tag:econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/web-design Latest Design content from Econsultancy 2018-06-12T09:32:09+01:00 tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/70084 2018-06-12T09:32:09+01:00 2018-06-12T09:32:09+01:00 Considering colour blindness in UX design (with five examples) Lizzy Hillier <p>Although sizeable advances have been made in assistive equipment and software, many websites contain design flaws that hinder simple and engaging user experience. With equality and accessibility at the forefront of the minds of countless businesses, why is their online presence sometimes at odds with this ideal?</p> <p><a href="http://www.colourblindawareness.org/colour-blindness/">Statistics from Colour Blind Awareness</a> indicate that colour blindness affects 8% of males and 0.5% of females globally, with around 2.7 million of those living in the UK. This is a surprisingly large percentage of the population whose needs are frequently overlooked, impacting their ability to interact with numerous online resources such as maps, charts, online booking forms and general web navigation.</p> <p>I was foolishly unaware of just how prevalent this visual impairment really was until I met my partner, who has­ a rare blue-yellow form of colour blindness (Tritanopia), and my sister’s partner, who has a more common red-green type (Deuteranopia). Owing to this, I have found myself more mindful, as a designer, of the colour combinations I use and their effect on those who cannot distinguish the full spectrum we often take for granted.</p> <p>Thanks to campaigns such as <a href="http://www.colourblindawareness.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/1ineveryclassroom-press-release-Final.pdf">#1ineveryclassroom</a> and criticism of <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/media/2016/jul/28/bbc-colour-blind-people-election-complaints?CMP=twt_gu">the BBC's 2015 general election coverage</a>, awareness of colour blindness has somewhat improved, with more consideration taken during the design process of video games, classroom materials, on- and offline infographics, websites and many more.</p> <p>New tools have been developed that enable digital designers to view their creations as a colour blind individual would perceive them. These tools range from software and web browser plug-ins to desktop apps, which I will touch upon later in this article. However, despite the array of test simulations now available, some continue to slip through the net. Below are a few examples: </p> <h3>Online booking forms</h3> <p>Having assisted my partner with the navigation of several online booking platforms in the past, this appears to be a common UX problem. The below combination of lime green and lemon yellow featured on the Victoria &amp; Albert Museum's booking site does not provide enough contrast for a red-green colour blind user to easily interact with.</p> <p>Unfortunately, a simple matter of colour choice like this consequentially risks conversion rates, particularly in the context of a booking form. Unclear colouration has the potential to prevent securing conversions, as frustrated colour blind customers may simply abandon the booking process altogether.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Hi <a href="https://twitter.com/V_and_A?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@V_and_A</a>, your ticketing website is very unfriendly to <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/colourblind?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#colourblind</a> users. Please consider fixing it <a href="https://t.co/4zmtm4weZB">pic.twitter.com/4zmtm4weZB</a></p> — ☞Ⓖⓐⓡⓨ Ⓟⓐⓡⓚⓔⓡ☜ (@WiteWulf) <a href="https://twitter.com/WiteWulf/status/914825089463590917?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">2 October 2017</a> </blockquote> <p><strong>Normal colour vision:</strong></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/5160/VA_nv.png" alt="V&amp;A Booking Form - Normal Vision" width="615" height="186"></p> <p><strong>Red-blind protanopia:</strong></p> <p> <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/5161/VA_rb.png" alt="V&amp;A Booking Form - Red-Blind Vision" width="615" height="186"></p> <p><strong>Green-blind deuteranopia:</strong></p> <p>  <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/5162/VA_gb.png" alt="V&amp;A Booking Form - Green-Blind Vision" width="615" height="186"></p> <h3>Interactive maps</h3> <p>Interactive maps are useful and informative tools used to track (often in real-time) changes in traffic, weather and lots more. However, they are not always designed with colour-blind users in mind. Let’s take this <a href="http://www.mapping.cityoflondon.gov.uk/geocortex/mapping/?viewer=streetworks">map from the City of London</a> as an example, which allows individuals to check severe (red), moderate (yellow) and minor (green) delays in their area caused by roadworks.</p> <p>The vertically stacked design of traffic lights aids colour-blind drivers to identify a command through the position, rather than colouration, of the lights. Why, then, use the same three colours on this muddled map?</p> <p><strong>Normal colour vision:</strong></p> <p> <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/5163/Map_nv.png" alt="Map - Normal Vision" width="615" height="430"></p> <p><strong>Red-blind protanopia:</strong></p> <p><strong><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/5164/Map_rb.jpg" alt="Map - Red-Blind Vision" width="615" height="430"></strong></p> <p><strong>Green-blind deuteranopia:</strong></p> <p><strong><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/5165/Map_gb.jpg" alt="Map - Green-Blind Vision" width="615" height="430"></strong></p> <p><strong>Blue-blind tritanopia:</strong></p> <p> <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/5166/Map_bb.jpg" alt="Map - Blue-Blind Vision" width="615" height="430"></p> <p>Contrasting symbols (e.g. smiley/neutral/sad faces) would be more user-friendly in this instance. Using alternative colours would probably confuse the remaining ~92% of users who have come to associate green with ‘good’, yellow with ‘OK’ and red with ‘bad’. </p> <h3>Social media</h3> <p>If you suffer from protanopia or deuteranopia (forms of red-green colour blindness), you might have some trouble using Twitter, as Jason Baldridge found out:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Hey <a href="https://twitter.com/Twitter?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Twitter</a> @support: I'm colorblind and can't see whether I've favorited a post when looking just at that post. (It's clear on timeline.)</p> — Jason Baldridge (@jasonbaldridge) <a href="https://twitter.com/jasonbaldridge/status/861276096209104896?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">7 May 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>This proves how even the most well-established and widely used websites and apps fall short when catering for the colour-blind. Although this example does not interfere with more important actions such as completing a transaction or reading infographics, it certainly makes for a frustrating user experience.</p> <p><strong>Normal colour vision:</strong></p> <p><strong><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/5168/Twitter_nv.png" alt="Twitter - Normal Colour Vision" width="292" height="340"></strong></p> <p><strong>Red-blind protanopia:</strong></p> <p><strong><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/5169/Twitter_rb.png" alt="Twitter - Red-Blind Vision" width="292" height="340"></strong></p> <p><strong>Green-blind deuteranopia:</strong></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/5170/Twitter_gb.png" alt="Twitter - Green-Blind Vision" width="292" height="340"></p> <h3>Infographics and charts</h3> <p>An example highlighted by <a href="http://wearecolorblind.com/example/bbc-online-football-tables/">WeAreColorblind</a> shows how confusing infographics can be when the designer relies solely on colour to represent variables. The below table was captured in 2012 from the BBC Sport football tables, and presents the latest results match by match (green=win, grey=draw, red=loss).</p> <p><strong>Normal colour vision:</strong></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/5173/football_nv.png" alt="Premier League Table 2012 - Normal Vision" width="615" height="303"></p> <p>Now let’s take a look at how colour-blind users perceive the table.</p> <p><strong>Red-blind protanopia:</strong></p> <p><strong><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/5174/football_rb.png" alt="Premier League Table 2012 - Red-Blind Vision" width="615" height="303"></strong></p> <p><strong>Green-blind deuteranopia:</strong></p> <p><strong><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/5175/football_gb.png" alt="Premier League Table 2012 - Green-Blind Vision" width="615" height="303"></strong></p> <p><strong>Blue-blind tritanopia:</strong></p> <p>Although it is certainly easier for a tritanope to distinguish between win and loss, the grey ‘draw’ shade is still a bit too similar ‘win’ to read the table effortlessly.</p> <p><strong><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/5176/football_bb.png" alt="Premier League Table 2012 - Blue-Blind Vision" width="615" height="303"></strong></p> <h3>Don't rely solely on colour in UX</h3> <p>When designing UX for accessibility, it is important to adopt multiple identifiers for any given variable, especially when it comes to infographics and charts. As a result, those with normal colour vision will typically interpret information via colour association, and those with colour blindness via corresponding numbers, letters or symbols instead.</p> <p>… Just make sure you can discern between the symbols you use!</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Time to take pot luck on the strength of the chilli in my lunch. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/HungryHorse?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#HungryHorse</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/colourblind?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#colourblind</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/1in12?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#1in12</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/colourblindorg?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@colourblindorg</a> <a href="https://t.co/qYHEGSLk8x">pic.twitter.com/qYHEGSLk8x</a></p> — Phillip (@PhiIIipBlackman) <a href="https://twitter.com/PhiIIipBlackman/status/988762602925895681?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">24 April 2018</a> </blockquote> <p>It is encouraging to see that BBC Sport has since added lettering to its table to enhance legibility for both colour-blind users and those with normal colour vision. Customer experience is as much about being heard as it is about usability, and after being notified of the issue BBC Sport has adapted its design accordingly.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/5171/PL_table_2018.png" alt="BBC Sport 2018 Premier League Table" width="615" height="517"></p> <p><strong>Where it is not practical to use symbols, consider:</strong> </p> <ul> <li>Adding texture (e.g. hatching) to differentiate sections of an interactive chart or table. </li> <li>Resizing and/or relocating call to action buttons to ensure they still seize attention, regardless of its brightly coloured background.</li> <li>Using a distinctive border to highlight an active item on a navigation bar.</li> </ul> <h3>When using colour in UX, consider the contrast</h3> <p>When designing a website or UX platform, be mindful of the contrast between various elements onscreen. This is particularly important when it comes to text placed on backgrounds. If important information is illegible on screen, you will alienate any colour-blind individuals as they will not be able to navigate your website properly. Bear in mind that weight and emphasis (italic, bold etc) are also factors that affect the amount of contrast between a type and its background colour.</p> <p>Try to avoid certain colour combinations in your design: red &amp; green, green &amp; blue, blue &amp; purple and green &amp; brown are a few of the most troublesome. If you are unsure about a colour combination you have chosen, implement one of the simulation tools below to check.</p> <p>It is acknowledged that the best colour contrast ratios are 7:1 (normal text) or 4:5:1 (large text). Further contrast guidelines can be found via <a href="https://www.w3.org/TR/UNDERSTANDING-WCAG20/visual-audio-contrast-contrast.html">via W3C</a>.</p> <h3>Colour-blindness tools for designers</h3> <ol> <li> <a href="https://userway.org/contrast-checker">Userway Contrast Checker</a>. Select both a background and a text colour and this tool will tell you if they pass AA &amp; AAA colour contrast requirements.</li> <li> <a href="http://colororacle.org/">Color Oracle</a> is a free desktop colour-blindness simulator compatible with Windows, Linux &amp; Mac.</li> <li> <a href="https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/nocoffee/jjeeggmbnhckmgdhmgdckeigabjfbddl">No Coffee</a> is a Chrome and Firefox add-on which can simulate many forms of visual impairment including colour-blindness.</li> <li> <a href="https://helpx.adobe.com/uk/photoshop/using/proofing-colors.html?origref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.co.uk%2F">Guide to Soft-Proofing for Adobe CC Software</a>. Most Adobe design software is now able to simulate red-green forms of colour-blindness.</li> <li> <a href="http://www.color-blindness.com/coblis-color-blindness-simulator/">Coblis Simulator</a>. This old-school simulator lets you upload an image and cycle between different types of colour-blindness, which is excellent for checking standard graphics.</li> <li> <a href="https://betterfigures.org/2015/06/23/picking-a-colour-scale-for-scientific-graphics/">BetterFigures</a> have created some useful guidelines on how to pick better colours for scientific graphics.</li> </ol> <p>Have you used any useful colour-blindness simulation tools? Let us know which ones in the comments below!</p> <p><em><strong>More on accessibility:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67751-it-s-time-to-make-web-accessibility-integral-to-your-project-lifecycle">It's time to make web accessibility integral to your project lifecycle</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64846-five-quick-checks-for-your-website-s-accessibility">Five quick checks for your website's accessibility</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68808-uk-retailers-still-failing-to-meet-web-accessibility-standards">UK retailers still failing to meet web accessibility standards</a></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:Report/4812 2018-06-06T10:00:00+01:00 2018-06-06T10:00:00+01:00 Digital Intelligence Briefing: 2018 Digital Trends in Financial Services <p>The <strong>2018 Digital Trends in Financial Services </strong>report is a barometer of the extent to which financial services and insurance (FSI) organisations are embracing digital technology, focusing their strategies and prioritising resources for the year ahead and beyond.</p> <p>The report is based on a sample of almost 700 senior industry leaders (manager level or above) who were among around 13,000 digital professionals taking part in the annual Digital Trends survey.</p> <h3>The following sections are featured in the report:</h3> <ul> <li>The CX imperative: meeting the fintech challenge</li> <li>Data, personalisation and AI</li> <li>Capabilities, skills and budgets</li> <li>Actionable tips to help future-proof your FSI business</li> </ul> <h3>Findings include:</h3> <ul> <li> <strong>FSI companies maintain focus on customer experience (CX) </strong><strong>and the customer journey. </strong>More than a quarter (28%) of FSI respondents rank optimising the CX as the ‘single most exciting opportunity’ in 2018, compared to 18% of their peers across all other sectors. They are also significantly more likely than their peers to regard customer journey optimisation as ‘very important’ over the next few years (81% for FSI vs. 69% for other sectors).</li> </ul> <ul> <li> <strong>Organisations in this sector are neglecting content as a key requirement in the recipe for creating compelling experiences.</strong> FSI companies are less inclined than their peers in other sectors to cite the creation of compelling content for digital experiences as the top opportunity for the year ahead (7% vs. 15%). Content marketing, content management, and creation and delivery of video content are also relatively off-radar as priorities for FSI companies, when compared with those outside of the industry.</li> </ul> <ul> <li><strong>FSI industry seeks to master data-driven marketing, personalisation and AI.</strong></li> <ul> <li>Data-driven marketing is regarded as the second most exciting opportunity for 2018, registering a percentage which is higher than the equivalent figure for respondents in other sectors (23% vs. 15%).</li> <li>More than a third (37%) of respondents in this sector describe targeting and personalisation as a top-three priority for 2018, compared to less than a quarter (23%) of respondents across all sectors.</li> <li>The majority (61%) of companies surveyed are either using artificial intelligence (AI) already, or planning to do so within the next 12 months, a percentage that puts this sector ahead of others (44%).</li> </ul> </ul> <ul> <li> <strong>Technology is a barrier to digital progress.</strong> The proportion of FSI companies that have implemented a highly integrated, cloud-based technology stack is in single figures (7%). Wealth and asset management providers are particularly challenged in respect of technology, with 61% rating technology as ‘difficult to master’.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Econsultancy's Digital Intelligence Briefings, sponsored by <a title="Adobe" href="http://www.adobe.com/marketing-cloud.html">Adobe</a>, look at some of the most important trends affecting the marketing landscape. </strong><strong>You can access the other reports in this series <a title="Econsultancy / Adobe Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefings" href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/quarterly-digital-intelligence-briefing">here</a>.</strong></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/70060 2018-06-05T12:02:46+01:00 2018-06-05T12:02:46+01:00 How brands use colour psychology to reinforce their identities Lizzy Hillier <p>Let's look at some research and then some famous examples.</p> <h3>Colour psychology</h3> <p>Research <a href="https://www.colorcom.com/research/why-color-matters">compiled</a> by Colorcom suggests that consumers “make a subconscious judgment about a person, environment, or product within 90 seconds of initial viewing and that between 62% and 90% of that assessment is based on colour alone.”</p> <p>Further research indicates that brand recognition can be increased by up to 80% by effective use of colour throughout marketing, packaging and logo design. Whilst other marketing elements including the targeting of advertising and effective product copy are of importance to a brand’s voice, its core individuality and memorability could lie within its carefully selected colour palette.</p> <p>Of course, there are always exceptions to every rule, with several potential factors affecting an individual’s perception of colour. Let’s take cultural upbringing as an example: the colour red is commonly associated with luck and prosperity throughout Asia, whereas it can represent love, passion or even danger in western societies. These differences are important to consider when <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/63880-eight-cultural-differences-that-impact-conversion/">targeting specific geographical or ethnic audiences</a> as part of a marketing strategy.</p> <p>Personal colour preference could also have some bearing on a consumer’s loyalty to certain brands. In this <a href="http://www.joehallock.com/edu/COM498/preferences.html">colour assignment study</a>, the most mutually disliked colours of men and women include orange, yellow and brown. Purple, on the other hand, appeared to be the least favourite colour of almost a quarter of all male respondents compared to just 8% of female respondents. It is perhaps superficial to suggest that a male customer wouldn’t purchase from a well-established brand just because its logo happens to feature the colour purple. Then again, I’d like to invite you to recall a brand with a predominantly male target audience that places emphasis on this colour.</p> <p>Of course, brands tread a very fine line when it comes to choosing typically masculine or feminine colours. Using them to market products can lead to consumers feeling patronised and stereotyped, as demonstrated by the <a href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/9503359/BIC-ridiculed-over-comfortable-pink-pens-for-women.html">infamous BIC pink biro furore of 2012</a>.</p> <p>Equally, if the colour of a product does not appropriately represent its purpose, this can confuse and even damage a brand’s sense of identity.</p> <p>Put simply, whilst there is no cast-iron guarantee that using specific colouration will assist you in achieving success with your brand strategy, there are certainly strong parallels between colour and brand perception across product sectors.</p> <p>Below are some notable examples that illustrate how colour can influence a consumer’s impression of a brand or its products. </p> <h2>Red</h2> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0009/4827/mcdonalds_logo-blog-flyer.png" alt="McDonald's Logo" width="470" height="329"></p> <p>Let’s start with an obvious example: the fast food giant McDonald’s. Its logo is one of the most recognised in the world and its striking red backdrop dominates its branding. This signature red appears on their signage, the walls of their restaurants and even Ronald McDonald himself.</p> <p>It is widely claimed that red is the most appetising colour in the spectrum. Reasons for this vary from its ability to increase your heartrate (and therefore kick-start digestion) to simply an overexposure to coincidentally red food marketing campaigns over time.</p> <p>Either way, you’d be hard pressed to find a fast food outlet that is not dominated by a shade of red as part of its brand strategy.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/4833/fast_food_logos.png" alt="fast food logos" width="615" height="153"></p> <p>With its ‘golden arches’ in yellow (typically an energetic and happy colour), the McDonald's logo could quite literally translate into ‘fast and delicious’ – everything your chicken nuggets should be.</p> <h2>Green</h2> <p>The emotional perception of the colour green is typically dependent on the shade. Usually, bright, warm yellow-greens are energising, fresh and healthy, deeper blue-greens more relaxing, and earthy greens natural or eco-friendly. I’ll briefly touch on all three in this section.</p> <h3>Bright yellow-green</h3> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0009/4834/nuffield_health_logo-blog-flyer.png" alt="Nuffield Health logo" width="470" height="152"></p> <p>The characteristic green of the Nuffield Health brand is also synonymous with pharmacies across the world. With their growing number of hospitals and gyms, it is understandable why Nuffield Health have opted for a vibrant green as their flagship colour. The saturation and vibrancy of the shade conveys energy, vitality and strength.</p> <p>It is worth noting how this colour is translated across to the Nuffield Health website. Notice how it is continuously used throughout banners, footers and even tinted photography on their homepage, demonstrating an exceptionally consistent, strong brand image. It is certainly very eye-catching.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0009/4835/nuffield_health_website-blog-flyer.png" alt="Nuffield Health website homepage" width="470" height="270"> </p> <h3>Blue-green</h3> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0009/4836/starbucks_logo-blog-flyer.jpg" alt="Starbucks logo" width="470" height="461"></p> <p>Whilst your daily skinny-triple-shot-decaf caramel macchiato can hardly be categorised as healthy, what’s more relaxing than starting your day with a coffee in your favourite squashy armchair at your local Starbucks? The cool blue-green of their logo signifies just that: it is rich, welcoming and intense, everything they want you to believe their coffee is. </p> <h3>Earthy-green</h3> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0009/4837/mcdonald_s_shop_front-blog-flyer.jpg" alt="McDonald's store front" width="470" height="705"></p> <p>Back, for a moment, to McDonald’s. You may have noticed that its usual red backdrop has been replaced with an earthy green when you last visited your local UK high street. This is thanks to their 2009 brand overhaul which was rolled out across Europe ‘to promote a more eco-friendly image’, <a href="http://www.nbcnews.com/id/34111784/ns/business-us_business/t/mcdonalds-rolling-out-green-logo-europe/#.WwV0EUgvwow">as reported by NBC</a>. In the article, the vice chairman of McDonald’s Germany expressed that they aim to clarify their ‘responsibility for the preservation of natural resources. In the future [McDonald’s] will put an even larger focus on that.’</p> <p>This new environmentally conscious guise has been strengthened more recently by its accompanying UK ad campaigns such as ‘<a href="https://youtu.be/1lNEa8R1iNI">Chicken McNuggets</a>’ which further emphasises the natural and ethical sourcing of its ingredients.</p> <h2>Purple</h2> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0009/4838/liberty_london_logo-blog-flyer.jpg" alt="Liberty London logo" width="470" height="470"></p> <p>Purple, particularly in deep or vibrant tones, has been a common denotation of royalty and luxury for centuries. The alleged reason for this? <a href="https://www.livescience.com/33324-purple-royal-color.html">The original price of purple dye being too costly for all but the very wealthy to afford</a>.</p> <p>Despite not being the most frequently used colour in modern-day marketing, at least three popular purple brands come to my mind: Cadbury, Aussie Hair &amp; Liberty London.</p> <p>A long-established high-end British brand; Liberty London exudes luxury, as can be observed by the store's exhuberant décor and mock-Tudor exterior. It presents itself as a heritage-conscious, lavish place to shop, with a large focus placed on its exquisite fabric collection. By choosing purple, Liberty asserts its place amongst London's most extravagant department stores.</p> <p>Estate agents are also beginning to favour the colour; using it to advocate the quality of their properties and excellent service.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/5045/estate_agents_logos.png" alt="Estate agent logos" width="615" height="78"></p> <h2>Blue</h2> <p>Like green, different shades of blue carry different meanings.</p> <p>Dark, rich blue has been heavily adopted by technology and motoring brands to signify intelligence, confidence and reliability. Commonly associated with corporatism, it is unsurprising that some of the biggest names in these sectors have chosen the colour to forefront their identities.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/4840/ford_samsung_logos.jpg" alt="Ford and Samsung logos" width="615" height="153"></p> <p>In contrast, mid-to-light toned blues are commonly used in the medical, beauty and healthcare industries to indicate cleanliness. Generally speaking, the brighter the colour, the more clinical the product. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/4841/oral_b_domestoc_logos.png" alt="Oral B and Domestos logos" width="503" height="153"></p> <p>Blue can also be a safe bet if you’re looking to appeal to a wide audience. After all, everyone needs to brush their teeth and bleach the toilet. A YouGov study suggests it is <a href="https://yougov.co.uk/news/2015/05/12/blue-worlds-favourite-colour/">the world’s favourite colour</a>, mutually preferred by 40% of males and 24% of females. </p> <p>It is important to note the rarity of the colour blue in food branding. Blue is understood to be an appetite suppressant, as it is rarely found in natural food products.</p> <h2>Grey</h2> <p>Regardless of whether you love or hate them, Apple have gone through quite an evolution when it comes to their branding and marketing. Let's take a look at their 1977 logo on the left and their present-day logo on the right.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/4844/apple_logos.png" alt="Apple logos" width="539" height="320"></p> <p>Now let’s pretend the two logos represent two different brands and you’re looking to buy a cutting-edge laptop with the latest technology seamlessly built into a sleek, modern design. Which brand would you trust more to deliver on these expectations? I’m willing to bet you chose the grey one.</p> <p>Unlike bright primary colours, grey is typically emotionless and neutral, making it perfect for mass marketing. For a sophisticated and well-established technology company, grey can be a great choice: it is understated, timeless and reflects the materials from which the products are made. Perhaps this explains why greyscale is adopted so frequently in marketing campaigns throughout the sector.</p> <p>In comparison to black (which can be perceived as masculine and overpowering), this mid-tone grey is in no way divisive. Indeed, whether you’re earning £20,000 or £200,000, you likely use at least one Apple product – a sign of a truly universal brand.</p> <p>At a push, Apple's multicoloured logo could pass as creative and unconventional. It certainly appears almost juvenile in comparison to its modern counterpart, though that's not to say other brands haven't garnered success with similar palettes...</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/4845/google_microsoft_logos.png" alt="Google and Microsoft logos" width="615" height="105"></p> <p>Consistency is vital to ensuring a brand has a coherent voice. By choosing a small palette of two to four colours and employing them throughout their marketing channels, brands strengthen their identities and memorability in the eye of the consumer.</p> <p>Next time you shop with your favourite brand, consider why you trust them to deliver on their product or service. You may provide several different reasons, depending on past customer experience, but it may also be your subconscious colour preferences nudging you in the right direction.</p> <h5>More on branding and design</h5> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69334-lessons-in-brand-building-from-deliciously-ella">Lessons in brand building from Deliciously Ella</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/10702-how-to-evolve-your-brand-and-logo-the-starbucks-way">How to evolve your brand and logo the Starbucks way</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64459-which-ecommerce-security-logos-do-users-trust-do-they-matter">Which ecommerce security logos do users trust? Do they matter?</a></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/70043 2018-05-29T09:48:52+01:00 2018-05-29T09:48:52+01:00 How the British Red Cross revamped its website, from 4,000 pages to just 400 Nikki Gilliland <p>As a result of its broad remit, conveying brand purpose (and faciliating consumer understanding) is crucial for the British Red Cross. Its website has recently been refreshed with this in mind, aiming to help users to learn about the different services it offers - from assistance with social isolation to fundraising for victims of global conflict.</p> <p>I recently spoke with Gemma Hamilton, head of brand and strategic marketing for the British Red Cross, to gain more of an insight into the reasons behind the new site, and the importance of web experience for the charity.</p> <h3>Reasons for the refresh</h3> <p>Gemma began by explaining that it had been seven years since the British Red Cross refreshed its website. This, coupled with research uncovering the fact that people weren't finding what they needed from the site, led the charity to conclude that the time was right for a revamp (launching the project with creative agency Rufus Leonard).</p> <p>“We discovered that a large portion of the content on the site wasn’t being used,” Gemma explains. “And at the same time, we took a closer look at who we are as a brand, to really get to the core of what we deliver as an organisation.”</p> <p>A big part of this is also based on the realisation that people might be unaware of what the British Red Cross actually does. It is a charity perhaps better known for its global fundraising, such as its Syria crisis appeal, but it also provides help for people in the UK who are dealing with issues like social isolation, money problems, as well as the tangible need to hire a wheelchair or commode.</p> <p>Gemma went on to explain the charity’s two-pronged approach to its website refresh: </p> <blockquote> <p>We’ve built everything with our brand vision in mind (which is that everyone gets the help they need in a crisis). Essentially, we needed to ensure that we have the best possible platform to enable us to deliver that mission, both in terms of making our web experience simple and accessible enough for people who might want to use our services - such as borrow a wheelchair or access some of our independent living services. But equally, we’re looking to mobilise the support of the great British public and beyond, to contribute to the movement and help people in a crisis in a way that suits them.</p> </blockquote> <p>In order to do this, the site has been significantly streamlined. “We’ve gone from almost 4,000 pages to just around 400,” Gemma says. “The way that it is designed now is not just talking about our services, it’s actually a service in itself. For example, at the top of the page we have tabs like ‘get help’, ‘get involved’ and ‘shop’, meaning it’s very much geared around what an individual might want to do on the site.”</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/4640/british_red_cross_about_us.JPG" alt="british red cross website" width="615"></p> <p>Indeed, the site now looks and feel much more streamlined, with sections based on whether people are looking to get help or offer it. What's more, the quality of the content on the site has also been improved. Gemma explains how the charity “looked at the content that was most commonly read and deemed most useful from an audience perspective, and really honed that to ensure it is current, simple, and as valuable as possible.”</p> <h3>Results and what’s to come</h3> <p>Gemma also emphasised that the website is far from finished, with many improvements apparently still to come: “So far the feedback from users has been very positive, but we are constantly monitoring how people are using the new website, and in quite an agile way, using this information to continually refine it”. </p> <p>Last year, the charity also launched a new donation platform, which has resulted in a 17.5% increase in mobile donations and a 12.4% increase in tablet donations.</p> <p>Gemma explains the timing was ideal. “It was brought in just before the Manchester bombing appeal, and of course the very high profile ‘One Love Manchester’ concert. It proved it was able to handle an unprecedented level of traffic during that time, which helped us to raise millions.”</p> <p>So, what other changes are yet to be made?</p> <p>“We’ve introduced a new feature on the site simply called ‘is this page useful?’ at the bottom of every page,” Gemma says. “It invites users to tell us if what we’ve built for them is useful or not. If not, they can tell us why, and we can use that insight to continually improve.”</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/4798/Is_this_page_useful.JPG" alt="is this page useful feature" width="600" height="346"></p> <p>This test and learn approach appears to be key across the British Red Cross' digital strategy.</p> <p>“Other plans we have for the future are to digitise more of our services, to ensure that they are user friendly and as accessible to as many people as possible, so wheelchair hire, for example. This will enable the website to have even greater utility.”</p> <p>Meanwhile, Gemma also stresses the importance of a website that aligns with other digital channels. She says it’s not about one channel versus another (i.e. website over social or email), or even that the website is more geared for a particular audience, i.e. fundraisers or beneficiaries. Rather, Gemma says that “It’s about building insight and an understanding of audiences, and having a presence wherever they are. It’s about having a consistent and coherent offering that people recognise across channels, which in turn means they are motivated and able to contribute in a way that suits them.”</p> <h3>Building consumer trust</h3> <p>So, when it comes to donations, what about the issue of consumer trust? Gemma states that this remains a big challenge across the voluntary sector.</p> <p>“Trust is a hugely important issue," she says. "It’s critical that we take every step necessary to retain the trust and confidence of the public. We’ve implemented new procedures and robust safeguarding measures to ensure that, for anyone who supports us, they can do so with the confidence that it is in the best interests of the people the charity is supporting.” </p> <p>I also asked Gemma whether other technology might be on the horizon, such as artificial intelligence for customer service. After all, it appears to have become a bit of a <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69808-five-examples-of-charity-chatbots" target="_blank">trend for charities</a> in particular, with the likes of Shelter Scotland and Watercap investing in the tech.</p> <p>Gemma was slightly less sure of the British Red Cross following suit, instead emphasising the charity’s willingness to improve upon what they’ve already got. </p> <p>“The development of our site was a very involved and significant project for us, and we’re very much looking at what’s next. If there are more innovative ways to improve our services and make them as accessible as we can, we’re absolutely open to that. The key thing for us is to ensure we’re building everything from solid insight and understanding of our audience.”</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">We are proud of the our volunteers who worked alongside the emergency services and in solidarity with local communities during the 2017 emergencies in London and Manchester. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PowerOfKindness?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#PowerOfKindness</a></p> — British Red Cross (@BritishRedCross) <a href="https://twitter.com/BritishRedCross/status/997498490598150144?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">May 18, 2018</a> </blockquote> <h3>A tool for brand purpose</h3> <p>Finally, Gemma finished by speaking about the charity’s tone of voice, and moreover, how this emphasises its brand promise. Alongside social and other marketing channels, the British Red Cross looks upon its website as central to promoting this, using it as an opportunity – not only to provide a service – but to promote what it stands for:</p> <p>"We are the movement that connects human kindness with human crisis, and our new website is one of the most important and powerful tools for us to be able to fulfil that purpose. To deliver a site that’s now a service in itself is really critical – it’s an expression of who we are and what we want to achieve.”</p> <p><strong>More on charities:</strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69706-charity-websites-must-tackle-content-design-information-architecture" target="_blank">Charity websites must tackle content design &amp; information architecture</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69412-six-charities-with-excellent-online-donation-user-journeys" target="_blank">Six charities with excellent online donation user journeys</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69391-how-five-charities-convey-purpose-through-tone-of-voice" target="_blank">How five charities convey purpose through tone of voice</a></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:Report/4803 2018-05-23T12:40:00+01:00 2018-05-23T12:40:00+01:00 Digital Intelligence Briefing: 2018 Digital Trends in South Africa <p>The <strong>2018 Digital Trends in South Africa </strong>report, based on the eighth annual trends survey conducted by Econsultancy and <a title="Adobe" href="http://www.adobe.com/marketing-cloud.html">Adobe</a>, looks at the most significant trends that will impact South African companies in the short to medium term.</p> <p>The research is based on a sample of almost 230 digital professionals based in South Africa who were among around 13,000 respondents taking part in the annual Digital Trends survey.</p> <h3>The following sections are featured in the report:</h3> <ul> <li>Current state of digital maturity</li> <li>Customer journeys are the priority as channel choice increases</li> <li>Social media remains king but content is chasing the throne</li> <li>Design-led thinking impeded by a lack of internal process and tech</li> <li>The future is personalised, but not yet automated</li> <li>Fit for the future: five areas South African marketers should focus on</li> </ul> <h3>Findings include:</h3> <ul> <li> <strong>Perceptions of digital maturity may have become more realistic.