tag:econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/web-design Latest Design content from Econsultancy 2017-05-23T14:42:00+01:00 tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69101 2017-05-23T14:42:00+01:00 2017-05-23T14:42:00+01:00 Why increasingly efficient UX might not always be a good thing Nick Hammond <p>"Efficiency is at the heart of progress. Yet just as too much of a good thing (travel, say) can yield a bad (congestion), so excessive ease in transactions can generate costs, known in the jargon as a “facile externality”, such that less efficiency would actually be more efficient. In academic circles…. the notion is well established that innovations which eliminate too much hassle could do society harm."</p> <p>The article continues, stating that "a few companies have recognised the benefits of restoring friction. Research into “the Ikea effect”, named in honour of those happy hours spent with an Allen key, a Billy bookcase and a rising hatred of Sweden, shows that people put extra value on things when they devote their own labour to them."</p> <p>It is important to mention at this point, that the above Economist article came out on 1st April and the mention of the UN’s “Don’t Nudge—Tell” office (DoNuT) rather gave the game away, with regards to the article’s seriousness. Although the idea of a tax on efficiency is good fun and makes for a great April Fool, this piece got me thinking. I see a grain of truth here, whether intended or not, and you will see below examples that support this view. </p> <p>In the pursuit of efficiency, the purchasing process is being made progressively easier. Amazon’s 1-click ordering makes it easier for people to buy stuff.  But not easy enough for some organisations - witness the advent of ‘zero-click’ ordering. Dominos have pioneered <a href="https://www.dominos.com.au/inside-dominos/technology/zeroclick" target="_blank">“zero-click” pizza-buying</a>, simply open the app and, after ten seconds, it automatically places a pre-set order. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/6350/zero_click.jpg" alt="" width="600" height="347"></p> <p>Dangerously for brands, a focus on efficiency threatens to short circuit the importance of branding, and brand values, with the customer. The nature of speed is utilitarian and is therefore unreliable and indefensible as a brand USP. Fine if you are the fastest but not so good if you get overtaken. </p> <p>Let’s consider how overt speed, efficiency and ease of access, can be a problem within specific categories.</p> <h4>Content distribution</h4> <p>As content providers increasingly distribute via major technology platforms, the value of the brand and the content becomes reduced. Stories are taken out of context, often edited down and sometimes re-distributed unbranded. Established media brands may have few other options to reach their audience, but it does their brand equity no good in the long term. </p> <h4>Location based taxi Apps</h4> <p>On a recent trip to Austin, despite the lack of Uber in the city, I found there were five or six different location based taxi apps to choose from. The differences between them were marginal, apart from the odd technical glitch, and it was easy to register and swap between services. In this instance, the efficiency of the delivery mechanisms and the resultant commoditisation of the products, worked against the opportunity for brand differentiation.</p> <h4>Online food order and delivery services</h4> <p>As with the taxi apps, brands such as Deliveroo, Just Eat and HungryHouse are similar in terms of product and delivery. Therefore, a major consideration becomes that of velocity – who can deliver sustenance the fastest.</p> <p>To counter this, companies like these are seeking to build personalities in order to forge connections with consumers. As with soft drinks, beer and online betting, there is little differentiation in this market so the relative importance of brand equity becomes greater.</p> <h3>Positive friction</h3> <p>On the other side of the coin, there are instances where deliberate friction can have a positive effect. A good example in the banking sector is Monzo. Monzo's ‘<a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68756-prudent-ux-for-banking-monzo-designs-positive-friction/" target="_blank">positive friction</a>’ design approach includes options such as late-night spending reviews, and spending and top-up limits. </p> <p>In the healthcare category, an example of positive friction is the redesign of Tylenol (pain reliever) pill packaging. By switching from bottles to blister packaging, Tylenol related suicides declined 43%, with accidental poisonings significantly shrinking too. The reason for this was simple, in the original bottle packaging, a person could open the cap and ingest more than enough pills to overdose in one swift movement.</p> <p>In the new blister packaging, by decreasing the number of pills in the pack and forcing the person to individually pop each one out of its casing, enough minor friction was created to drastically bring down suicide numbers. This was all achieved without hindering the experience for those using the pills for medical reasons.</p> <p>Positive friction is being utilised across a range of business categories and environments. Even the most transactional businesses, for example travel and ticketing sites, employ techniques to encourage users to stay connected longer. Ticket booking sites such as Viagogo engineer deliberately delayed loading pages (artificial friction) to indicate the ‘popularity’ of an event and increase anticipation, pressure to purchase. Airlines encourage app downloads, which can then be used to surface additional information, such as flight updates or upcoming travel offers.</p> <p>Major digital channels encourage users to stay on their sites as long as possible. Facebook could make the process of posting quicker, but that would do them no favours as they encourage longer dwell time for users to interact with advertising.</p> <h3>In the workplace</h3> <p>Positive friction is increasingly used in workplace design to encourage interaction and the modern equivalent of the ‘water cooler moment’. Google’s latest London offices are a good example. This <a href="http://www.standard.co.uk/lifestyle/london-life/does-your-office-create-positive-friction-8953942.html" target="_blank">from The Evening Standard</a>:</p> <p>‘Google’s sparkling new £1 billion headquarters in King’s Cross will have a climbing wall, rooftop pool and indoor football pitch but it’s short of one thing — offices. This is because Google wants to encourage something called positive friction — that’s bumping into your colleagues, but not the ones you know. Think Big Bang theory for working. Great things come from collisions.’ </p> <h3>Bots and automation</h3> <p>On the negative side, technology is having an effect as well. Technology is bringing greater efficiency which, alongside the introduction of automation and bots in the decision-making process, raises serious ethical questions.</p> <p>In a recent article <a href="http://www.brandlearning.com/views-ideas/marketing-capability/the-future-and-eternal-truth-of-marketing-trust/" target="_blank">on trust</a>, I discussed the relationship between brand and consumer, and the transparency with which it is conducted, which risks being further confused by the growing influence of bots. ‘Choice architecture’ is changing with the rise of automation, robotics and AI. Bots will refine choices presented, and even make choices on behalf of consumers. Some argue that the intervention of bots will mean that matters of ethics, which are nuanced and not binary decisions, will get side-lined.</p> <p>'In any event, the reality is that this will place even more responsibility on the brand to uphold ethics. Bots may ignore these in the moment of choice, but ultimately, any brand that cannot meet the requirement for transparent ethics, will risk a consumer backlash.’  </p> <p>Venturebeat.com strikes <a href="https://venturebeat.com/2017/04/03/3-challenges-of-developing-bots-for-immersive-environments/" target="_blank">a more serious note</a> on the negative effects of efficiency than The Economist, quoting Airbnb’s Steve Selzer and his view that immediacy and the absence of friction are creating a less tolerant, less self-aware world. 'This is why designers of intelligent, immersive experiences need to build in meaningful friction, encouraging reflection and awareness of the actions themselves as well as their consequences.'</p> <p>A separate article from Chatbots Magazine does hint at an upside to chatbots though, saying that <a href="https://chatbotsmagazine.com/humans-are-saying-thanks-to-bots-why-i-believe-this-peculiar-interaction-is-important-ac5066481e57" target="_blank">people seem to say 'thank you'</a>, although there is no logical reaason to do so, which may mean some technology is promoting good behaviour.</p> <h3>Virtual realities</h3> <p>The advent of other realities, augmented and virtual, in tandem with reduced friction, may also cause problems. This also from Venturebeat – ‘…reflection is even more important in immersive environments, where you don’t so much “watch” or “use” experiences as really “live” through them. VR experiences are perceived by the brain as actually happening to the user, so their transformative potential — toward self-development or rapture — is quite powerful.’</p> <p>For brands, the question of how to provide the right amount of friction to unlock reflection but not to hamper experience is critical in building a world that, in addition to doing things, thinks about what it is doing.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69078 2017-05-18T10:55:05+01:00 2017-05-18T10:55:05+01:00 How brands are tapping into the transformation economy Nikki Gilliland <p>So, what brands are taking this approach? Here are just a few examples. </p> <h3>Nike</h3> <p>While <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/63129-10-awesome-digital-marketing-campaigns-from-nike/">Nike’s branding</a> has always evoked notions of self improvement and positivity, this has been in more of an inspirational sense rather than in terms of the actual product offering. Of course, sports gear can be a key tool when it comes to physical transformation, but examples like the Nike+ app offer a much more tangible way of achieving it.</p> <p>Through the Nike+ app users can join local running clubs, track and monitor progress, and even set goals based on personal ability. By offering data in return, customers are essentially able to use the Nike brand to help make getting and keeping fit a much richer personal experience.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5979/Nike_.JPG" alt="" width="752" height="633"></p> <h3>Selfridges</h3> <p>According to the 2014 Boston Consulting Group report, of the $1.8trn spent on ‘luxuries’ in 2013, nearly 55% was spent on luxury experiences. More often than not, these experiences tend to be rooted in a quest for health or wellness – which is also the idea behind retail initiatives like <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68034-how-selfridges-s-body-studio-blurs-the-lines-between-digital-in-store/" target="_blank">Selfridges’ Body Studio</a>.</p> <p>Located in the London Oxford Street store, the space includes a clean-eating café and a hair studio. It also holds regular fitness events and motivational talks.</p> <p>You could argue that the Body Studio is more of a marketing exercise, simply a selection of products packaged up and sold under the umbrella of ‘wellness’. After all, shoppers aren’t going to feel all <em>that</em> different after a visit. Having said that, I think it still demonstrates how brands and retailers are using the power of transformation and related experiences to drive the sales of products.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/uObtsABLuhY?wmode=transparent" width="640" height="360"></iframe></p> <h3>District Vision</h3> <p>While District Vision is largely an ecommerce brand – selling eyewear for runners – it also sees its events and experiences as part of its product offering.</p> <p>The company, which began in New York, is based on the idea that ‘mental wellbeing is the foundation of every form of physical exercise’. As a result, it also offers a meditation and running program that helps runners to – you guessed it – run and meditate at the same time.  </p> <p>So, as both a wellness company and an ecommerce business, District Vision is one of the first real examples of a brand set up to be transformative - rather than as a by-product of a marketing strategy. By using its values as the very basis of its product research and development – as well as the paid-for events it offers on top – it is able to offer consumers a way to better themselves both physically and mentally.</p> <p>It’s a tall order, of course, but it’s certainly a bit more enticing than just paying for a designer logo.