ■