Information Architecture Improvements

Problem statement

Coaches, parents and riders were having a hard time finding the information they needed on the Colorado HS MTB League website


Coaches and parents whose children are members of the Colorado HS MTB League.

  • Coaches use the league website for resources, forms and training materials.
  • Parents and riders use the league website to access race information and results and access and fill out necessary forms.

Colorado High School MTB League Site

Original League Website


I was part of a team of UX Researchers who each donated ~20 hours of time for a research project improving the League’s information architecture on their primary website. I conducted preliminary interviews and ran and analyzed the card sorting activity. I also wrote and presented on the card sort to the product owner, the head of the Colorado High School MTB League.


The research effort took place over three stages.

I. Initial interviews to develop hypothesis

I conducted an initial interview with the League’s director and website designer. Through this we determined the primary users of the site were coaches, parents and riders. The director and designer believed the primary issue for users was finding information they needed to successfully participate in the league.

Other team members conducted preliminary structured interviews with users to learn more about how they typically used the site and what their main goals were when using the site.

Interview Synthesis Framework

Framework for analyzing initial interviews

These interviews confirmed that users were having difficulty accessing information, that the site was challenging to use on mobile, and that users most often were looking for information related to upcoming races.

II. Survey and Card Sort Activity

Based on the fact that users struggle to find information, we decided to conduct a card sort. This would allow us to get user input on how best to group and categorize the diverse information on the site.

We analyzed the existing website and created a list of 31 primary information buckets based on existing menu options and additional site content.

We initially planned to do an open card sort, but the product owner preferred a hybrid option. We conducted a hybrid card sort with 31 options. This was sent to 141 coaches, parents and riders on the League’s email list. Of this group, 83 completed the exercise and survey questions.

III. Data Analysis & Report

The card sort results were more mixed than we desired. We interpreted this as stemming from the fact that the site has a lot of disparate information, so users had a hard time categorizing some of it.

Even so, several key category groupings emerged. Users grouped race day information, information for coaches, and information for riders in distinct buckets.

We included several survey questions along with the card sort to gather information about how the users participating in the card sort identified themselves (coaches, riders, parents) and any additional feedback they had about the site.

Based on these results, we made the following recommendations:

I. Update your main menu structure to match the recommendations from the card sort. Coaches and parents currently affiliated with the organization find it difficult to navigate the website because there is a lot of content and it is not organized in a way that fits their mental models.

  • Race Day
  • Coach Resources
  • Rider Resources
  • Support the League
  • League Overview

II. Add a race day menu to your top level navigation to enable users to quickly access this content. The primary use case for the site is accessing race information, so this solves the problem of users being unable to find this information.

III. Reformat visuals so that they are smaller but will drive user interaction on the website. Users have to scroll for too long to find vital information on the site.

IV. Prioritize content for specific channels and consider removing some website content that is infrequently accessed or could be shared via other channels such as the newsletter or social media. Use Google Analytics to support in identifying infrequently accessed content.