UX Design for the Greater Good: The Climate Registry
It seems intuitive that the websites most pleasing to use are also the most minimal. After all, when you visit a site, you don’t want to sift through a bunch of superfluous content to find what you need. However, these two characteristics aren’t mutually exclusive. You can have a multitude of content serving many different users and still have a clean, easy-to-use website. How? A good UX design. When a website allows its users to easily locate the content that is relevant to them and bypass the rest, it doesn’t matter how much information it contains.
We recently had the privilege of working with The Climate Registry (TCR), a nonprofit organization that designs and operates greenhouse gas reporting programs all over the world and assists organizations in measuring and reporting their carbon usage. The information that TCR provides, such as toolkits, webinars, and best practices in reporting, is vital to helping its members manage and reduce their emissions. All of this information is accessible through their website. However, when TCR approached verynice, their website was complex and difficult to navigate, so it was not serving as the valuable resource it needed to be.
When a website contains an overwhelming amount of information that is not translating to its users (despite being very valuable)— this is where UX design comes to the rescue. To make sure users would easily find the content that TCR indented for them, we completely overhauled the site’s information architecture. This began with a conversation about the content itself, so we could gain at least the high-level understanding we needed to better organize it. It was also vital for us to understand the hierarchy of the information: What content would users need to access more frequently? Which was more specific?
Once we had a full grasp on the content and how each item was related, we created simple, clear design direction that reflects TCR’s focus reducing emissions and improving the climate. By using three levels of navigation, we were able to prioritize information according to users’ needs. This enabled TCR’s members to access their most needed content without having to sift through multiple, irrelevant pages first.
We were also able to implement an infographic to help members better understand their programs and benefits without having to sift through paragraphs of text. In areas that are particularly information-dense, serving multiple purposes, we recategorized information and made it searchable. For example, we created an easy to use search function for TCR's list of members, also organizing it alphabetically and by sector. In order to help organizations understand relevant government protocols more efficiently, we also organized the downloadable government protocol docs in reverse chronological order.
The Climate Registry website is just one example of how good UX design can be impactful beyond its direct effect on website users. A UX design that streamlined TCR’s academic, information-dense website, allowed them to better serve their members, helping them reduce emissions and be more transparent in their greenhouse gas reporting.