</strong>  Only 12% of companies claimed to be digital-first this year; a drop on last year’s 17%. Compared to last year, respondents are less likely to describe their organisations as design-driven, with those responding as such dropping to 54% from 69% last year.</li> <li> <strong>Optimising journeys across channels is a priority, but it’s hindered by technology.</strong> Optimising the customer journey across multiple touchpoints is the most important factor for companies responding to the survey: the vast majority (83%) said this was ‘very important’ to their digital marketing over the next few years.</li> <li> <strong>Mobile focus does not yet equal mobile traffic.</strong> South Africa is mobile-led, with over 75% of internet traffic coming from mobile. However, only 9% of companies said mobile optimisation was a top priority for 2018, compared to 20% of agencies.</li> <li> <strong>Social media remains a focus as companies optimise their content efforts.</strong> Social media engagement is the top digital related priority for companies and agencies in 2018, selected by 27% and 39% respectively. Seven in ten (71%) company respondents see 'optimising creative workflows to facilitate the rapid creation and deployment of content across multiple platforms' as very important for CX success over the next year.</li> <li> <strong>Use of emerging technology remains a distant future for the majority.</strong> South African companies are, relative to their international peers, more likely to be using artificial intelligence, though this group is still the minority (20%). Almost half have no plans to use AI, due to a lack of knowledge and resource (42% each), while a larger proportion (47%) haven’t put thought into how they could use the technology in their business.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Econsultancy's Digital Intelligence Briefings, sponsored by <a title="Adobe" href="http://www.adobe.com/marketing-cloud.html">Adobe</a>, look at some of the most important trends affecting the marketing landscape. </strong><strong>You can access the other reports in this series <a title="Econsultancy / Adobe Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefings" href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/quarterly-digital-intelligence-briefing">here</a>.</strong></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69933 2018-04-11T09:30:00+01:00 2018-04-11T09:30:00+01:00 How to put people at the heart of your design sprint Alan Colville <h3>What is a design sprint?</h3> <p>A design sprint condenses endless debates and discussions to help a team go from strategy, ideas and prototype to testing with real customers in just five days.</p> <p>Here’s a short 90-second video to explain by Jake Knapp, Design partner at Google Ventures and inventor of the Design Sprint.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/K2vSQPh6MCE?wmode=transparent" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <p>Get it right, and a design sprint can deliver benefits that far outlast those energetic five days. They help businesses question established ways of working, feel comfortable with uncertainty, see the benefits of cross-discipline collaboration and put aside organisational structure to deliver great customer experiences. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/3483/jack_knapp_sprints.png" alt="jack knapp design sprint illustration" width="615" height="346"></p> <p><em><a href="http://www.gv.com/sprint/">Image via Jake Knapp and Google Ventures</a></em></p> <p>With all these benefits, it’s no surprise that businesses are eager to start using design sprints and other design thinking and Agile development techniques over traditional ways of working.</p> <p>However, for design sprints to be successful, they need to be used with caution.  </p> <h3>When should you start sprinting?</h3> <p>I’ve heard plenty of horror stories around unsuccessful design sprints, which isn’t surprising - travelling at high speed comes with its fair share of risk, and derailing is common. But if you’re keen to start gathering speed, here are some ideal times to start a design sprint: </p> <ul> <li>At moments of failure - a sprint helps teams restart when they’ve previously been unsuccessful </li> <li>When you’ve reached an impasse - it brings people together to crack a big and gnarly challenge </li> <li>When you’re short of time – sprints fast-track when you can’t afford to get stuck in a long, drawn-out processes </li> <li>When motivation is low – a high energy, highly collaborative sprint can reinvigorate teams </li> <li>When the organisational structure of the business is a barrier – sprints can foster collaboration across the business and bring different groups together </li> </ul> <h3>Gearing up for a sprint</h3> <p>When it comes to getting the most out of a design sprint, you can’t just hit the ground running. There’s planning that needs to be done first. In large organisations, this can take weeks or months. And once you’ve decided to embark on a design sprint, you’ll need to convince the business that it’s worth the investment. </p> <p>It helps to namedrop some of the big, innovative companies that use design sprints, like Google and Slack. To get you started, here’s <a href="https://sprintstories.com/how-to-sell-design-sprints-279646af8714?gi=8c3d2afec428">a handy guide to making the case for design sprints</a>, written by the lead designer at Airbnb. Be sure to focus on the benefits, communicate why design sprints differ from the existing process and provide examples of who it’s helped in the past. </p> <h3>Getting others to join you</h3> <p>Once you’ve sold the concept of running a design sprint, the next challenge is getting the right people to turn up. Here are three tactics I find helpful: </p> <h4>1. Meet them first, invite them last</h4> <p>Asking for five days of someone’s time shouldn’t be done without explaining, face-to-face, why they should care, why they should invest so much of their time and what they’ll get out of it. If you can’t meet them face-to-face, set up a phone call. Whatever you do, do not send a meeting invite unannounced as you’ll scare people off. </p> <h4>2. Tackle their biggest worry </h4> <p>“I don’t have time for this” is the most common response I hear when inviting people to a design sprint. Demonstrate how a five-day sprint is a way to save, not waste, time. Reassure them that the days will start later, finish earlier and include longer lunch breaks to allow them to take care of other work commitments. </p> <h4>3. Offer support roles </h4> <p>Some people simply won’t be able to commit to all five days. It’s vital to be flexible, especially for more senior stakeholders. Consider asking them to come along at specific times on specific days, or if they’re really short on time, conduct a 20-minute expert interview with them on the first day of the sprint. A quick, expert interview is not only highly time efficient, but is a great opportunity to check with experts that you are on the right track and gets value senior buy-in through their involvement.</p> <h3>How to put people at the heart of your sprint and keep them motivated</h3> <p>Design sprints can easily go off-track if you don’t take care of their most important element - the people. A five-day sprint can often feel more like a marathon, at times uncertain and uncomfortable for its participants.</p> <p>The design sprint process expertly combines techniques from business strategy, design thinking, behavioral economics, UX and more in a fundamentally different way. The aim of the process is to confront and weed out our human inefficiencies and biases like long debate, difficulty in making decisions and worry about consensus.