Cabela’s (and Cabelas.com) were merging with Bass Pro Shops. In preparation, the design team dove deep into various aspects of our site including persona-driven journey maps for various tasks, cart experience, check-out efficiency, and guest vs. logged-in flows. This case study is about our information architecture research.
Toni Rosati – Lead Researcher
Rich Warnaka – Design Manager
Mark Conde – Lead Designer
Cabela’s customers resonated with sorting products by activity (fishing, hunting, boating, etc.). However, Cabela’s offers so many products that either overlap multiple categories or do not fit into a sporting activity that users had a hard time coming up with a generalized structure for top level categories. Invariably, each user that completed a card sort activity had a “catch-all” folder for leftover items.
Our Tree Jack test showed that 3 out of 10 items often failed to be located where users expected them. I followed up with a First Click heatmap test to try to gather more information. It seems that with the user views the activity structure in terms of their own experiences and preferences, so a hunter will look for binoculars in hunting and a camper will look in camping. There is also a hot spot for people that will go directly to the “Bargain Bin” for products on sale only.
Some changes were made to the information architecture, but the top level structure did not change immediately. The research was submitted to Bass Pro Shops for review because it was ultimately their decision post-merger.
The research did uncover many minor mistakes throughout the site that were corrected.
Even though a major redesign was not triggered, I’m honored to have worked on the IA for a website that produces $1 Billion in revenue every year.