Directing traffic to local business.
Small Business BC
Expertise in the world of UX.
The provincial and federal governments support the BC Marketplace initiative from Small Business BC, which provides an inspiring online space to search for small businesses in BC communities.
The previous platform was experiencing a variety of issues related to usability and performance. We recommended and actioned a series of UX improvements to make the site more appealing for businesses and useful for visitors.
Better UX leads to greater value.
After reviewing the previous marketplace platform in great detail, we applied best practices to improve the user experience and strengthen their value proposition. We focused on the interface updates to the navigation, homepage and regional pages.
The previous slide-out menu didn’t provide any context into how the website is organized and was coming up short in the desktop experience. We recommend a new menu organization that allows quick access to explore each region.
Making search more useful.
The search tool is one of the most important features of the marketplace directory. We prioritized this feature and incorporated WordPress’ upgraded search tool, Jetpack. By relocating the search to be front and center, the new site is in line with the approach of platforms like Airbnb, where search is absolutely vital to the experience.
But the search feature can’t do all the heavy lifting. Throughout the homepage, we highlight key categories to make the experience more explorable. This includes featured industries, businesses and stories about the entrepreneurs behind the scenes.
Design & Content
A new balanced design.
The new content approach balances the need to highlight various business types and regions without playing favourites. Practical filters and categorization guide users through the directory. We also improved the presentation of the benefits and features for listing businesses.
A big selling feature of the Marketplace is the focus on small local businesses. The revamped design structure puts these businesses at the forefront. By showcasing owners, local gift guides and timely featured content, we excited the value of the platform.
Rethinking the registration process.
We aimed to make the process for business listings more intuitive and less daunting. We recommended breaking out key information into a multi-step process to capture more business faster. We simplified the form fields and clearly presented the Marketplace’s main benefits at the beginning of the registration flow.
Once a business completes their listing, we prompt them to input additional info such as business hours and featured offers. This encourages businesses to return more often to update their profile.
Speedy and mobile-friendly.
With a new look, better-organized content and a streamlined registration process, we focused our attention on improving speed and mobile usability. We got to work fixing various usability issues and functional flaws. We improved the SEO by addressing broken links, redirects, outdated themes and unused plug-ins.
We also properly configured Google Analytics to create accurate time series reporting on clicks, page views, impressions, and searches.
As an experience design agency, we objectively view existing websites to recommend actionable changes that have an immediate impact. This was the case for BC Marketplace, where the user experience was degrading the platform’s overall value and appeal. Without reinventing the digital wheel, we were able to improve the site dramatically. We’d love to do the same for your site!