</p> <p>It helps to be aware of the key techniques and strategies involved in staying on track during a design sprint. </p> <h3>Sprint efficiency techniques and strategies </h3> <ol> <li>Cross business representation - getting a variety of departments on board for cross-business collaboration </li> <li>No devices - avoid the distraction of phones and laptops until predefined breaks</li> <li>Keep the team small – having approximately seven of the right people in the room</li> <li>Set solo work - individual-generated ideas are quicker, better and more plentiful than group thinking</li> <li>Set inescapable deadlines - looming deadlines force focus and make people more efficient </li> <li>A bit of competition – putting individuals against each other gets the best from people</li> <li>Independent decision making – decide and move on rather than time sapping consensus</li> <li>Short, energetic bursts – breaks every sixty to ninety minutes to not drain the battery</li> <li>Divide and swarm – divvy up the tasks to work concurrently and increase productivity</li> <li>Prototype - answer questions by producing prototypes (not PowerPoint presentations) </li> <li>Finish with a test - put your final prototype in front of real customers  </li> </ol> <h3>A day-by-day guide to putting people at the heart of a sprint </h3> <p>Each day people will experience highs and lows of emotions as they come face-to-face with the rigid sprint process and encounter the above techniques. Knowing when these highs and lows can occur can help you better anticipate and deal with these fluctuations.</p> <p>To help illustrate, I’ve created an emotional map, where you’ll see that the first day should be up and up, but days two and three can be trickiest, and day five will leave people feeling like they’ve achieved something extraordinary.</p> <p><em>(Click to enlarge)</em></p> <p><a href="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/3502/Design_Sprint_emotional_map_final.png"><em><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/3503/Design_Sprint_emotional_map_final.png" alt="design sprint day-by-day framework" width="615"></em></a></p> <h3>Getting the best from people each day </h3> <p>Here’s a day-by-day guide for getting the best out of people on each day of your design sprint. </p> <h4>Day One - make a map </h4> <p>Start by agreeing a long-term goal. Then compile a list of questions that need answering in order to meet that goal and create a map of the problem. Like any good map, it should show the destination, key landmarks and potential pitfalls. Validate the work so far with experts from across the business in a series of 20-minute interviews, then revisit the goal, questions and map before picking a target area for the sprint.</p> <p>Distilling the sprint into a single goal focuses the team, helping them feel calmer and less overwhelmed by the process. The map is a quick and effective way of chunking up the problem space in a way that people can understand and navigate.</p> <p>Critically, at the end of the first day, the story of the map will be shared with experts in short interviews to gauge that the team is on track. Done right, at the end of the first day, people should feel in good hands, trusting in the process and excited about what’s to come. </p> <h4>Day Two - start sketching solutions </h4> <p>Start the day with some lightning demos for inspiration, followed by a review of previous efforts to remix and improve during sketching, so people leave for lunch feeling energised and inspired. In the afternoon, ask the team to formulate these ideas into competing sketches - this may feel new, pressured and even uncomfortable. One particularly effective but also testing technique is ‘Crazy 8s’, which asks people to take their favourite idea and sketch eight variations in eight minutes.</p> <p>Reassure the team that it’s normal to feel uncomfortable and remind them of the benefits of working and sketching this way - it’s the fastest way to generate and develop more concrete ideas. Comfort them that you are not looking for Picassos – so go fast and messy. It’s also worth reminding them that they don’t need to share every sketch with the group - just those they’re happy with and the one at the end.</p> <p>Luckily, the process is step-by-step, so ask people to just take it a step at a time. Let them know that if they are struggling, then you are there to help. Finally, inspire them into action by letting them know that often exercises like Crazy-8s can bring revelations.</p> <h4>Day Three - decide what works </h4> <p>In the morning, the team will critique the many ideas generated the day before and decide which ones to turn into a testable hypothesis in the form of a step-by-step storyboard. A straw poll is a quick way for the whole team to express their opinion on which is the best solution. Everyone has three votes, but the decider’s vote trumps everyone else’s. That also means that if the decider votes for three solutions, all three should be taken forward, either by incorporating them into one prototype, or as part of different, competing prototypes.  </p> <p>It’s worth pointing out up front that day three can feel unnatural but effective. Explain that there won’t be lengthy discussions because today is all about making decisions. Remind them that every vote counts, discarded ideas may be revisited later and the voting system is the most effective way to move towards achieving the end goal.</p> <h4>Day Four - build a prototype </h4> <p>Today is where it all comes together, but not without a big push from the team. They’ll turn the previous day’s storyboard into a realistic prototype in just seven hours. It’s important to move away from the idea of creating a ‘perfect’ prototype, in favour of generating something that’s ‘good enough’. It needs to be believable for the next day’s testing, but not so high-quality that you don’t get it finished in time. </p> <p>People may feel as though it’s impossible to create a realistic prototype in just seven hours. Remind them that most of the thinking has been done, they have detailed sketches to work from, that people will be allocated specific tasks and that it doesn’t need to be perfect. It’s a day when it’s easy to let time slip, so continue to apply the sprint techniques and strategies like inescapable deadlines, divide and swarm.</p> <p>And at the end of the day, celebrate a job well done. Remind them how much they’ve achieved in such a short space of time. </p> <h4>Day Five - test it with real people</h4> <p>The team - and the experts - will learn a huge amount from testing the prototype with real people. And by the end of the day, you should know exactly what needs to be done. The interviews will involve the customer ‘thinking aloud’, where they verbalise their thoughts as they move through the prototype - something most people aren’t used to doing.</p> <p>First put the customer at ease by reassuring them that it although it feels unnatural, it gets easier as they go along. And remind them they aren’t being tested. Make sure you don’t interrupt them and give them time to formulate their thoughts before they speak.</p> <p>Secondly, get the observing team to take note of as many direct quotes as possible, both positive and negative, to avoid simply capturing what they want to hear. The final day should be a revelation for those who do not usually get face-to-face with customers. The team will leave tired but with a huge sense of accomplishment and wanting to do it again for other projects.</p> <h3>Hints and tips for great sprint facilitation </h3> <p>The success of a design sprint hangs on good facilitation. As a facilitator, you’re there to offer guidance, not to take over. Here are some core principles to stick to:</p> <ul> <li>Ask permission </li> <li>Stay neutral </li> <li>Listen actively </li> <li>Ask questions </li> <li>Stay on track</li> <li>Give and receive feedback </li> <li>Test assumptions </li> <li>Collect ideas </li> <li>Paraphrase what’s been said </li> <li>Point out behaviour e.g. “I see you’ve gone quiet” </li> <li>Summarise clearly  </li> </ul> <p>And finally, good facilitators must:</p> <ul> <li>Be informed - get to know the people on your team, the business and the problems they face </li> <li>Be optimistic - to weed out shyness and cynicism</li> <li>Be consensual - focus on achieving the best outcome for everyone</li> <li>Be understanding - remember that your team have busy lives and work stress </li> <li>Be alert - keep gauging the group dynamic </li> <li>Be firm - be assertive in order to stay on track </li> <li>Be unobtrusive - know when to get out of the way and let others speak</li> </ul> <p>If you want to read more about good facilitation, I’d recommend <a href="https://www.amazon.co.uk/Facilitation-Glance-4th-Ingrid-Bens/dp/1576811832">Facilitation at a Glance</a> by Ingrid Bens. </p> <h3>Get sprinting</h3> <p>Design sprints may seem tough but they’re worth the effort. They take you from a problem that needs solving to testing a prototype with customers in just five days. They bring people together and show businesses a different, more effective way of working - a tantalising glimpse into the world of a start-up.