Evolving with the Times: Dice.com
The Dice homepage was struggling. It was in dire need of a redesign, and so I was asked to bring it up to speed. This is the story of how I designed a new homepage that technologists would love.
I acted as UX Designer alongside our Senior UI Designer, Chris.
• Increase profile registration
• Increase job applications
• Increase MQLs
• Increase “Insights” Visits
• Decrease Bounce Rates
The Dice.com homepage was...not exactly the place to be, especially if you are creating a job marketplace specifically for tech professionals. Check it out:
1. First, there was the issue of what was known internally as The Big Blue Banner. It was there for B2B purposes because Dice had not yet developed a B2C website. Marketing needed a way to catch leads, and so...we got the oddly designed Big Blue Whale.
2. Next, there was the hero image, which was oddly cropped. This is the sort of picture that says nothing other than "meetings", which was not the brand voice that Dice wanted to portray.
3. In the middle of the page, there was a Tech News section that was oddly aligned with the rest of the page. Moreoever, it seemed odd that, as a job board for tech professionals, the Tech News section came before the Dice value props and features. The value props seemed buried or hidden.
4. The product images associated with the value props were out of date. Moreover, the design of this page itself seemed out of whack with the rest of the page.
5. Finally, our B2B customers had two non-descript CTAs here near the bottom of the screen. In terms of placement on a B2C page, this makes some sense; but in terms of active design decisions, this seemed to be an afterthought.
There was so much work to be done! My design partner and I began with a few research entry points so that we could better understand how to create the best homepage experience on the Information Superhighway.
Competitive Analysis, Stakeholder Interviews, and Research
I did a quick competitive analysis to determine what features our competitors were prioritizing in their design. I also looked at what I consider "best-in-class" homepages for luxary brands (such as Herman Miller, Mercedes Benz, Audi, etc.).
I also helped to create a user interview script and helped conduct stakeholder interviews with senior leaders. Specifically, we framed our questions around Dice's re-invention: who we are, how we want to present ourselves (in terms of branding and feel), and how we might consider creating a marketplace that tech professionals would want to engage with.
Click below if you'd like to look at my interview script:
Because we received a ton of useful feedback from our interviews, we decided to create an affinity map to discern some higher-level categories:
After this, we decided to see how our higher-level categories squared with the requirements we were given by project stakeholders at our project kick-off (specifically surrounding which features were necessary on the page). Cross referencing those helped us understand which features we might want to actually prioritize:
Clarifying the Problem and Defining Opportunities
One critical desire emerged in the research process: stakeholders wanted to frame the Dice homepage in welcome nomenclature. They wanted to rebuild trust for some of the failures of stakeholders past, who allows recruiters to run roughshod over tech workers and job seekers. And because Dice was moving away from a job board paradigm and into a marketplace ecosystem model, there was a real hunger to appeal to a new generation of tech workers, both visually and through messaging.
Sketching and Messaging
Because messaging and content seemed to be a big part of how we would communicate Dice's evolution, we ideated around the idea of taglines with two fellow designers and our dedicated researcher:
We also cross-referenced this tagline messaging with the research we had done earlier. From there we began to sketch the homepage with a specific aim toward creating elements that created that visual and semantic trust. We asked: how could we show our cards -- how could we display the best of what Dice is and what it's aiming to be -- while also communicating a sense of trust?
Wireframes and User Testing
We also wanted to incorporate work done to modernize the entire Dice ecosystem, what we internally called "Dice Revolution". Because of various tech constraints, we could not switch over the Revolution right away; instead, we incorporated some of those visual design elements here at the "Evolution" level. We also began thinking about microanimations and how they might play a part in the user experience:
Our user testing (via UserTesting.com) focused on layout, but it keyed in specifically on how the design layout and the messaging created a sense of trust with the user. We tested tech professionals between the ages of 18-55. When it came to user testing questions such as, "Does this messaging and layout build a sense a trust with you?" and "Does this seem like the type of service you would want to use?", we found a strong sense of positivity and coziness -- the design was fostering a sense of confidence among users.
Hi-fi Wireframes and low-fi mock-ups
With user testing in hand, we iterated the designs and began playing with the hero text. Because many of us in the tech industry got into tech because we wanted to be a positive force on the direction of the world, we thought it would be cool to emphasize that sort of altruism in the hero image. We came up with the idea of a slot-machine spinner that showed various tech positions and that was also paired with a bold invitation.
We also began crafting those page animations, and we turned our attention to finding inclusive hero images of tech professionals at work.
We were also not satisfied with the messaging. We were looking for something punchier and warmer. That's when I came up with the following: instead of tech jobs, a play on words might suffice ("Design / Engineer / Develop Your World" vs. "Python? CSS? Etc...") with the invitation to "Set your tech career in motion with Dice":
We also landed on Dice's value props and how they squared with business needs, user research, and the need to build trust.
Mockups & Quantitative Measurement
After two stakeholder design reviews and multiple iterations on messaging, images, animations, and layout, we arrived on the following layout:
We had to tinker with the "slot machine spinner" timing with one of our senior devs, who was a champion for our ideas from the get-go. We also had an ask (at the last minute!) from the Marketing team that we somehow point B2B customers toward the employer page. But two months after launch, we found that user interaction and business KPIs (on the candidate and employer sides) were way up! One of DHI's investors wrote us (totally unprompted) to say how impressed he was with the new site, and that it signaled a strong way into a new future for Dice.com.
Click below to check out the site for yourself!
Unfortunately, I have only one month of post-release data. It looks like this:
Two weeks: +9%
Four weeks: +14%
Increase Job Applies*
Two weeks: +3%
Four weeks: +4%
Two weeks: -4%
Four weeks: -12%
Increase Insights (News) Visits:
Two weeks: +24%
Four weeks: +18%
Decrease Bounce Rates
Two weeks: +16 seconds
Four weeks: +12 seconds
*I had a few conversations about this with my manager. I believed (and still do!) that we were possibly falling into the causation fallacy by using job applies as a tool for measuring a homepage's usefulness. The two might have a causal relationship, but because they are separated by so many actions, it's difficult to measure what, exactly, that relationship is.
**As I anticipated, the MQLs dipped after we took away the Big Blue Whale (or the blue strip at the top of the old homepage, which can be seen in one of the first images above). Because of the dip in metrics here, and because Dice did not have a B2B homepage ready to roll, we had to bring back the Whale.