Redesigning Dunro's categories IA

Redesigning Dunro's categories IA

About Dunro

Dunro is a popular location-based social network in Iran, it has more than 1 million local business data, and users can search their nearby venues listed under more than 300 categories. In this case study, I will share how I managed to restructure the categories and created a new information architecture to make navigation more straightforward and a better visual presentation that improved usability and helped our paid advertises on less popular categories.

The Challenge

The categories and subcategories structure in Dunro dated back to its first days of lunch, taken from an open governmental data source. It didn't have any mindful structure that valued the users' behavior mindsets.

For example, some users would try to find children doctors in the Medical category while others search for it in the Kids category.

That also affects our paid business customers' ads reachability who were trying to advertise themself in a better category's results.

My Role

As the senior product designer, I was responsible for conducting user research and analyzing the users' behavior using the categories. Then I explored solutions for the new layout, copywriting in Farsi, visual design, and evaluating the final design.

Design Process

The categories structure in Dunro was pretty untouched from the beginning. We knew that it's not the best for our users. We also had a low engagement in some categories. It was directly related to their position in the category list was affecting our paid advertising scheme. To find the exact problem and to tackle it, I used the below process:

1. Research

I used different user research methods to find out the problem.

1.1 Desk Research

Our analytical platform was a great starting point. I sorted out each category's performance in the navigation menu screen. We had a lower engagement with the lower parts of the list. Also, the performance of our ads inside the categories was pretty low.

1.2 Superusers feedbacks

We used the same category structure to add new business data, and our local moderators always complain about how the structure is not working, so we had a good starting point with their feedback.

1.s usability tests

I did a quick usability test inside the company. I was careful to select people with less interaction with the apps before. So I just started to do short interviews and tests with our sister company's people.
It was beneficial to find more in-depth problems in parts such as copywriting, unnecessary categories, etc.

2. Card Sorting

I conducted an online open card sorting test with the help of the Optimal Workshop. Since there were many items (more than 400), I decided to run four separate tests, each with around 100 items. I gathered brilliant insights from this series of tests. I created a new set of parent categories based on the test results. I also made duplicate subcategories in different places to cover the other users' mindsets.

3. Refining the structure

I started to refine and update the old categories (guilds) based on new data. In the previous years, we found out there are many 'new' business fields that are not fully covered by our current guilds. This data came from our customer support and our Super Users (volunteer administrators), so we had a list of needed categories and not applicable ones.
I also removed the upper-level categories (which were 14 then) to create another parent category structure later, and now we had more than 450 categories. I also tried to change most of the governmental language and turn them into a more friendly and humanized language.

4. Layout and Visual Explorations

I explored various styles for the icons, colors, and layout. The main goal was to make them visually detectable.

5. User Interface and Interactions

My hypothesis was to make them more distinguishable by having different colors for each parent category alongside the icons, changing the layout from the grid to a list, and using the shortest and simplest possible names for the parent categories.

I chose the List style to reduce the cognitive load, and I learned that users scroll more with this layout.

I picked the colors based on psychological and local research on the color and their meanings. I also used our experienced graphic designer on the marketing team to ensure my color picks. These colors will be shown on inner category levels and the primary color on that category's local business pages.

6. Dynamic category menus

Previously we had a static categories structure. Therefore quickly changing and reacting to the new needs took a long time on the technical side. I brought the idea to the team to have a changeable and dynamic technical structure. Although we have the new tested structure now, we needed to launch and see the feedback and quickly tweak it to fix any possible UX issues. So now we have a dashboard for managing the categories structure. It will also help us to give paid business customers more exposure based on their needs.


The results after the launch were quite positive. We had statistics showing the increase in engagement in all categories. Previously only the first 3-4 categories of the grid view had the most engagement rate, but now the others had a significant increase, the data looks more natural, we also collected the scroll event, and we saw that the scrolls increased, so the categories in the lower part of the list had their chance to be shown more than before.

We also had a decrease in time-on-screen on the menu by 30%, so people find their categories quicker than before. The change from the grid to the least shown its benefit.

After six months, we saw an increase in our paid advertisement revenue in the less popular categories screen.