Overview

Resources for Researchers is a directory of NCI-supported tools and services for cancer researchers. Usability testing and user research showed that a former version of the database was in need of improved navigation and labeling and a refined content strategy. 

Screenshot of Resources for Researchers homepage showing search field and lists of terms to browse.
The homepage of Resources for Researchers accommodates different types of information seeking by allowing users to search by keyword or browse using two sets of terms.
Screenshot of Resources for Researchers showing selected filters on the left and results on the right.
Progressive search using filters allows users to narrow results.

Strategy

With a plan for hundreds of resources, a top-down navigation strategy would be cumbersome for users. I audited all resources in the database and worked with the product owner – a research scientist – to develop a faceted taxonomy that would allow for improved findability and discovery of resources. 

I designed the experience to allow for browsing by two key facets and progressive searching with filters, and I presented plans for the experience to clients. Records were searchable by keyword to accommodate a range of information seeking behaviors. Resource detail pages surfaced additional taxonomy terms to present contextual information about the resources in a consistent way. 

I designed a content workflow, including style guide, template, and intake process to support standardized word length and usage, along with editorial oversight of what content was included. 

After launch, I designed and moderated a card sort to gather insight that will improve taxonomy. 

Early prototype of search tool home page, developed in Axure, annotated with technical requirements.
Prototype of results page, annotated with technical requirements for search filtering behavior.

Results

Resources for Researchers was praised by NCI leadership, and NCI moved forward with a second phase of the project. In its pilot year, the site maintained steady traffic, collecting more than 14K visits. The tool averaged a 30% bounce rate and a 48% conversion rate.