top of page

THE STRAND INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE CASE STUDY

strand_on_imac.png
The Strand: Image

CHALLENGE

Improve the navigation structure for a beloved NYC local bookstore

RESOURCES

Type: Case Study

Timeline: 1 week

SKILLS

Contextual inquiry, heuristic analysis, competitive feature analysis, open and closed card sorting, user flows, site mapping

The Strand: List

The Strand has been a New York City institution since 1927. Today, it carries over 2.5 million new, used, and rare books and is both a resource for local booklovers and a destination for tourists. The store is impeccably organized to support people with specific titles in mind as well as casual browsing. However, The Strand’s website has grown cluttered over the years and is in need of an update. I took on the exercise of revisiting The Strand’s layout and navigation to develop a more streamlined solution.

The Strand: Text

FEATURE ANALYSIS

The Strand: Text

HEURISTIC ANALYSIS

To begin my evaluation, I performed a heuristic analysis using the Abbey Method. Through this I found three main insights:

PURCHASING

When it comes to purchasing books and media, the functions of the site work well. The purchasing process is meets best practices and offers several convenient options for customers.

EVENTS

The process for RSVPing for an event uses the same system as purchasing physical items, making the check out process confusing and difficult to interpret

READING LISTS

The recommended reading lists for events and seasons is cumulative and poorly organized. Many types of information are grouped together with no organizational system or labeing.

The Strand: List

COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS

Next, I performed a competitive analysis between The Strand and amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, and westsiderbooks.com, and a comparative analysis with nypl.org. I found that compared to websites with similar goals, The Strand’s website has many of the features that customers need. Its issues are less from a functional perspective and more from an organizational perspective.

The Strand: Text
thestrand_comp_analysis.png
The Strand: Image

USER FLOW

As my final independent research on The Strand’s website, I created a user flow demonstrating the steps that it takes to purchase a book. The user flow highlighted that actually purchasing a book is a fairly simple process as long as the user is able to easily find the book that they’re looking for.

The Strand: Text
Strand User FLow Test.png
The Strand: Image

REORGANIZATION

With this in mind, I organized an open and closed card sort featuring pages from The Strand’s website. I ran through each card sort with three people who had either bought a book or visited a bookstore in the past year.

The Strand: Text

OPEN CARD SORT

The Strand: Text

Observations

  • Participants grouped together staff picks, recommended book book lists, and other curated book lists independently from the more general browsing options.

  • Participants did not know what books by color or style were and consistently grouped them with books sorted by content

  • Participants thought that Order Status should be grouped with My Account and Wishlists

  • All three participants created a “My account/profile” section that contained many of the utility features of the site.

The Strand: Text

Insights

  • Participants’ mental models separate freely browsing by genre and taking advice through recommendations into two distinct groupings.

  • The Books by the Foot subgrouping are not clear, intuitive titles when taken out of the context of primary navigation.

  • Participants put many of the account and information related topics which are scattered around the site and put them into utility-based categories.

The Strand: Text

CLOSED CARD SORT

The Strand: Text

Observations

  • Participants put recommended books lists under staff picks instead of Books and Media.

  • A lot of cards go into the Other category and have no clear organizational system of hierarchy on the site.

  • Only one person put Quizzes under events.

  • Two out of three participants grouped the Preorder options under Books and Media instead of Rare and Collectibles.

  • Every participant asked what Books by the Foot went. One participant chose not to use the card at all.

The Strand: Text

Insights

  • Participants’ mental models separate freely browsing by genre and taking advice through recommendations into two distinct groupings.

  • The Books by the Foot subgrouping are not clear, intuitive titles when taken out of the context of primary navigation.

  • Participants put many of the account and information related topics which are scattered around the site and put them into utility-based categories.

The Strand: Text

STEPS FOR IMPROVEMENT

The Strand: Text

PROPOSED CHANGES

1

Regroup book categories so that browsing genres is under one header and book recommendations are under another.

2

Create one or more categories that allow navigation to utilities, account features, and information.

3

Rename Books by the Foot to be more clear as a library feature

4

Make preordering books easier to find and more obvious as separate categories.

The Strand: List
thestrand_existing_site_map.png
The Strand: Image
thestrand_revised_site_map.png
The Strand: Image
The Strand: Text
bottom of page