Information Architecture

At the early state of the business, there were 7 courses as products. The front funnel of marketing website was relatively simple. As we expected more courses (some will be bundled) launch for the next 6 months (later of the year 2018), I conducted the research and testing to improve the public facing website on information architecture (IA) and taxonomy.

Team members

  • UX designer(myself): content inventory and content audit, information architecture, taxonomy, card sorting-moderated and unmoderated remote testing
  • Product manager: taxonomy-list of courses and assumption of their categories
  • Content strategy expert: content writing and tone of voice
  • Front-End designer: current site map and content inventory

Content Inventory & Content audit

I started the research with a content audit and content inventory. I wanted to understand what is there and how effective the website works in the way of a quantitive and qualitative approach. I worked with the Front-End designer who had been working there for more than 6 months for both RMIT Uni and RMIT Online. It was time-saving working with him since he had a good understanding of both businesses.

He made a spreadsheet with a list of things that I guided to look for. They are the assets such as pages (HTML), metadata (keywords, description, page title), images, audio and video files, and document files (pdf, .doc, .ppt) I also asked him to come out with the current site map which contains below.

  • 7 short courses are listed on the “Courses” drop-down menu
  • A blog page that had have just been created
  • FAQ
  • A landing page
  • few legal term pages (T&C, Disclaimer, Privacy etc.)
  • Form success page
  • Cart page that leads through to the purchase funnel of RMIT University

Site pages were modest (with lack of information), images and copy used were generic.

Current state of the site structure

Open card sorting (moderated testing)

After the initial research(including internal team interviews and workshops), I conducted user interview and user testing (with the clickable mid-fi mockups) followed by Card Sorting session. The details are explained more on “Testing & Solutions” page.

I created cards(Trello Board) according to the menu and short words from the content on the mockups. I let the participants sort cards into categories that make sense to them and label each group themselves.

  • Tested on 12 participants (Mixed approach recruitment)
  • Time duration: 10-15 mins.
  • Method: Open Card Sort
  • Tools: Trello Board on iPad, voice recorder
  • Data Capture: recorded A brief explanation from the participants after the session and Screenshot the testing result


Interview typed moderated card sorting is only suited to a small number of participants. As much as you get qualititive data, the analysis is time-consuming. I find it is still worth the time for quality insights when you don’t have much of the user’s input to your product.

I printed out all the screenshots of the testing result, labelled them with the names of the participants and put them on the wall. I highlighted the interesting parts of the print-outs. I listed out the common labels and their grouped cards. I could already see what they expect from the website.

Card Sort analysis on the wall

Course information, outcomes, mentors and support is crucial to them. Some require the level of the course. one particular participant made only two groups out of all cards and named as “Professional(experienced) and Beginners”. Community and networking(real-life connection) are also shown as a label.

New site structure & Content management

We hired a contract content strategy expert to work on the new website and I shared the insights of the interview and the testing with him to start working on the new site map and the content. I created the Trello Board site map that we can easily move around the cards over the period of time while we can get feedback from the stakeholders and the crucial team members.

New site structure and its content

The solutions

1. How might we help students to manage their time to complete a course?

  • Accurate information about the time length of the video materials and reading materials prior to enrolment.
  • Information about the course start/end/next course start dates/duration and how it works
  • Show the course outline before enrolment with assignment information, milestones and estimate time commitment

2. How might we assure our students that they get quality skills and industry recognition?

  • Give them enough information about the courses and how it works
  • Information about industry recognised partners and their testimonials
  • Emphasise mentorship and build RMIT Online community including encourage to become a mentor through our marketing website
  • Continuously building the partnership with industry recognised companies

3. How might we give the prospects enough information prior to enrolment?

  • Make separate “How it works”, “Support” and “Why RMIT Online” pages to give them clear information that they need to make a decision
  • Bring “Mentorship” out of “Partnership” on the main menu to bridge the future target states of “community”
  • Prioritise the information about the time commitment and industry partnership and mentorship throughout the relevant pages

The site pages are as below and the content reflects the insights from the research. Check out further information about the user interview insights and the solutions.

  • Home
  • Course catalogue page
  • Course detail page
  • How it works
  • Why RMIT Online
  • Support
  • Blog
  • Our partners
  • Mentorship
  • Footer

We added the detailed information on course detail pages, created “search field on the homepage and the course catalogue page. Also, created separate “How it works”, “Partnership” and “Mentorship” pages to fulfil the user’s needs. The content strategist and I sat down together over hours to come out with the content and what tone of voice should be like.

Taxonomy-unmoderated card sorting

When the short courses are tripled the numbers, we acknowledged the need for a taxonomy. We also wanted to group some courses as bundles. The product manager approached the issue to me and we went to through the current courses and the future up-coming course plus some others on our radar.

More details are coming soon.

Dendrograms-best merge method
Heat map – Similarity matrix

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