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5978/District_Vision.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="462"></p> <h3>Headspace</h3> <p>Headspace, the mindfulness app, proves that meditation can be the basis of a viable business model. In fact, it has used a subscription-based service – which offers unlimited access to sessions for £7.96 a month – to generate a reported annual revenue of over $50m.</p> <p>Naturally, this would not be possible if there was not the demand from consumers. And with the increase in technology and social media, issues relating to anxiety, mental health, self-esteem, and exhaustion are also on the up.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">What are you trying to cram into your day that could wait until tomorrow? <a href="https://t.co/vNsT7zoaIi">pic.twitter.com/vNsT7zoaIi</a></p> — Headspace (@Headspace) <a href="https://twitter.com/Headspace/status/861279481318617088">May 7, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>While the transformative aspect of Headspace is clear – with the aim of reducing the stresses and strains of everyday life – it could also be seen as revolutionary in a wider sense. By helping to bring awareness to mental health issues, it has also helped to change common perceptions, while making meditation a widely accepted part of modern life. </p> <p><em><strong>Related article:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68701-the-impact-of-the-sharing-economy-on-retail/" target="_blank">The impact of the sharing economy on retail</a></em></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69082 2017-05-12T10:00:00+01:00 2017-05-12T10:00:00+01:00 How Coca-Cola uses design to create a memorable customer experience Nikki Gilliland <p>Also at Summit was James Sommerville, VP of Global Design at The Coca Cola Company, talking about how Coke designs the digital experience to be every bit as real as the physical. </p> <p>Here are a few key takeaways from his talk.</p> <h3>Making Coke relevant for modern consumers</h3> <p>James kicked off with a question – how exactly can a brand stay relevant when its product hasn’t changed for over 131 years? </p> <p>This continues to be a big challenge for Coca Cola, but arguably, it has also been a factor in its success. After all, the Coca Cola brand is as instantly recognisable as the taste of the drink, meaning it does not need to work <em>too</em> hard to differentiate itself. </p> <p>But of course, in such a comptetive market, being recognisable to modern consumers is not enough. It needs to be relevant.</p> <p>James spoke about the importance of innovation within the company, specifically how it has used up-and-coming designers to help inform the evolution of its design. He cited the example of Jonathan Mak - a designer who created <a href="http://www.jonmak.com/Coke-Hands">'Coke hands'</a> - the image of two people shaking hands around a Coke bottle, built around the brand’s original and iconic ribbon design. By introducing the notion of togetherness, it naturally evoked the idea of people coming together to share enjoyment in the product.</p> <p>James also spoke about the ‘Contour Mash-up Project,’ which involved asking 100 designers around the world to create posters based on what they imagine the famous Coca Cola bottle will look like in the next 100 years.</p> <p>Not only did the results help Coca Cola to let go of some of its old rules of identity, but it also helped create a visual language for the brand. Some of the entries went on to inspire and directly inform the design of Coke products and brand experiences. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/6017/Coke_mash_up.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="479"></p> <p><em>#MashupCoke</em></p> <h3>Creating infectious campaigns</h3> <p><a href="http://www.coca-cola.co.uk/stories/share-a-coke">Share a Coke</a> is one of the most successful marketing campaigns of all time – bolstered by the force of social media and sheer consumer favour. Interestingly, James referenced it when speaking about the brand’s digital presence in out-of-home spaces such as Times Square.</p> <p>While displaying a name (e.g. ‘Sophie’ or ‘James’) on a digital billboard in the middle of New York sounds relatively simple – the impact for the consumer is huge. It enables the brand to use its digital presence to forge a one-to-one connection with the individual. Which, in such a saturated space, presents an incredibly valuable opportunity.</p> <p>It is not just personalised aspects that help consumers relate to the digital experience, of course. Coca Cola uses real-time effects in its out-of-home advertising, reflecting the surrounding context with things like weather-related imagery or news headlines. </p> <p>In doing so, it effectively becomes a live and ever-changing visual representation of the brand.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/6013/Coca_Cola_2.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="454"></p> <h3>Using history to say hello to the future</h3> <p>So, how will the Coca Cola brand continue to evolve in future?</p> <p>Unsurprisingly, its design hallmarks – such as the red disc and swirly font – will remain unchanged. However, with the aim of uniting the brand under a single identity, the different colours of products like Coke Zero and Coke Life will be replaced by a uniform red and silver. </p> <p>This fusion of the past and present continues in its campaign imagery. James cited old Norman Rockwell ads as inspiration behind the latest ‘Taste the Feeling’ campaign. Instead of taking direct influence, however, Coke ensures that the ads resonate with a modern audience by depicting decidedly modern experiences.</p> <p>Using the vintage style made famous by Rockwell – whose paintings are much-loved for their intense detail and storytelling - Coke pairs it with jarringly modern images, such as a young boy taking a selfie or girls sunbathing.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/6016/Coke_image.jpg" alt="" width="760" height="506"></p> <p>Meanwhile, as the official sponsors of the 2018 World Cup, Coca Cola will also aim to fuse together the two experiences evoked by both Coke and football. </p> <p>From the typeface (inspired by Russia) to the new product packaging (which will include score predictors on caps) – it is yet another example of a brand that continuously uses design to innovate as well as honour its long-standing history. </p> <p> <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/6015/typography.