After months of hard work and the additional challenge of Covid-19, Wightlinks new website was launched creating an intuitive and streamlined user journey for their customers.
Wightlink is an award-winning ferry operator and we had the privilege of working with them to develop their new user-focussed and innovative website; however, it wasn’t all smooth sailing for the project.
During the design and development stages of this project two in-person meetings were needed every week – one on Monday, where focus was placed on planning a sprint; the other meeting was at the end of the week and was dedicated to washing up the sprint and reviewing the week’s progress. These meetings were a critical part of the project.
We faced a sharp adjustment when the Government announced the national lockdown in March due to Covid-19. Zoom was not a part of everyday life and initially presented its own challenges, we had no dedicated Project Manager, and Wightlink resource and output was reduced, which meant running such a huge project at full throttle became incredibly challenging.
However, we are proud to say that we were able to adjust quickly and effectively as a team. We also hired Alex, who joined us as Project Manager, ensuring we were able to give all of our clients the extra support they needed during this tough time.
User testing and feedback
There are many elements to UX Design, and one of them is extensive research on the user. We hosted customer-focused workshops on board the ferries, identifying a range of sub-groups who were all able to provide insight into how they would organise information on the existing Wightlink website. These sub-groups included staff in the ports and on-board, commuters, regular travellers and people who had never taken a ferry before. We then helped to facilitate user testing to validate improved layouts for these individuals to provide feedback on the new website design.
This resulted in the new website being faster to use and much more straightforward to navigate. It was also designed to be mobile-first, allowing users to access the website in more ways than ever.
Some of the main improvements to the website were:
- Added personalisation for logged in customers
- Vastly improved the site architecture to show important status information and easy to use, logical navigation
- We redesigned the booking widget on the home page to be progressive and deep link into the booking steps
- Introduced a price estimate tool for customers looking for indicative pricing
- Re-designed all core pages to help Wightlink communicate their content more clearly to ferry travellers
Steven Piper, Founder of the web design agency Si digital, adds: “Using valuable customer insights, we were able to build an attractive user-centred website that places Wightlink at the forefront of their industry, enabling their customers to make bookings quickly and efficiently.”
“At Wightlink we endeavour to provide the best possible user experience for prospective and returning customers to our website. So far, I am thrilled with the new website’s performance and handling of traffic flow.
“From working in partnership with Si Digital’s expert team, the site has been designed to be mobile-first, allowing more users to gain access to the site than ever before.
“Moving forward, Wightlink expects to handle the growing traffic levels with maximum efficiency, making it easier than ever for visitors to be transported to the Isle of Wight on our ferries.”
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