March 23rd, 2014

Jamie Oliver website redesign – Econsultancy interview with Pixelgroup

Having redesigned the user experience for JamieOliver.com last year, we -Pixelgroup and Jamie Oliver- were interviewed by Econsultancy’s Graham Charlton.

Our goal: To improve the user experience across digital channels, and tempt visitors to look at more than just recipes. Nish (Strategy director, Pixelgroup), Dil (Head of design. Pixelgroup) and Ayssa (Head of Online – Jamie Oliver) explain the challenges and approach we took.

Jamie Oliver website redesign should inspire

Ayssa wanted the website redesign to put the spotlight back on the food.  Jamieoliver.com is all about empowering people to improve their cooking skills and given all the great content amassed over the years it was time to attract cooks, novices and experts alike.  The redesign with its bold yet warming visuals should inspire us to make new recipes aided by the addition of the new ‘Howto’ section.

A channel strategy user experience

We considered how Jamie’s businesses and initiatives can be represented using a ‘channel strategy’ approach. This showed how users navigated through the different channels of Jamie Oliver.com. It was about letting the user discover as much content as possible and create a user journey which matched what the website had to offer with needs of the audience.  Essentially, we connected different channels into a unique experience.

Jamie Oliver feed, popular content made available

Creating the ‘Jamie Oliver Feed’ was all about getting the audience to explore the vast amount of quality and popular content on the site.  We put all this popular content into a single, dynamic feed.

The principle behind this was to look at popular content items, including social media and have these dynamically presented on the homepage, by calculating how popular a content item was.

Intuitive navigation gives content discovery

We introduced navigation paradigms that allowed frequent users to ‘jump’ to relevant parts of the site quickly through ‘quick links’ and the introduction of a mega drop down – to allow users to navigate through multiple levels of content.  The website was not only about completing a task (finding a new recipe) but helping discover supporting content around a recipe.

Video and blogs drive traffic for Jamieoliver.com

The major difference is the type of content that the audience can now consume. There are dedicated people who write specific content for the website, largely new content.  The website redesign also has a structure which allows users to engage and interact with multiple blogs from a single place.

Introduction of video was a major innovation for the website redesign. Research showed that video would not only drive more traffic, but was likely to convert users to dwell more on the website and visit more pages. We solved this by restructuring how the videos were organised and presented on the site.

The major difference is the type of content that the audience can now consume. There are dedicated people who write specific content for the website, largely new content.  The website redesign also has a structure which allows users to engage and interact with multiple blogs from a single place.

Introduction of video was a major innovation for the website redesign. Research showed that video would not only drive more traffic, but was likely to convert users to dwell more on the website and visit more pages. We solved this by restructuring how the videos were organised and presented on the site.

Website Redesign should reflect Jamie’s restaurants

Jamieoliver.com should be a place where people would feel welcome just like in one of Jamie’s restaurants.  We worked closely to match Jamie’s vision and it was about replacing the existing legacy based website into a new modern and welcoming design.

Practices from the old site were still being employed.  We had to make all the content accessible and smoothly navigate the user around a distraction-free website whilst maximising commercial aspects of the site.

JamieOliver.com Today and a vision for the future

We identified and prioritised the primary objectives the website should meet moving forward and reviewed the old website against those. The branding and overall look and feel was out-dated and needed a refresh to fit better with Jamie’s style as it is today.

User testing guided by sixth sense

We know from previous user tests and our own research that with food (like clothes or shoes) people navigated by sense.  We took advantage of the strong visuals at our disposal.  David Loftus’ photography has a big part in creating the site’s mood.

We also analysed the results of an extensive user survey to map user insight and behaviour.  This allowed us to slice this data to see exactly how users react and working backwards we could create an intuitive user experience.

Jamieoliver.com’s community a recipe for success

The Forum was created which allowed members of the website to join and discuss all things food.  Members were allowed to post their own topics and threads as they would do on any other forum on the web.  The forum forum experience is enriched because Jamie and his team interact with the members by answering their questions and sparking a debate on a range topics.

We also extended the functionality so our members can create their own their own blogs on the website, and we also created a ‘member recipes’ section which today counts over 5,000 recipes.

For the full interview click here:

http://econsultancy.com/blog/62597-ayssa-adnani-of-jamieoliver-com-on-a-ux-focused-redesign

JamieOliver.com case study.

http://localhost/pixelgroup/projects/jamie-oliver/

About the author

Silvia aims to please with seamless designs. As an user experience designer she is intrigued by users and their interactions with digital products and works to refine her eclectic skill set.