Content vs Task Based Navigation — A UX Design case study
IndiaMART is India’s largest online B2B marketplace. Its seller portal is used by 1.6 Lakh paid and 20+ Lakh free sellers monthly. Over 6 crore monthly inquiries are exchanged and answered here.
Good website navigation is important for users to easily find information and accomplish tasks. We wanted to make the seller portal navigation simple and user-friendly.
We re-evaluated the information architecture, explored web navigation theories, analyzed the current interface, and then subsequently redesigned the entire user experience. We confirmed with usability tests, the change in the navigation system, made the portal more productive and brought more business value.
A quick analysis of the seller portal, critical evaluation, and a brief trend study suggested that IndiaMART is a complex digital system. There were two dimensions to it:
1. Interaction Complexity
The seller portal is associated with larger and difficult tasks that sometimes even require training (provided at our Seller Learning Centres) in turn, high interaction complexity.
2. Domain Complexity
This system certainly has complicated workflows that sometimes require a high degree of intricacy and technical knowledge, leading to high domain complexity.
In order to reduce the system complexity, a co-design approach was imperative.
We visited a Seller Learning Center in Daryaganj, Delhi to apprehend our users' perception and evaluate the existing Information Architecture. We wished wanted to gather first-hand user information to derive effective and precise Personas for User Experience Journey Mapping.
We used a closed type card sorting and unstructured open-ended interviews on Day 1.
A lot of common navigation elements were being used on the seller portal including a common Navigation bar on the header, tree navigation and a drop-down menu.
Current Navigation System
The current Navigation system also lacked a balance between breadth and depth. The navigation categories were to be widened.
Information Architecture — A Tree Menu
User Interface Design & Usability Testing
We asked users to identify label interpretations (tree testing) and task-based navigation channels. We re-iterated several times on the wireframes based on feedback from Users. We also conducted open-end discussions to identify the preference of a left navigation bar over top navigation bar and vice versa.
A lot of design decisions were made based on the first round of user testing.
The header was simplified. The navigation bar was removed altogether. Items in the left navigation bar were renamed, for example: Collect Payments was integrated with invoices to create Bills & Invoices section, Products & Groups was modified to create Manage Products — a more task-oriented item. Business Feeds was renamed to Your Catalog Views.
A lot of structural changes were made, step by step in multiple releases, ensuring the KPIs don't drop and users find it easier to adapt to the new interface.
New User Interface Design