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Your Opinion on Case Study Pages

One question that my team and I have been mulling over is the effectiveness of the in-depth case study pages. From user testing it appears that users have a scroll retention of about 4 frames, beyond that people get tired of scrolling. However, scouring the internet you'll find tons of long, in-depth case study pages. The ones on our website seem to get people to travel all the way to the bottom, however I don't feel they're quite in-depth enough.

The most in-depth digital case studies I've seen comes from a company called ELEKS. You can check out one here: http://eleks.com/case-studies/eleks-case

They take the time to break out virtually every aspect of their projects, but what I'm wondering is: Is it all in vein, or are they on to something? Is a user actually absorbing all of this information and flowing down the whole page, or are they dropping off relatively early?

What are your opinions / what have you taken away from user testing?

Sean Lee-Amies

I think that it's largely dependant on the type of visitors coming through to your site. If I was going to spend £10k on a website, this kind of information would be very, very useful to know as a client and perhaps just a random assortment of images wouldn't quite cut it.

The question you might want answered by usability is whether people feel they are left with a positive impression of the website proposition from the little they saw and skimmed in the case studies. If so, then the case studies are offering a basic level of positive support to your company although people are not reading them. I had a chance to see people in user testing expressing that a website was trustworthy because of a Visa ad in the page. Their logic was: "Visa wouldn't advertise with these guys if they were cowboys" although the website had no relations with Visa except that their banner was served by the ad network they were affiliated.

Secondly, it comes the question of relevance and positioning: can people find the case study that matches their own challenge? Would the case studies be better positioned as supporting content for the features pages? Would it be better to have snippets of several case studies that users could choose to put together and print as a personalised pack? Are case studies (in your demographics) used offline?

Lastly it comes the question of format. We can tell that you guys want to unleash the full potential of immersive content but unless some serious story-telling, infographics and creative writing are added to the mix to liven up things I don't think you will get any luckier with the traditional and predictable format of case studies.

Needless to say that the Teehan & Lax's link Tony shared is pretty much what I envisage. Did you notice that half-way through they are already giving you links to other articles in the site? I believe they understand people's interest would wear off after some time but the guys really managed to keep me hooked in the suspense (by the way I skimmed the whole thing).

With regards to Eleks, Jeff, I think they exercise the visual treatment application to case studies in principle, but the content is mostly process and deliverable porn. It is understandable that Eleks objective was to show they are independent and despite being a company that develops software, they can also do their website without stinking it with bad design, but I can see this better visiting their webpages than the case study about the same webpages.

Another thing that really annoys me as a UX architect is to see designs that follow/copy wireframe layouts: I would keep the sticky notes but the wireframes give the wrong impression to me who would be looking for the kind of creative mind that will spit on my wireframes and come up with innovative designs that just follow the information architecture I put together. Wireframes are there to die passing the baton to visual design.