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Gavekal Research

Transforming Gavekal Research's Digital Strategy and Design


  • Strategy
  • Web Design
  • UX Research


In 2021, Gavekal Research, an independent financial research firm that provides in-depth analysis and insights on global macroeconomic trends, investment strategy, and market intelligence, sought Usman Group’s expertise to revamp their website design, inspired by Usman Group’s successful collaboration with the Chicago Sun Times. The objective was to create a modern, user-centric website that would enhance the user experience, drive subscription services, facilitate content sharing, and optimize mobile accessibility.

The Challenge

Gavekal faced several challenges that necessitated a website redesign:

a) Editorial Team:
During the initial sessions with Gavekal Research’s editorial team, it was identified that their landing pages were not utilizing space effectively. The team wanted a new layout that allowed for wider use of space and presented their findings in a more engaging and visually appealing way. Additionally, as the target audience consisted mainly of institutional clients like asset managers, fund managers and individual investors who consumed large volumes of content daily, the website needed to offer a seamless reading experience that facilitated quick information absorption. Furthermore, Gavekal Research monetized their services through a subscription model, which posed the challenge of increasing subscription sign-ups while discouraging content sharing, as the paywalled content held significant value.

b) Sales Team:
Similarly, sessions with Gavekal Research’s sales team revealed their desire for distinctive landing pages and improved navigational flexibility. The team aimed to reduce the number of clicks required to access specific sections or pages, as the previous website had a somewhat cumbersome user journey. Communicating Gavekal Research’s core service lines—research, money management, and software services—without confusing the users was another key objective. The sales team also emphasized the need for a more skimmable article experience, as the content often featured dense financial information. Moreover, they wanted to move away from the abundance of stock photography and focus on using graphics that gracefully added value to the articles.

Our Approach

Through a series of zoom sessions (across various international time zones) with Gavekal Research's editorial and sales teams, Usman Group gained a deeper understanding of their needs and requirements. These sessions also involved other key internal stakeholders, including web developers familiar with the Django platform on which the website was built. By immersing the client in the design process, Usman Group ensured acceptance and alignment with our vision.

The website underwent a complete visual and functional overhaul, establishing a fresh and modern identity that resonated with the target audience. Landing page layouts were redesigned to optimize space utilization and effectively present research findings, enhancing information density and engagement. Typography choices were refined to improve readability and create a pleasant mobile experience.

We significantly improved the search functionality, enabling users to easily filter and find relevant content through a user-friendly interface. The new design led to increased subscription sign-ups and attracted more users to avail of free research trials. Distinctive landing pages, improved navigation, and focused communication of core services met the objectives of Gavekal Research’s sales team. Graphics were thoughtfully incorporated, enhancing the article-reading experience by adding value to the content.

The visually appealing homepage provided an overview of the website’s offerings, guiding users to specific sections. Customization options allowed logged-in users to tailor their content preferences, creating a more personalized user journey. The credibility of Gavekal Research was emphasized through the showcasing of media mentions using carefully curated logos. Videos were made easily accessible, enticing users to sign up for exclusive content. The internal search experience was significantly enhanced with advanced search features and intuitive filtration options.

Overall, Usman Group’s comprehensive approach successfully delivered a transformative digital strategy and design solution. The new website design improved user experience, increased subscription services, facilitated content sharing, and optimized content presentation across platforms, aligning with Gavekal Research’s goals and catering to the needs of their asset manager audience.

We had a great experience working with Usman Group on our website redesign project. They delivered all the required web pages, provided thorough documentation, and showcased their dedication to achieving an excellent end result. The workflow was highly effective, with responsive communication and a streamlined process. Read The Full Review
Tomas Wilk

Editor and Web Producer

The Outcome

Usman Group addressed the challenges faced by Gavekal Research through a comprehensive set of solutions. We modified landing page layouts to increase information density and scalability, optimized typography choices for enhanced readability, and redesigned the search experience with advanced filtering options. Additionally, we enhanced authors' profile pages, streamlined the user journey from daily newsletters to article details, and implemented content categorization using tags and previews to entice users to sign up.

The collaboration between Gavekal Research and Usman Group yielded valuable insights and lessons that can guide future endeavors:

User-Centric Design:
Understanding the needs and preferences of the target audience is essential for creating a user-centric design. By involving key stakeholders in the design process and conducting thorough discovery sessions, Usman Group gained valuable insights that informed their design decisions.

Balancing Content Monetization and Sharing:
In industries where content monetization is vital, striking a balance between increasing subscription sign-ups and facilitating content sharing can be challenging. Usman Group’s approach of providing previews or free content as a way to entice users while maintaining valuable paywalled content proved effective in achieving this balance.

Responsive and Mobile Optimization:
In an increasingly mobile-driven world, ensuring a seamless and enjoyable mobile experience is crucial. Usman Group’s focus on mobile optimization and typography choices helped enhance readability and accessibility across devices, catering to the needs of Gavekal Research’s asset manager audience.

Effective Search Functionality:
Improving the search experience by incorporating advanced filtering options and intuitive navigation significantly enhances user satisfaction. Usman Group’s redesign of the search functionality addressed this, allowing users to easily find relevant content and explore related topics.

Moving forward, we recommended:

  • Regularly gathering user feedback and conducting usability testing to continuously refine and improve the website’s design and functionality.
  • Analyzing website analytics and user behavior data to gain insights into user preferences, engagement patterns, and content performance.
  • Exploring opportunities for personalization and customization to further enhance the user experience and tailor content recommendations based on individual preferences.
  • Staying updated with the latest industry trends and technological advancements to ensure the website remains innovative and competitive.
  • By embracing these practices and remaining attentive to user needs, Gavekal Research can continue to evolve their digital strategy and design to meet the dynamic demands of the financial research industry.

Using our comprehensive approach, Usman Group successfully delivered a transformative digital strategy and design solution to Gavekal Research. The new website design improved user experience, increased subscription services, facilitated content sharing, and optimized content presentation across various platforms.