iVillage

iVillage is the daily destination for women, with horoscopes, health and pregnancy information, message boards and blogs, celebrity gossip, beauty and more.

21.4 million

Visits to iVillage.com in June 2009. Following its first new release in June 2009, iVillage’s unique visitor count was up by 23 percent compared to the same time in 2008.

ivillage.com

NBC asked HUGE to comprehensively overhaul the iVillage digital strategy and restore it to its rightful place as the world’s most active community for women.

The right community strategy

iVillage is the first of its kind: a dynamic media company dedicated exclusively to connecting women at every stage of their lives. To successfully monetize this unique brand perspective, one of the most lucrative market segments online, HUGE began with an extensive analysis that included a site wide content audit, stakeholder interviews and user research.

iVillage Screen Shot

The analysis revealed a robust, independently sustained community within the iVillage ecosystem. It quickly became apparent that making this community a chief focal point was paramount to the success of the redesign. Over the next several months, HUGE worked closely with the iVillage team on branding, content strategy, interaction and visual design. Together, they identified the goal of leveraging the community feel from the message boards to elevate the experience, making it more attractive to both potential members and advertisers.

"We had a very passionate and loyal audience base who had been underserved for a good couple years," said Lauren Zalaznick, president of the NBC division that oversees iVillage. The new site, said Zalaznick, will "serve them original content in a vibrant modern aesthetic."

Scalable content strategy

Mapping editorial content to the daily conversation posed both strategic and technical challenges. With literally thousands of message boards on every topic from politics to pregnancy, the taxonomy needed to remain extremely flexible, while page utility needed to drastically improve. HUGE wanted users to be able to find what they were looking for faster. The task of streamlining content within such a rigid infrastructure required dexterous planning and an intimate knowledge of the target audience by our research and design teams.

The solution would have to cater to the busy iVillager’s lifestyle while elevating her sense of community. HUGE conducted primary research with iVillage community members to inform the content strategy. Personal stories and photos were integrated with daily hot topics along with the ability to join any conversation instantly, in order to facilitate profound connections among peers and increase user engagement.

Building A vertical network

Following a brand discovery phase, HUGE developed a completely new brand identity system. The new iVillage brand would need to embody the personal experience of each woman in the iVillage community.

Next, HUGE began rolling out an ambitious series of individual interest sites – defining the look and feel of an entire community, powered by iVillage. The goal was to make each vertical its own brand: a separate, yet linked-in destination. This strategy has increased the community-driven focus of each vertical, in turn increasing traffic across the entire iVillage network.

iVillage Entertainment
iVillage Entertainment features the hottest and most SEO-worthy stories. Each lead story feature directly asks each user to contribute their opinion about what’s happening, creating a dynamic conversation from the start. iVillagers can easily delve right into the latest news, watch videos, and discuss the day’s most popular topics.
iVillage Food
Most food sites on the web are recipe-based, overlooking that one of the best parts about cooking is sharing the experience: the discovery of new techniques and skills. HUGE used that as the basis for the iVillage Food site, allowing iVillagers to share their stories, give and receive recipe feedback, and get tips from other women, establishing a unique community unlike any other food site on the net.
iAstrology.com by iVillage
HUGE launched the iVillage Astrology site with an innovative new strategy aimed at making the often stale daily horoscope a fun new platform that invites users to return daily. Visitors are immediately invited to personalize their own page with features on mood, readings, numerology, and horoscopes, according to their own interests. This customization upends the sometimes vague notion of astrology and instead establishes a genuine kinship with iVillage members.

A turnaround story

Following first releases of the site, the number of unique visitors was up 23 percent from a year earlier, to 21.4 million in June 2009, according to comScore. Based on the success of the 2009 releases, HUGE was hired to launch additional verticals for iVillage. Look for "Beauty & Style," "Home & Garden," "Pregnancy & Parenting" and more in 2010. Together, iVillage and HUGE continue to shape the way women use the web.