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="570"></p> <p><em><strong> Related articles:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/63175-10-inspiring-digital-marketing-campaigns-from-coca-cola/" target="_blank">10 inspiring digital marketing campaigns from Coca-Cola</a></em></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69022 2017-05-04T09:57:00+01:00 2017-05-04T09:57:00+01:00 Five fintech websites with crystal clear value propositions Ben Davis <p>So, when you look at the website of a digital-only bank, there is usually a very clear value proposition, with little obfuscation and jargon, one main message and no complex muddle of products.</p> <p>I've rounded up five financial services websites with crystal clear value propositions, to see what incumbents can learn.</p> <h3>1. N26</h3> <p>In case the homepage pictured below leaves you in any doubt, N26 is a mobile bank. The tagline, "Run your entire financial life from your phone", is about as clear as it gets, and N26 makes sure that the calls-to-action on the page ('open bank account') emphasise the ease with which consumers can sign up.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5711/n26_mobile.jpg" alt="n26" width="615" height="317"></p> <p>The straightforward language is continued on the bank account product page. "You'll never have to visit a bank again" – this takes what for some consumers is a negative of online banks (lack of branches) and spins it as a positive for the more mobile-savvy consumer who never wants to stand in a queue.</p> <p> <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5712/n26_one_account.jpg" alt="n26 " width="615" height="316"></p> <p>N26's homepage is matter of fact in stating the benefits of its accounts. There's little fluffy copy - "Open an account in under 8 minutes, withdraw from any ATM....get realtime push notifications with every transaction."</p> <p>Note that for all of the companies included on this list, images of the mobile interface are a vital part of marketing to their potential consumers. The interface is the product, just as much as the pricing details. Note, too, the lack of lifestyle images of smiling families that one typically sees on incumbent bank websites (<a href="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5740/barclays.jpg">here's an image of the Barclays homepage</a> above the fold at time of writing). Objects are captured to show the bank's place within a busy lifestyle (sun hat, passport, keys), but it is the product that inspires trust, not a persona.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5729/n26_features.jpg" alt="n26" width="615" height="335"></p> <p>The '8-minute' proposition is rammed home again when the user clicks to open an account, a nice touch to chivvy the user along.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5728/n26_signup.jpg" alt="n26" width="600" height="185"></p> <h3>2. Trov</h3> <p>Trov offers on-demand insurance. Here's an instance where images of people are appropriate, with the guitar-playing beach bum a strong indication that this insurance product is not as stuffy as all the others, and befits a roaming lifestyle.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5730/trov.jpg" alt="trov" width="615" height="336"></p> <p>Illustrations are used effectively. The message format is second nature to younger demographics and its inclusion here is a powerful indicator of a product that works on their terms.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5699/trov_claims.jpg" alt="trov website" width="300"></p> <p>Clicking the 'How it works' button in the top menu gives a very simple light box which demonstrates key features of the app. Once again, this is a very obvious example of a company selling the experience over and above its pricing.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5649/trov_slide_2.jpg" alt="trov" width="600"> </p> <h3>3. Acorns</h3> <p>Acorns is a micro-investment platform. The website is particularly good at communicating what the app does. That starts with some confident copywriting – 'Automatically invest life's spare change', followed by the assertion that 'anyone can grow wealth'.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5701/acorn_life_spare_change.jpg" alt="acorn" width="615" height="339"></p> <p>Acorns is very good at explaining how the app works, breaking the process down into three steps. The screenshot below shows the advantage that such focused apps enjoy over competition that provides multiple bespoke services – Acorns is able to distill down its proposition. Clarity is one step away from transparency, giving the consumer confidence. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5702/acorns_connect.jpg" alt="investing" width="615" height="342"></p> <p>Security is one marketing message that new fintech players have to convey, where incumbents can perhaps rely on their reputation as safe places for your money. Acorns' website addresses this issue, stating its 'serious security' credentials, including its membership of the SIPC.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5703/acorns_security.jpg" alt="security acorn" width="615" height="327"></p> <p>The $1/month pricing is attractive, offering little barrier to virgin investors, and the Acorns website lists exactly what such a modest fee gets you.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5704/acorns__1.jpg" alt="acorn" width="615" height="334"></p> <p>Lastly, I was impressed by the educational content on the Acorns website, designed to make sure its target customers do not feel out of their depth. There's a particularly good <a href="https://youtu.be/zWftVEaTNJg">explainer video</a> (clickable, too) and an FAQ-style section with some very simple questions answered, such as 'what is an ETF?'</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5700/what_acorns.jpg" alt="acorns content for beginners" width="450"> </p> <h3>4. ClearScore</h3> <p>ClearScore is one fintech company that is synonymous with clarity and great UX. Its homepage is probably the best and clearest value proposition in the sector.</p> <p>ClearScore uses the language of enfranchisement – 'your credit score <em><strong>should</strong></em> be free'. And powerfully declares 'Just free. Forever'. This proposition had a big effect on the competition, which followed suit in offering a free score.