</p> <p>But to be successful, they need to take care of the needs of the people involved, from addressing the concerns of the senior stakeholders, to keeping the core team motivated and inspired. Done right, design sprints can have a long-lasting effect on a business. Done wrong, and you may never get the chance to try one again. </p> <h3>Further reading and resources</h3> <ul> <li>Jake Knapp's book, <a href="http://www.thesprintbook.com/">Sprint</a>.</li> <li><a href="https://sprintstories.com/how-to-sell-design-sprints-279646af8714">Making the case for design sprints</a></li> <li><a href="https://designsprintkit.withgoogle.com/">The design sprint kit</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68288-how-to-overcome-ux-challenges-with-product-design-sprints/">How to overcome UX challenges with product design sprints</a></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69892 2018-03-26T15:00:00+01:00 2018-03-26T15:00:00+01:00 How managing your customer's 'top tasks' can deliver a better experience Chris Rourke <p>In usability tests, we see a recurring problem: people unable to find what they seek due to irrelevant information getting in the way and poorly labeled links.    </p> <h3>The accidental haystack</h3> <p>Piling on more content increases the haystack within which a visitor tries to find their needle - that is, the specific task they came to do.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/3174/hay_stack.jpg" alt="Haystack represnting website content" width="500" height="335"></p> <p>Why does this happen? There are a few reasons, including internal pressures to promote certain content.</p> <p>Even allowing everyone to access the content management system, which sounds wonderfully democratic since everyone can publish what they want, often results in trivial or redundant content getting in the way of users performing their tasks. </p> <p>If your key management metric is simply <em>the number of pages on our site</em>, or <em>the number of different pages visited on the site</em>, just adding more content may look like a great success.  If your success metric is <em>the percentage of people able to do what they want to on our site</em>, constantly adding content may well be less successful.   </p> <p>Many also find it easier to add content than to remove it. Indeed, removing things can often be met with resistance: </p> <ul> <li><em>"We've got a team of content writers and they worked really hard creating that. So we must keep it on the site."</em></li> <li><em>"Look, the analytics show that 7 people visited that page last year - we can't let them down."</em></li> <li><em>"Yes, but those pages were Mr. McManager's idea. He's important so better let's not touch it."</em></li> </ul> <p>It's worth considering what a site's content is actually for. After all, a great webpage is not something to simply look at - it's something to do practical things with.</p> <p>Great customer experiences happen when people can easily perform their tasks such as finding information, downloading something, getting in touch, buying something, comparing, deciding and more. Let your customers do these easily and they will come back repeatedly.</p> <h3>All tasks are not created equal</h3> <p>Most sites have so many things that can be done on them it is hard to decide which ones to prioritise. Some things - the 'top tasks' - are very important for many people and add great value to the site and user experience.</p> <p>Typically, there are also many relatively unimportant tasks that add far less value. However, these 'tiny tasks' are often given undue prominence which can lead to competing links and calls to action.</p> <h3><strong>How to discover your users' tasks </strong></h3> <p>Using an approach called top task management helps to identify and focus on what really matters to customers to reduce complexity and improve customer experience. </p> <p>A first step is to perform a <a title="Top Task ID" href="http://www.customercarewords.com/services/customer-top-task-identification/">top tasks identification</a>, an innovative user research method developed by <a href="http://gerrymcgovern.com/">Gerry McGovern</a>.  This is performed over several steps that lead to a poll asking site visitors and other customers to select their most important tasks with the organisation.  </p> <p>Each participant votes on their top five tasks from a randomised list of potential tasks for the site. The data typically shows a pattern of four to six top tasks getting about 25% of the votes, with the remainder extending into a 'long tail' of tiny tasks. An example of this is seen in the results for the European Commission which also <a href="http://ec.europa.eu/ipg/basics/web_rationalisation/top_tasks_en.htm">described in detail</a> their process and results. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/3173/27051533798_e9f019e23a_z.jpg" alt="top tasks analysis showing 6 tasks that take 25% of the vote" width="640" height="323"></p> <p>Information such as this helps organisations review their navigation information architecture, re-prioritise their content and ensure that their site supports the users' top tasks. This gives you the best of both worlds: better access to the top tasks and clear signposting to everything else through user-centred navigation.</p> <p>And if some content needs to be removed, you have a solid basis to make those decisions based on the user task priorities.</p> <p>The effects can be significant. Liverpool City Council redesigned its site after identifying their customers' top tasks and reduced the site from 4,000 pages to 700. This delivered a 400% increase in people transacting online and substantially fewer support phone calls. This was a powerful result for a local council needing to save money by making better use of its website. </p> <p>Top task management provides insightful results that can be applied to make a real difference to that very important performance metric – your customers' ability to do what they want on your site.</p> <p>As a customer experience method, top tasks management has proven very useful for redesigning digital services around the users' needs, especially for large, information-heavy sites or intranets supporting lots of tasks for a wide variety of users.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:TrainingDate/3447 2018-03-08T12:48:31+00:00 2018-03-08T12:48:31+00:00 Creative Thinking for Digital Marketers <p>“Creativity is intelligence having fun” – Albert Einstein.</p> <p>Our highly interactive 1-day course introduces practical tools to help you think more creatively about your digital marketing challenges.  Your day will be filled with hands-on exercises and examples from many areas, but with a special focus on digital.  </p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:TrainingDate/3446 2018-03-08T12:47:43+00:00 2018-03-08T12:47:43+00:00 Creative Thinking for Digital Marketers <p>“Creativity is intelligence having fun” – Albert Einstein.</p> <p>Our highly interactive 1-day course introduces practical tools to help you think more creatively about your digital marketing challenges.  Your day will be filled with hands-on exercises and examples from many areas, but with a special focus on digital.  </p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:TrainingDate/3445 2018-03-08T12:46:58+00:00 2018-03-08T12:46:58+00:00 Creative Thinking for Digital Marketers <p>“Creativity is intelligence having fun” – Albert Einstein.</p> <p>Our highly interactive 1-day course introduces practical tools to help you think more creatively about your digital marketing challenges.  Your day will be filled with hands-on exercises and examples from many areas, but with a special focus on digital.  </p>