Information Architecture

About

The Automall of Champaign is a privately held used car dealership based in Champaign, Illinois which was in dire need of an overhaul of its website's Information Architecture (IA) at www.automallofcu.com.

Objective

As a graduate student under Stasa Milojevic for the course Z515 Information Architecture I found that dealership can leverage their location, years of experience and an excellent team of sales personnels to drive towards higher sales and an even better customer loyalty. Automall of Champaign plans to engage in social media marketing of which the website is going to be a central part and lead customer engagement in that direction. In order to achieve the afore mentioned objectives the following points will be instrumental in the pursuit:

  • The site should introduce the dealership and its business with different levels of granularity

  • The site should showcase dealership’s mission and a theme

  • The site should showcase the inventory of stock

  • The site should provide detailed information of the inventory

  • The site should provide option and assist with financing a purchase

  • The site should exhibit current discount and special sales

  • The site should host and showcase customer testimonials

  • The site should employ strategy for greater customer acquisition

  • The site should engage with the dealership over social media to benefit from social media marketing

  • The site should serve as a point of initiation of contact

  • The site should appeal to visual aesthetic of its prospective customers 

User Demographic

Champaign is city, under Champaign county, Illinois. Often it is referred to as Champaign-Urbana metropolitan area; which includes Urbana, its sister city or locally known as ‘twin city.’ The Champaign-Urbana metropolitan area is notable for housing the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign which is popular public university with student population of over 42000. It is also home to Parkland College of a student population of over 18,000. According to 2010 census Champaign city has a population of 81,055 and Urbana city, 41,250. 

 

The majority users of this site were Champaign residents as the resident were either a student or an employee of the university due to its proximity to the university and as shall be seen in the following demography figures: 

Personas

Drawing form the demographic above our ideal user would be a white male, single, aged around 25 years which is the city average, working at the University of Urbana-Champaign, pursuing his PhD given the high percentage of educational qualification beyond college degree and higher concentration of people working in the educational field. The less than national median income of $38, 348 would suggest an interest in buying a used car instead of a new one but having a keen eye for quality and a good deal. 

 

The above persona acts an example for the most common visitors of the site. They would vary in demographics but most other metrics will remain same such as residency of Champaign or Urbana city, their proximity to the university and the dealership. However there is also a secondary user: Student of University of Illinois. They are going to form another large portion of the prospective user group. 

Content Inventory

Drawing form the demographic above our ideal user would be a white male, single, aged around 25 years which is the city

  • The site uses Microsoft’s ASP.NET to populate its pages. It is dynamic in nature and hence populates a lot of html automatically as and when browsed by a user.

  • There has been a lack in the structure of the website. It could benefit from organization and needs a better taxonomy throughout the website.

  • The site is missing an accurate sitemap which it could have benefited from given its large inventory of cars.

  • The site has many levels but due to the use of a dynamic programming language penetrating beyond the third level was both challenging and not worthy as I found a lot of garbage or redundant files.

  • There are links in the website which are both internal and external. External links open a new window to display the link.