Clarity’s Website Redesign Project for Pace
Transit is one of many industries that has been directly impacted by the events of 2020. The need for riders to have real-time, accurate transportation information has become increasingly important as a result. With the website redesign completed and launched by Clarity Partners in June of this year, Pace is repositioned just in time to service their customers in a new and improved way.
For Pace Suburban Bus, a website refresh was needed to:
- Improve user experience through greater accessibility
- Create a refreshed and sustainable look and feel
- Overhaul of the internal workflow process as it relates to site updates
- Provide dynamic route maps
Let’s explore each of these issues in a little more detail.
Improved User Experience
The original website posed many user experience concerns, including:
- Lack of ability to meet basic ADA web accessibility requirements
- Navigation difficulties and lack of responsiveness
- A third-party tool for email and SMS notifications that did not sync to the website, causing a need for duplicate updating of service information
- Irrelevant search tool results
Most importantly, there was a lack of control over site updates for real-time information and users had a difficult time locating information on the website. This led to increased call volume for the Pace Customer Service team and frustration from all parties.
A Refreshed, Sustainable Look
Prior to this endeavor, the Pace website had not been redesigned in close to a decade. The Pace team wanted to use the website redesign to establish brand consistency. It was also important that the updated design allow for an editorial approach for content heavy pages that did not contain functional user tools.
Updating the Internal Workflow Process
An improved internal workflow was necessary as part of the rebuild. Due to a webmaster-reliant proprietary content management system, the Pace team was submitting support tickets to IT for website content updates. This dramatically affected the turnaround time on content edits, which was part of what directly impacted end users access to timely and relevant information.
Route Map Improvements
While route maps are some of Pace’s most visited pages of the site, the previous version only had PDF files to represent these locations rather than dynamic maps that allow users to interact. This required a designer to make updates to the static map image and reupload each time changes occurred.
Improved User Experience: Learning Through Accessibility Testing
With Clarity’s help, Pace sought to improve access to information through user and accessibility testing. To ensure the website truly delivered useful content to end users, Pace conducted user testing for all of their primary audiences, as identified by use cases, and were sure to include end users interacting with the site using assistive technology. Test participants were asked to complete tasks related to their use case scenarios. A test moderator was present in the room with participants. Room audio and the participant’s screen were shared with a team of observers who were in a separate room. Results of the testing ultimately led to changes in design and development and a better end product, including a restructured information architecture, and in doing so, changed the menu system of the website. Together with the Pace team, we updated terminology in the main menu in an effort to meet discovered user expectations. We presented these findings at this year’s Drupal MidCamp.
Refreshed, Sustainable Look: A Web Styleguide + Upgrades
With a Web Styleguide, we can encourage participation in and governance of this look for the Pace development and marketing teams. The website was designed to meet accessibility compliance standards, including but not limited to color contrast ratios and readable font sizes, and the guide offers stylistic advice related to photography and layout. In addition, it can now accommodate functional user tools and an editorial approach to layout for pages that are content heavy, but focused less on those tools.
Improved Workflow Process: Drupal Replaces Proprietary CMS
Drupal has replaced the proprietary CMS, improving content organization and control as well as the ability to assign roles and permissions to additional users. Switching to Drupal also allows Pace to utilize additional vendors in which APIs are built and ready to use. Site updates are also linked to email/SMS notifications, eliminating the need for duplicate updates of the same type. The new Drupal CMS allows subject matter experts to be the content editors, streamlining the number of people involved in edits and reducing the lead-time from days to minutes. This backend improvement may be most noticeable to end users when announcements like service changes or detours are updated in close to real time.
Route Map Improvements: Improving the PDF Functionality
Route maps are now dynamic, displaying on each page with the added feature of advertising opportunities. The need for a designer to make updates to existing PDFs is no longer a barrier to updating this information when needed.
The Impact? Pace is Better Prepared & Ready
Clarity was able to deliver on the biggest needs of the original Pace site, all of which tie into user experience. The Acquia Drupal platform provides a modern, efficient, secure site better positioned to expand and implement additional updates independently, which really excites the Pace team. The anticipation of major budget challenges as a result of the current environment, the new site streamlines so many of their processes. The ability to do real-time updates to immediately notify their customers of unexpected changes in service has proved invaluable.