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5742/clearscore_home.jpg" alt="clearscore" width="615" height="307"></p> <p>Compare ClearScore to incumbent Experian, which looks pretty similar but notably includes much more information to try to assert its trustworthiness and functionality. ClearScore lives up to its name with a website that appears to exist simply to show the consumer their credit score, which is exactly what they want.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5743/experian.jpg" alt="experian" width="615" height="339"></p> <p>ClearScore even dares to declare its credit report beautiful. Again, the company is appealing to the part of the consumer that is fed up with wading through financial guff.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5647/clearscore_beautiful.jpg" alt="clearscore" width="800" height="392"></p> <p>The brand tries to be as transparent as possible when it comes to data, spam and risk-free score checking. These values are important to consumers who don't want their score or their inbox to be compromised simply because they are seeking information in order to improve their situation.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5646/clearscore_safe_hands.jpg" alt="clearscore" width="800" height="314"></p> <p>Testimonials offer further assurance.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5725/clearscore_testimonial.jpg" alt="clearscore" width="615" height="325"></p> <h3>5. Stash</h3> <p>Stash is another investment platform, like Acorns, which promotes small investments and low fees. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5723/stash_confidence.jpg" alt="stash" width="615" height="225"></p> <p>Stash uses similar messaging to Acorns but has a bit more emphasis on empowerment, rather than the ease/low risk which Acorns promotes. Stash appeals to a 'new generation' of investors and talks about its 'mission' to give everyone access to financial opportunities.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5706/stash_nw_gen.jpg" alt="new gen stash" width="615" height="333"></p> <p>Furthermore, Stash promotes investment portfolios that mean something to the investor.</p> <p>The 'invest in what matters' line is backed up with visuals that represent a range of ETFs, each with their own snappy title (see 'delicious dividends' further below).</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5707/stash_what_matters.jpg" alt="stash" width="615" height="338"></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5710/stash_port_2.jpg" alt="stash etf" width="615" height="318"></p> <p>An investment calculator with a slider helps small investors to project the success of their funds over the next 20 years – a powerful motivator to start today. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5708/stash_calc.jpg" alt="stash calc" width="615" height="311"> </p> <h3>In summary...</h3> <p>There are some obvious tropes used by these websites, each of which boils down to a focus on UX and transparency. Bold copywriting without too much detail, beautiful shots of the app interface, and calls-to-action to start today are all common place. </p> <p>It's not hard to see how, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68981-could-established-financial-services-firms-lose-a-quarter-of-their-revenue-to-fintechs/">according to a new study</a> conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers, established financial services firms could lose 24% of their revenue to fintechs in the next three to five years. As my colleague <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68981-could-established-financial-services-firms-lose-a-quarter-of-their-revenue-to-fintechs/">Patricio Robles points out</a>, fintech startups 'largely don't have to worry about large legacy systems, and their priorities aren't pulled in a million different directions because they don't have a million different lines of business.' This is evident on their websites.</p> <p>Incumbents are fighting back though, with mobile functionality and online services given more elbow room on the homepages of big banks, for instance. As <a href="https://thefinancialbrand.com/64990/digital-banking-fintech-challenger-growth-trends/">reported by The Financial Brand</a>, the incumbents are still in a very good position considering the 'stickiness' of customers in financial services, particularly banking.</p> <blockquote> <p>Challenger banks in the UK face an uninspiring average annual population growth rate (less than 1% over the last five years), and despite efforts to simplify the switching process, the Current Account Switch Service program has seen only 3 million accounts change hands since inception, roughly just 1.1% per year.</p> </blockquote> <p>One thing is for sure, though, those that do switch to new banks, insurers and the like can be fiercely loyal to those companies they see as tech and customer service pioneers. <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68866-monzo-outage-is-it-possible-to-fail-in-a-good-way/">The 2017 Monzo outage</a> proved that even in the face of failure, honesty and simplicity are strong brand characteristics.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69037 2017-05-02T14:22:35+01:00 2017-05-02T14:22:35+01:00 Four digital commerce lessons from fashion retailer Bonobos Bart Mroz <p dir="ltr">Many upstart ecommerce brands have great products and great ideas. But winning market share is no walk in the park. To win in the world of ecommerce, digital execution has to be flawless, and there has to be something distinctive that keeps customers coming back to buy.</p> <p dir="ltr">The site’s user interface is probably the top make-or-break factor, but there are other keys to success as well. </p> <p dir="ltr">One young brand that has impressed me since its debut a few years ago is Bonobos, a men’s apparel brand that has grown from zero to $100m of revenue in just one decade. Since it started back in 2007, Bonobos has been doing a lot of things right and pioneering strategies that have proven to be effective.</p> <h3 dir="ltr">1. Design product pages strategically</h3> <p dir="ltr">Each product page on Bonobos' website has a clean, elegant design – on both desktop and mobile versions. With <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-07-25/smartphones-overtake-computers-as-top-e-commerce-traffic-source">45%</a> of ecommerce traffic now taking place through mobile, it’s non-negotiable to design product pages to be mobile-friendly.