Northern Tool – Usability

The brief:

Northern Tool, offering a massive range of products, needed a usability overhaul to ensure users could find what they wanted with a minimum of fuss.

What I did:

  • Creation of a “visual language” giving users visual cues as to functions across the site, for example orange for links, red for higlighted areas.
  • Rework of the main navigation area to add weight to the page. The search function was also moved here to create a “one-stop” area for users to find information quickly.
  • Separation of functional areas visually and grouping “like” components to guide the user’s eye across the page.
  • Revision of body content to create a “funnel” effect through categories, from general categories through to specific items.

The results:

  • New Media Age selected Northern Tool as Site of the Week on 10 May, 2005, with the redesign scoring an impressive 83 out of 100.
  • The site now meets Level 2 of the Web Accessibility Initiative Guidelines set by the W3C consortium, in line with EU standards – a rarity among large B2C sites.

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