utec is one of our oldest clients, dating back to our WordPress designs and Carver Strategy branding. Their original goal was to create a user experience that allowed customers to reach their power supply or LED driver solutions as quickly as possible from the homepage of the website. Their competitors all used menus and sub-menus to achieve the desired effect, but it looked outdated and cluttered. In their first website we used filters to allow users to narrow down product choices with checkboxes rather than dropdowns. It was an instant success and last throughout the company's early growth periods. Once they hit triple digit products however we began to see the need for new UI to improve to overall experience of the website. In our eyes the users were seeing too many filters at once making for an overwhelming UI.
In our second development of the website to WebFlow, we switched to a comprehensive search with some minor sorted pages to direct traffic. This new version was faster, sleeker and more efficient, but we forgot to consider the drastic change of UI and how it would affect visitors to the new site. After 6 months, traffic had not slowed, but numerous complaints were coming down the pipes both internally and externally that the search was too hard to use compared to the filters. We put a lite version of the old website back up as a "classic" tool they could use. We noticed most people just used the Classic tool instead of our brand new website. We took the executive decision to contact their Vice-President and propose merging the two websites to have search and filtering of products. This would allow for the best of both worlds and appease people who preferred one method of finding products to another. He voiced his concern that we had wasted a lot of time refining the search while making it the centerpiece of the new website. After some discussion we collectively decided that the only factor which mattered was the user experience. If our feedback was pointing clear signals, it didn't matter how much work was required, the website had to be overhauled functionality-wise.
Our branding and design remained the same, allowing for fully custom design work and lightning fast load times, but we had to gut the main functionality. Due to the age of WebFlow (only about 2 years out of beta) it lacked a live filtering system. We brainstormed for a while before deciding to custom code it ourselves. After two short weeks of development time we re-launched the website with fully live filtering. For those that still wanted it, we left the search just above the filtering as the secondary way of arriving at a power solution. When presenting it to Autec Power Systems, they were ecstatic and elated that the new search had so seamlessly be implemented with the classic filtering. Now customers visiting the website have so many options and much less clutter thanks to the WebFlow platform.
Check out the new website and see for yourselves how listening to feedback and changing UI to accommodate a range of user preferences allows for the best experience.