One insight that stuck out to me from the usability testing: I observed that nearly all participants started at the top navigation to find what they were looking for.
So a major piece of making the site easier to use and improving the findability of key features was ensuring that the information architecture is set up in a way that is intuitive and straightforward. The current navigation went as deep as four or five levels, making it difficult for anyone—much less someone who speaks English as a second language—to find what they're looking for. In fact, one out of two ESL speakers I interviewed during usability testing could not find the video library.
I created an affinity map to re-organize the pages based on user needs from my research and edited the sitemap so that the navigation only included the major pages. I then conducted a card sort study to validate my first pass (the post-its below) and realized I still had work to do to. I ended up doing several iterations of the sitemap until the card sort results aligned with my navigation re-work.
I proposed the following changes to the site's IA:
1. Re-organized where certain pages live and are linked
To be more natural and intuitive
2. Edited the global top navigation for page and resource findability
And streamlining it so that top nav doesn’t go more than two levels deep
3. Added a global footer with direct, visible links
To key pages that may be hidden on the top nav
4. Re-named key labels/pages
For clarity or specificity
Then, to redesign the homepage's content hierarchy and modernize the UI, I proposed using from Elementor, a free drag-and-drop website builder for WordPress, for two reasons: 1). ease of implementing a redesign, and 2). automatic responsiveness across devices. Click to enlarge the below first drafts!
After several iterations, I landed on the proposed responsive design with a modernized logo while keeping the QEDC's visual brand identity and typography styles (click on the right-side arrows to see tablet and mobile).