The Wood Solutions platform was created by Forest and Wood Products Australia (FWPA) and has become the leading Australian online presence for designing and building with wood. The Wood Solutions hub offers a wealth of information about wood products and applications, and showcases some of the most innovative projects from recent years.
The platform also provides users and members with various industry-standard sources, events, publications, seminars and an extensive searchable database of suppliers and specialists as well as a complete education portal, expert advice and more.
Working collaboratively with FWPA, Technocrat ran workshops, created user personas, designed wireframes and presented new designs for a more efficient interface and an improved user experience.
The Context and Challenge
Working with the FWPA on the Wood Solutions website introduced a few interesting challenges. First and foremost was the amount of content offered by the platform.
The platform is information-heavy, including hundreds of different wood products, dozens of related wood projects, hundreds of applications, suppliers, more than 1,000 resource documents and content pieces (and counting), events, members, campuses, courses and more...
Each of these content pieces demanded multiple relationship ties to other pieces of content. The challenge was to design a complex data model that could define the overall information architecture on one hand and address the more granular content relationship on the other.
Project Background and description
The brief was to create a new, future proof UX/design model that followed best practices and engaged users.
FWPA wanted a new, fresh look and feel to reduce user “distractions” and improve the discovery journey on the site.
The typical site visitors are experts in the field and know what they are looking for. The new look and feel had to allow these users to easily move through the site's content.
The design also needed to introduce a thoughtful approach to key focus areas and make sure that the heavily textual content is balanced with a more visual solution.
The Process and Insight
Working closely with FWPA, Technocrat ran a number of workshops, created and designed personas and wireframes. This culminated in the creation of a new and informed visual design that met and exceeded FWPA’s expectations.
Technocrat conducted an initial workshop with the client sharing ideas and assets from both their digital tools and print collateral. From this initial meeting, Technocrat created a set of unique personas representing typical users of the site. The personas were then tested and validated via direct feedback from the large FWPA user base.
This process informed the creation of new website wireframes, including improved sitemap and information architecture.
One of the key visual design challenges was the requirement to use the FWPA colour palette as it did not meet WACAG accessibility standards. Thinking creatively Technocrat were successful in implementing a solution that both utilised the brand guidelines as well as adhered to the standard.
To future proof the design, Technocrat created a modular design system that can be used in the future when new requirements and functionality is required. This will allow us the client to focus on what they need and what their users are after, with minimal disturbance to the work process and not needing to go back to the drawing board.
Getting the client involved in the process from the very early stage meant that the communication was positive throughout and resulted in a product that met the client's expectations.
Technocrat held regular meetings with FWPA to ensure feedback was moving in both directions and the work was delivered collaboratively.
Following the launch of their new website, FWPA is now the leading Australian online presence for wood solutions and wood projects. Their user base grew dramatically, as well as their products offering and educational material.
The Technocrat team continue work on optimisation of the website as well as working closely with the internal FWPA team on adding new tools and functionality to meet the changing requirements and needs of their users.