Theme Park University
Usability and information architecture (IA) improvements
Theme Park University is a WordPress blog which provides in-depth insights into the themed entertainment industry. I helped them to make their site easier to use and to make its advertising more effective.
- Improve Theme Park University’s navigation to encourage users to stay on the site longer.
- Improve Theme Park University’s monetization by making its advertising more effective.
- Investigate ways to encourage more Theme Park University readers to share site content.
- My role included usability and information architecture improvements, via a card sorting study and CSS3 development.
- My point of contact was their president.
Overview of improvements
Main Navigation Menu
The main navigation bar's location was easy to miss because it was between a large logo and an ad.
I moved the main navigation menu to a fixed-position bar at the top of each page.
The original post excerpts were WordPress's defaults and did not have calls to action to read the post.
A call to action invites visitors to read the full article. The Older Posts and Newer Posts links became buttons to help people see that there were more posts.
TPU articles had a series of unfocused calls to action: sharing the article, liking it, clicking on an ad, and viewing previous and next posts.
I installed a related content plugin, which pointed people to more related articles within the same site to increase pages per session.
The sidebar presented a series of widgets: a search box, a suggested product for Amazon affiliates, a series of categories, and (further down) a small button for following TPU on Twitter.
I added background information to explain why people should support TPU on Amazon. I also installed a plugin which embedded a feed of rotating Tweets into each page.
Facebook Like box
Similarly, I installed a Facebook like box to replace the previous one, which was broken.
TPU had sidebar ads which were falling victim to right rail blindness.
After: New ads
The new advertisements were scattered throughout each post.
About & Advertise
New widgets in the sidebar tell readers about Theme Park University and invite businesses in the amusement industry to advertise to an already interested audience.
Sidebar ads and meta
The sidebar had a series of Amazon ads presented without context. The register and login links were under a confusing "Meta" header, which did not state a case for signing up.
I moved the Subscribe widget down the sidebar as a final call to action for readers who have seen more of the site's value. I changed the "Meta" header to "Log in to comment" since commenting on TPU posts requires registration.
Google Analytics data, June-August 2015 vs. June-August 2014
increase in sessions on their site
increase in users
increase in pageviews
increase in average session duration
increase in average pages per session
decrease in bounce rate
increase in percentage of new sessions