Expedia Developer Hub
Expedia Affiliate Network’s developer community is critical to the business. Over time, the primary resource for this community – the developer site – had become completely ineffective. Developers were unable to find the answers they needed, API status and notifications were being missed, and simple tasks like registering for an API key were exceptionally difficult.
The Expedia Affiliate Network developer site’s architecture and content had expanded organically to the point where it had become unwieldy and difficult to navigate. Updating the site required knowledge of Github and Markdown, access to Expedia's repositories, and publishing changes had to be synchronised with other deployments to Expedia’s servers.
With content designer Charlie Ranlett, I edited over a thousand pages and migrated several hundred to a new content management system, in the process revising the entire information architecture and delivering a fully-responsive site that put users (developers) first, right at the heart of the experience.
Metrics for Success
The site’s lack of clarity had led to increased phone calls to the help centre and a significant increase in support tickets. Our solution needed to reduce calls to support and the number of support tickets. Additionally, the solution needed to deliver a fully responsive, modern web experience, that allowed for custom styles, code insertions, properly formatted code snippets, etc.
Technical writer and editor, Charlie Ranlett, played a critical part to the success of the project by performing an extensive content audit of the existing site. Working together, we edited over a thousand pages of content. This often meant rewriting and combining sections for clarity and brevity. In the end, several hundred pages were migrated to the new CMS.
Information Architecture and User Testing
With the audit complete, I mapped the entirety of the site’s existing information architecture in order to identify commonalities and information groups, eventually leading to a prototype information architecture. I tested this with users (in this case, developers from both Hotels.com and partner sites) in a paper sorting exercise and a clickable prototype. Results of these sessions led to further revision and simplification of the proposed architecture.
Having completed the content audit and new information architecture, I researched delivery methods including building a brand new web application, tied to an open-source CMS. Given the needs of the users and the urgency of the project, I determined that building a new application was not viable, and instead proposed an off-the-shelf, consumer solution.
I flew to Seattle to work side by side with Charlie for a week. Over those five days, we migrated in upwards of 90% of the content. In that time, I also established the visual design patterns and their styles to align with Expedia’s brand guidelines. Once back in London, I coordinated with Charlie to set up 301 redirects and ensure that the site had been rigorously tested.
All told, the entire project took less than a calendar month, from start to finish.
decrease in support calls
decrease in support tickets
decrease in bounce rate
increase in time on site
Additionally, the solution removed a critical issue with the Developer Hub. Editors can now publish updates instantly. Previously, all updates had to coincide with Expedia’s scheduled deployments. Editors also required an extensive knowledge of HTML, CSS, Markdown and Github. The new platform’s WYSIWYG editing interface means that updates are quick and easy, timely and don’t require specialised knowledge.