W.W. Norton & Company

W. W. Norton & Company, the oldest and largest publishing house owned wholly by its employees, strives to carry out the imperative of its founder to “publish books not for a single season, but for the years” in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, college textbooks, cookbooks, art books and professional books.

The website of this major book publisher suffered from 17 different navigation systems and five diverse and separate audiences. Because the segments were so vastly different — students and teachers, professionals and trade purchasers — it was a particular challenge to understand how each of the separate audience thought about their primary tasks. What kind of nomenclature do they use? How do they go about the process of researching and ordering a book?

Card sorting exercises with Norton stakeholders and audience members

I conducted two weeks of stakeholder interviews ranging from the CEO to the customer service representatives in the warehouses. After an understanding of the stakeholders, I conducted studies with each user group to evaluate structure and expectations for nomenclature. My challenge was to understand the needs and patterns of each separate audience in order to recommend an information architecture that might bring all pathways and users under one simple user experience.

Redesigned Norton homepage, eliminating disparate navigation systems

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  • W.W.Norton & Company
  • Eye Magazine
  • Theme Magazine
  • Maryland Institute of College Art

About Liz

Danzico is part designer, part educator, and full-time dog owner. She traces the roots of her craft back to her parents. According to Liz, "Growing up at least a little information architect gave me an organizational advantage over my friends.” More