Well, the numbers are in from our most recent beta test of a new dell.com home page design, and they’re not as I’d hoped. While one researcher recently found our web site to be “quite easy to navigate only after several visits,” our beta metrics indicated that changing the home page actually made it harder for returning visitors to find what they were seeking.
So, we theorized that if we ran the beta test for a longer period, the return visitors would have time to become more comfortable with the new navigation. Thus, a longer beta run would show return visitor results beginning to level out with new visitor results in both the beta and control groups. However, after re-running the beta for twice as long, control continued to outperform the beta group.
We want to make sure that our customers know how to find what they are looking for on dell.com as we head into the holiday shopping season, and these results seem to indicate that the new page does not improve findability. Something Peter Morville dubbed “one of the most thorny problems in web design.” So, we will not launch a new home page until after the end of this year.