modern
simple
intuitive
design
Big Ladder Software | Landing Page Redesign |  Web

Big Ladder is a company that provides software and services for the building energy modeling industry. The biggest design challenges were discovering who uses the site and streamlining the navigation experience.

Adopting an agile two week sprint, the first week was used to identify key personas and their needs, a complete overhaul of the site’s Information Architecture. The second week was spent fleshing out the user interface. This included wireframing, testing, mockups, testing, prototyping and interaction design exploration and more testing.

I completed competitive analysis, user research and testing, wire frames, interactive prototypes and high fidelity mockups during all iterations of the page’s development.

their current site

Big Ladder recognizes its current design is in need of an update, but with business going well, admitted it’s low on their priority list and not urgent. Initially assigned the redesign of the landing page, the expectation was to give things a “facelift.” However, I knew it was bigger than just a visual design solve. There was a need to explore and do some user research to find out the needs we were trying to solve for. I worked with stakeholders and users to get a better understanding of how the new site should look and the features to consider.

the redesign

Big Ladder is a software and services company with a mission to elevate the building energy modeling industry by providing innovative software tools, top-quality services and resources for software training and support, and industry-leading consulting services in energy modeling analysis and research. It’s time their site reflected this and their mission.

peer analysis

When it comes to the services offered to the building energy modeling industry, Big Ladder is the market leader. With multiple options out there, Big Ladder outshines their peers by developing and releasing all signature software tools as open source. Part of their uniqueness is that they are a company of computer programmers and energy modelers/engineers. Understanding the domain they are programming for is a huge advantage. 

Big Ladder

Open Source

Software

Training

Support

Research

Consulting

Updated website

Uncluttered

Navigation Notes

NREL

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

Intuitive

NORESCO

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

Yes

No

Complex Dropdowns

PSD

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

Yes

No

Complex/Dense

GARD

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

No

Yes

Complex/Dense

interviews & more research

I immersed myself in their Analytics, validated my findings with user interviews, and evaluated the competition. The more time I spent with the stakeholders and employees, the more I knew about what they wanted.

a personal touch

From patterns revealed in research, Big Ladder's archetypical users became evident. Four personas emerged whose goals and characteristics represent the needs of a larger group. Meet Nick, Rob, Nicole, and Jack.

*for a more detailed breakdown of personas, click here.

Rob Stephenson

Sustainability Team
Leader

"I enjoy pushing the envelope and helping make a significant environmental impact - I’m in it for
the planet."

Needs

Search and find high-quality software.

I need to know who Big Ladder is.

Can they help me?

I want to see a portfolio of work.

Who else have they done work for?

A way to contact them.

Nicole Tesla

Computational building
scientist

"I have a permanent tab open in my browser for Stack Overflow!"

Needs

Looking for a new and exciting job.

Find a company that shares my values.

Combine all my skills for others.

Explore my abilities.

Meaningful impact on the planet.

Want to play a major role in a team.

Nick Otto

Mechanical engineering/
energy modeler

"You can look at a blueprint from a million different angles, but a few seconds in Euclid and you instantly understand the scale."

Needs

Free software.

Positive steps toward my end goal.

Access to the latest versions.

Find out more about the software.

Latest resources.

Jack Offal

Programmer, Engineer
& Scientist

"Computer programming
is the Swiss Army knife that I wield to pry open the cans of data and corkscrew the hidden insights!"

Needs

Access to the latest software version. Access to the latest documentation.

Objective Key Results

Improved navigation
Add a nav bar
Add a search bar

 

Uncluttered, readable content


Modern, clean design
A descriptive narrative (text) is important
Typographic Hierarchy
Use white space
Use images or video or illustration to break up blocks of text

 

Relevant CTAs
What’s important to both Stakeholders and the user and make those the only CTAs
Helps to sell our services in the five domains

 

A better way to showcase our products
Showcase our portfolio in an interesting way

information architecture

The structure of information on the original website was complicated with too much text and unintuitive to navigate.

sketching & ideas

wireframes

Navigation

 

Featured Image

Bold Heading

Company Summary

 

 

The 5 Services

 

Summary

Call to action

The fold

 

 

Mission statement

 

 

 

 

 

Portfolio

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mission statement

 

 

 

 

 

 

Client List

 

 

 

 

News

Training

 

 

 

 

 

Footer

mockups

I applied product branding,

grid structure,

typographic hierarchy,

color schemes and iconography sticking closely to the

Material Design

visual language.

 

 

The fold

 

interaction design

One of the deliverables was a showcase of how the user interacted on the home page. The goal is to create a landing page that enables the user to achieve their objectives in the best, most efficient way. Using subtle motion and animation not only reinforces what Big Ladder does, but is a form of communication and adds an element of delight.

next steps

Responsive design 

Although there are more desktop users, 17% still use mobile devices.

Information Architecture 

In the first round of testing, it became evident that users were looking to access software but the menu item was named ‘Tools,’ meaning extra clicks and bounces from the site because users couldn’t find what they were looking for. The top nav is still too densely populated and could be refined for user needs.

Test with some more users
With any changes at this point, it would be good to test and get user feedback.

Set a conversion rate?

At the moment, the bounce rate on the home page is 70%. It’s necessary to get the users clicking through to other pages.

NEXT

LET'S

GET

IN

TOUCH

© 2020 Mark Chittenden.