</p> <p dir="ltr">Each pair of pants is professionally photographed, and, even on a small screen, Bonobos has made it easy to navigate and toggle between different colors. The product info is prominently displayed, with links to a fit guide and FAQs nearby.</p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5805/bonobos_homepage.png" alt="" width="700" height="414"></p> <p dir="ltr">When the customer is ready to buy, the website allows the customer to enter shipping and billing information all on the same page, meaning they can complete a purchase in just a couple clicks. </p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5806/bonobos_mobile_site.jpg" alt="" width="200">  <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5807/bonobos_mobile_site_2.jpg" alt="" width="200"></p> <p dir="ltr">This is important, because many ecommerce websites require that same information to be entered over the course of multiple different page loads, making it more likely that the customer will abandon the cart and the company will lose the sale.</p> <h3 dir="ltr">2. Play to your strengths and do one thing really well</h3> <p dir="ltr">Bonobos got its start because one of the founders, Brian Spaley, had a knack for tailoring men’s pants and creating a comfortable waistline. The concept was unique, and it ended up being the company’s main value proposition.</p> <p dir="ltr">The takeaway for aspiring ecommerce brands is that it pays to start by doing one thing really well.</p> <p dir="ltr">Today, Bonobos sells all sorts of men’s apparel, including shirts, shoes, ties, jackets, and more. But if it had started producing all of that back in 2007, the company might never have taken off like it did. Bonobos did one thing really well and built a brand around it. That simplicity informs the whole brand, and it even helps simplify customer service too.</p> <p dir="ltr">Besides, whenever you are ready to scale your product offering, it’s a lot easier to convince people to buy your shirt when they’re already loyal customers of your pants. Invest early in creating a handful of flagship products that will attract and retain a cult-like following. You can always build out from there.</p> <h3 dir="ltr">3. Leverage customer service as an opportunity for customer experience </h3> <p dir="ltr">Bonobos has also excelled in the area of customer experience, specifically customer service. It’s rooted in an entirely different philosophy about what customer service can achieve for the company.</p> <p dir="ltr">Whenever a customer has an issue with a Bonobos order, there’s no 1-800 number that sends customer calls to a contracted offshore call center where agents might not even be familiar with the product.</p> <p dir="ltr">Rather, customers interact through phone, email, or even chat with highly knowledgeable in-country staff — Bonobos calls them “Ninjas” — who expertly and meticulously handle each customer. The idea is that customer service isn’t an operational expense, but rather a business investment.</p> <p dir="ltr">So instead of being a nuisance, customer service issues are a second opportunity to engage customers in a highly positive experience with the the brand. </p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5808/bonobos_customer_service.png" alt="" width="200"></p> <h3 dir="ltr">4. Use stores as touchpoints for product discovery and customer experience</h3> <p dir="ltr">Unlike traditional companies, whose business model focused on attracting as many customers as possible into a physical store and later shifted to include online buying options, Bonobos and other upstart brands are native to the online environment.</p> <p dir="ltr">But Bonobos recognized early on that the convenience of online shopping wasn’t enough to win business. Many customers still want to feel, see, and try on products as well as receive individualized attention from a Bonobos staff member.</p> <p dir="ltr">So in 2012, Bonobos opened the first Guideshop, where customers can experience products in-person instead of just through a screen. The Guideshops function as an uncrowded service hub where customers make appointments, return any past purchases, try on new items, and complete purchases, which then get shipped directly to their homes.</p> <p dir="ltr">In the ecommerce era, we can expect to see more brands take this “reversed” approach, which mitigates a lot of fixed costs (particularly the cost of renting and maintaining a storefront) early on, when companies are more focused on hiring staff, developing initial supply chains and operations management, and overseeing product manufacturers.</p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5809/bonobos_shop.png" alt="" width="650" height="418"></p> <h3 dir="ltr">A retailer for the new age of retail</h3> <p dir="ltr">In the world of retail, few things have had as democratizing an effect as ecommerce. The old status quo has been turned on its head, and a new age of discovering and buying new products is finally upon us.</p> <p dir="ltr">For aspiring ecommerce entrepreneurs, building a company is a long, hard journey, but now is still a good time to get into the space. Look to companies like Bonobos that are pioneering new business strategies and making waves by designing environments — both digital and physical — that make shopping a delight.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong><em>For more on this topic, see:</em></strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68893-four-digital-priorities-for-retailers-in-2017/"><em>Four digital priorities for retailers in 2017</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68216-six-iconic-retailers-and-their-digital-transformation-journeys/"><em>Six iconic retailers and their digital transformation journeys</em></a></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69029 2017-04-27T10:54:14+01:00 2017-04-27T10:54:14+01:00 MealPal review: Are Londoners hungry for a lunch subscription service? Nikki Gilliland <p>I was lucky enough to bag a free trial recently, so what’s a girl to do other than write a review about it? Here’s what I thought of the whole process.  </p> <h4>What does MealPlan offer?</h4> <p>Originally launching in New York City, MealPlan is a lunch subscription service that lets you reserve food at a number of participating restaurants. It offers two plans – both of which last for 30 days – £4.79 per meal for 12 or £4.39 per meal for 20.