A Navigation Case Study for TMBC

by Jackie Tanner, UX Designer

Jacqueline Tanner
Aug 26, 2016 · 5 min read

The Challenge

The Marcus Buckingham Company’s performance and engagement management tool called StandOut has grown its user base by approximately 30% between 2015–2016. Due to this rapid growth there has been a subsequent need to accommodate the variety of user personas with new feature offerings. This increased complexity to the platform’s global navigation design has resulted in increased user confusion while performing important tasks. This has been observed in previous usability studies, noted in recent Help Desk tickets, as well as come up in conversations with client stakeholders.

In order to identify wherein most confusion lies and how best to reorganize information for our users, I decided to cross-reference information collected from a variety of methods. These methods were:

  1. Sitemap creation
  2. Google Analytic data
  3. Card Sort exercise
  4. Usability study

What I Learned

  1. Sitemap creation

With the help from some members of our development team, I was able to create six sitemaps of the platform to represent the different versions that exist dependent upon the differing levels of access of previously identified user personas.

Upon review it became apparent that there is possible cognitive overload occurring on the Team Dashboard page in the area circled above. The circled area represents the Team Dashboard’s relationship to the Team Check-Ins, Performance Pulse and Engagement Pulse pages. This sitemap helped me to establish that these relationships are cause for concern and deserving of further inquiry.

  1. Google Analytic data

Through the use of our Google Analytics account I was able to take a deeper dive to identify how users interact with the on-page elements to accomplish their goals. I found that the vast majority (80%) of interactions take place with the teams dropdown and usage decreases significantly (<14%) with the other navigational elements provided. This further supports my hypothesis of the occurrence of cognitive overload.

  1. Card Sort exercise

In an effort to better understand the way our users label and group the elements of our existing navigation I tapped into our internal users by organizing a card sort.

The results of which allowed me to further identify the lack of clarity regarding the labeling and grouping of the Tools, Team Dashboard and both Team/My Check-Ins pages specifically.

  1. Usability study

Based on the previous findings, I designed a hypothesized solution to reorganize our navigation structure. I removed all the dropdowns from the primary navigational elements and grouped the former pages/features into these categories: My Teams, Check-Ins, Resources, Talent Tools, Search, Notifications, Help, Settings, My Profile (a reduction from 14 to 9 navigational elements).

I put my hypothesis to the test. On May 9, 2016 I conducted a task-oriented usability study + interview of my prototype and observed ten users (within our target demographic) interactions. Upon completion and analysis of this study, I was able to determine that:

  • Pass: 90% of the users tested clearly understood what the My Teams page represents and what kind of information would be provided
  • Fail: 90% expected the company logo to link to our company’s home page or their company’s intranet
  • Pass: 100% of users were able to quickly find the Check-Ins page and clearly understood it’s purpose
  • Fail: 70% of users were unable to understand the purpose and function of the Talent Tools section based on the label and description I provided
  • Pass: 100% of users understood what would take place when clicking on their name/picture, though 60% were correct with their assumptions of what would exist on their profile page, the remaining 40% described various concepts regarding the specifics
  • Pass: 100% of users were able to find the Notifications-bell icon and exhibited no signs of confusion around it’s function
  • Inconclusive: When asked to log out, 30% of users were able to on the first attempt, 50% of users were able to on the 2nd attempt, and 20% of users were unable to complete the task at all


Upon reviewing and analyzing the information I’ve received, I have come to following conclusions:


  1. All users to land on their Teams page (if accessible)
  2. Remove dropdowns from global nav — direct links
  3. Remove all the top-right square icon buttons
  4. Incorporate Performance Pulse and Engagement Pulse features into the Team Dashboard and re-test
  5. Incorporate Learning Pulse into Resources or user’s Profile pages and re-test
  6. Consider whether the need for a specific homepage exists


  1. Remove the underutilized button option from the Team Dashboard page
  2. Combine My Check-Ins and Team Check-Ins into a single hub
  3. Treat Check-Ins as a separate feature and prioritize it by providing it’s own section in the global navigation header


  1. Rethink the naming convention, as Talent Tools was even found to be unclear
  2. Re-test or re-interview other name options (ex: Admin Tools, Performance Tools, etc.)


  1. May not require it’s own icon
  2. Combine functions with user name/picture and re-test

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