iVillage is the first of its kind: a dynamic media company dedicated exclusively to connecting women at every stage of their lives. To successfully monetize this unique brand perspective, one of the most lucrative market segments online, HUGE began with an extensive analysis that included a site-wide content audit, stakeholder interviews and user research.
The analysis revealed a robust, independently sustained community within the iVillage ecosystem. It quickly became apparent that making this community a chief focal point was paramount to the success of the redesign.
Over the next several months, HUGE worked closely with the iVillage team on branding, content strategy, interaction and visual design. Together, they identified the goal of leveraging the community feel from the message boards to elevate the experience, making it more attractive to both potential members and advertisers.
Mapping editorial content to the daily conversation posed both strategic and technical challenges. With literally thousands of message boards on every topic from politics to pregnancy, the taxonomy needed to remain extremely flexible, while page utility needed to drastically improve. HUGE wanted users to be able to find what they were looking for faster. The task of streamlining content within such a rigid infrastructure required dexterous planning and an intimate knowledge of the target audience by our research and design teams.
The solution would have to cater to the busy iVillager’s lifestyle while elevating her sense of community. HUGE conducted primary research with iVillage community members to inform the content strategy. Personal stories and photos were integrated with daily hot topics along with the ability to join any conversation instantly, in order to facilitate profound connections among peers and increase user engagement.
Following a brand discovery phase, HUGE developed a completely new brand identity system. The new iVillage brand would need to embody the personal experience of each woman in the iVillage community. Next, HUGE began rolling out an ambitious series of individual interest sites – defining the look and feel of an entire community, powered by iVillage. The goal was to make each vertical its own brand: a separate, yet linked-in destination. This strategy has increased the community-driven focus of each vertical, in turn increasing traffic across the entire iVillage network.
Following first releases of the site, the number of unique visitors was up 23 percent from a year earlier, to 21.4 million in June 2009, according to comScore. Based on the success of the 2009 releases, HUGE was hired to launch additional verticals for iVillage. Together, iVillage and HUGE continue to shape the way women use the web.