</p> <p>Either way, it guarantees you will pay less than a fiver each time, along with the promise of your lunch being ready and waiting so you don’t have to queue.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5644/Flexible_plans.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="396"></p> <h4>Planning ahead</h4> <p>You can use the service through a dedicated app or via the main website.</p> <p>Once you’ve signed up, you will be instructed to reserve your meal between 5pm and 9:30am for the next day. If you miss this time slot, you’ll have to wait until the ‘kitchen’ is open again the following evening. This could prove mildly annoying for some, but I found it quite enjoyable to plan ahead.</p> <p>It’s also handy if you're someone who finds yourself stuck in a food rut. The participating restaurants are listed in a visually-pleasing map format, which you can then filter by specific location or type of food. This means you might come across places you've never tried before - plus it's actually quite fun to browse and see what everyone's dish of the day will be.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5658/IMG_4974.PNG" alt="" width="250"></p> <p>It's important to stress that <strong>there is only one choice of meal from each restaurant</strong>. However, this meal changes on a daily basis, meaning that you still get a decent amount of variety over the course of a week. It also helps facilitate the service in the first place, as it means restaurants can produce a higher volume of meals in a shorter time frame when there is no customisation involved.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5659/IMG_4975.PNG" alt="" width="250"></p> <h4>Skipping the queue (and deliberation)</h4> <p>Instead of paying more for delivery, MealPal is hoping that consumers will be drawn in by the prospect of paying less to pick up in person – getting one over on the likes of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68206-ubereats-vs-deliveroo-a-comparison-of-the-app-user-experience/" target="_blank">Deliveroo and UberEats</a>. Unsurprisingly, it heavily leans on the fact that consumers can skip the queue when they arrive.</p> <p>This is one area I was a little dubious about. It’s London after all – surely those already queuing will be less than pleased about people jumping ahead?</p> <p>Having said that, my experiences have so far been pretty seamless. More often than not, I have spotted other MealPal members politely enquiring at the side of counters and merely followed suit. If the company grows in popularity, however, one problem could be restaurants keeping on top of this demand at the same time as satisfying regular customers. </p> <p>Alongside the no-queue element, if you’re an indecisive sort, you might also enjoy the fact that you don’t have to make a decision on the spot. What's more, it means that you can actually spend more of your lunch break enjoying it rather than waiting around.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5660/IMG_4976.PNG" alt="" width="250"></p> <h4>Is it worth it?</h4> <p>I generally found there was no skimping on portion-size with MealPal, meaning you'd definitely be paying more if you ordered as a regular customer. You can also leave feedback on factors such as size and speed after each meal, and the app will learn your preferences over time in order to offer suggestions you might like.</p> <p>Overall, there’s no denying that it’s a viable way to save money for those who buy their lunch every day. Of course, success also depends on whether or not you’re guaranteed to use up all your meals within the time frame.</p> <p>This might put off customers from keeping subscriptions for the long-term, with a lack of freedom and repetitive menus being potential bugbears. Also keep in mind that, although most participating restaurants are littered in the City, Soho and Canary Wharf, there are more in some areas than others.</p> <p>Will I be signing up? I could be persuaded to give it a proper go in future, if cancelling membership is hassle-free. It beats going to Pret seven days a week anyway. </p> <p><strong><em>Related reading:</em></strong></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68197-which-restaurants-deliver-the-best-mobile-web-ux/" target="_blank">Which restaurants deliver the best mobile web UX?</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64445-why-aren-t-restaurants-taking-advantage-of-mobile-search/" target="_blank">Why aren't restaurants taking advantage of mobile search?</a></em></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69036 2017-04-27T10:52:19+01:00 2017-04-27T10:52:19+01:00 Six ways Aldo’s new mobile site streamlines the shopping experience Nikki Gilliland <p>Designed to make shopping more seamless across all channels, the mobile site in particular has got customer convenience in mind. Here are six features that deliver on the promise.</p> <h4>Prominent imagery and reviews</h4> <p>One major focus of Aldo’s redesign has been making it easier for mobile users to gain a more detailed view of the product – recognising that even in-store shoppers would like <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/9366-ecommerce-consumer-reviews-why-you-need-them-and-how-to-use-them/" target="_blank">customer reviews and ratings</a>.</p> <p>Reviews are now a prominent feature on all product pages, including information about general sizing, calf size and width. It even allows customers to give feedback on where or how they have worn the item – e.g. ‘wear it for prom or party’ – to give reviews much more depth.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5715/Product_pages_2.JPG" alt="" width="250"></p> <p>Alongside this, imagery is now at the forefront with photo galleries showcasing products from multiple angles. As well as giving a better view of the product, this also makes the mobile site look much more slick and polished.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5716/Product_pages.JPG" alt="" width="250"></p> <h4>Social tie-ins </h4> <p>Today, <a href="http://www.fourthsource.com/social-media/social-media-shopping-next-step-retail-21641" target="_blank">more than half of consumers</a> who follow a brand on social media say they do so to research products and find inspiration. In line with this changing user behaviour, Aldo has introduced user-generated content into its mobile site, with an Instagram feed embedded directly into the homepage.