Avisa Utilities Website Usability Research

Avista is an energy utility company serving four states in the Pacific Northwest, and based in Spokane, Washington. Avista knew it was long overdue for a new online presence and wanted to be strategic in their efforts to create a new website and mobile experience for customers. In the very early stages of the project, Avista engaged my team at Sixth Man Marketing to provide strategic guidance and user testing throughout the lifecycle of their redesign effort.

Strategy & Research

The marketing team at Avista recognized that in order for their website redesign efforts to be successful, they needed to have a long-term plan that would drive internal corporate commitment to the project and solid research to guide the design process.

As the project began, we were engaged to:

  • Conduct usability testing on Avista’s existing website
  • Research industry websites to analyze current trends and best practices
  • Prepare a Case for Change and Strategic Planning documents

Website & Prototype User Testing

During Avista’s website and mobile redesign process, my team built working Axure prototypes and conducted user testing with Avista customers. This process allowed us to find out which aspects of the new designs were meeting users’ needs and which things needed to be changed or modified for further testing before programming began on the new sites.

Information Architecture

Our task was to transform the information architecture of the website into a usable and understandable structure for users. The challenge was keep users from being overwhelmed and to help them find what they’re looking for without having to dig too deeply in the site. We conducted tree testing (reverse card sorting) with Avista customers to determine the optimal structure and taxonomy for Avista’s new website and made navigation system recommendations that will support the new information architecture.

The Result

Avista is currently in the programming phase of their website redesign. The team is working with our usability findings and recommendations to build a website that will effectively communicate with customers and allow them to successfully complete their online tasks, such as: paying bills, reporting outages, starting or stopping service, and finding energy-saving tips and rebates.

I continue to conduct usability testing on Avista’s website and am working with them to plan for testing following the launch of their new site later this year.