</p> <p>Not only does this draw on the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68409-four-key-trends-within-the-world-of-influencer-marketing/" target="_blank">power of influencers</a>, but it also helps to drive additional purchases, with the ‘Shop the look’ feature including multiple products in one image.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5717/Shop_the_Look.JPG" alt="" width="250"></p> <h4>In-store convenience</h4> <p>Recognising the fact that not everyone who browses online will want to checkout, the ‘Find a Store’ feature lets users locate the product to buy offline.</p> <p>Using geo-locational technology, it is super quick and easy to locate the store that’s nearest to you. With information on store opening times and an indication of how many items are in stock, it’s a highly effective way of driving offline conversions based on mobile interest. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5718/Find_a_store_2.JPG" alt="" width="250"></p> <h4>True-Fit technology</h4> <p>In a bid to <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68477-how-six-online-retailers-are-combatting-wrong-size-returns/" target="_blank">reduce returns</a>, Aldo is another retailer to integrate True Fit – technology that helps customers find the right size.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5719/TrueFit_2.JPG" alt="" width="250"></p> <p>By asking users the brand and size of a shoe that fits them particularly well, it is then able to tell them whether an item will be true to size, or whether to scale up or down.</p> <p>According to research, 60% of consumers say that they would be willing to provide information like this if it meant they'd be guaranteed the perfect fit first time. When it comes to shopping on mobile in comparison to in person, this reassurance can massively increase the likelihood of a transaction.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5720/True_Fit_3.JPG" alt="" width="250"></p> <h4>Post-purchase tracking</h4> <p>Of course, the customer journey does not end after the point of purchase, which is nicely highlighted by Aldo’s easy tracking feature.</p> <p>Instead of hiding it within a help or customer service section, this is located towards the bottom of the landing page, with large font to catch the user’s attention.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5721/Easy_tracking.JPG" alt="" width="250"></p> <p>As well as being useful post-purchase, it is also likely to instil confidence in those in the early browsing stages, indicating that the brand is focused on delivering good customer service.</p> <h4>Simplified checkout  </h4> <p>Multiple forms or mandatory sign-ups are likely to increase <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67120-12-ways-to-reduce-basket-abandonment-on-your-ecommerce-site/" target="_blank">basket abandonment rates</a>, and when it comes to mobile, customers have even less time for complicated processes.</p> <p>Aldo’s redesign has simplified this experience, giving users the option for a guest checkout as well as condensing everything into a single page.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5722/Checkout_2.JPG" alt="" width="250"></p> <p>Upfront delivery information and returns policies are also helpful for providing reassurance throughout the process, driving customers towards that all-important final purchase.</p> <p><em><strong>Related articles:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68465-eight-features-to-appreciate-on-fat-face-s-new-ecommerce-site/">Eight features to appreciate on Fat Face’s new ecommerce site</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66644-how-debenhams-site-redesign-led-to-ecommerce-sales-growth/" target="_blank">How Debenhams' site redesign led to ecommerce sales growth</a></em></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68908 2017-04-05T13:00:00+01:00 2017-04-05T13:00:00+01:00 Website design briefs: Be very careful what you ask for Paul Randall <p dir="ltr">Briefs typically go wrong for a very simple reason: they start off focusing in the wrong place. The list of requirements is usually framed along the lines of ‘We need the website to…’ The ‘we’ in question is, of course, the business commissioning the new site.</p> <p dir="ltr">This is more or less the normal mindset when agencies are briefed about redesigning a website or ecommerce store. It’s also, in my view, completely the wrong focus.</p> <p dir="ltr">And if your project starts off asking for the wrong things don’t be surprised if it doesn’t deliver the ROI you hoped for. It will then take a lot of effort and cost down the line to deliver the performance and conversions you need.</p> <h3 dir="ltr">A clearer way of thinking about your new site</h3> <p dir="ltr">There’s a simple change in the way you think about your new site and how you brief your agency. It’s one that could lead to a much better return on investment.</p> <p dir="ltr">Instead of, <em>‘we need to...’</em>, how about, <em>‘our customers need to...’</em></p> <p dir="ltr">If everything you ask for in your redesign brief is based on what you believe your business needs, where does that leave your customers? Sure, business goals matter. There has to be a clear picture of how your new site fits into your wider business goals. They absolutely should influence the project brief - more than is often the case.</p> <p dir="ltr">Having a clear and common understanding of what results you want the new site to achieve (how many more sales or enquiries, in what areas of your business), will be an improvement on many briefs. But you can, and should, go further.</p> <p dir="ltr">The <a title="UX Project Checklist" href="https://uxchecklist.github.io/" target="_blank">UX Project Checklist</a> is a great place to start looking at all the components you'll need for a successful website.</p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4788/Screen_Shot_2017-03-17_at_11.16.27.png" alt="UX Project Checklist" width="1266" height="613"></p> <h3 dir="ltr">Customers are your business</h3> <p dir="ltr">Your business goals can only be achieved through the <em><strong>behaviour</strong></em> of your customers. So how can it make sense if they are anything less than the focal point of the website project? </p> <p dir="ltr">Think back to the last time you briefed a web agency. How much weight did you put on customers: what they want to do, what they like, what turns them off? Did you have reliable insights into any of these?</p> <p>The big advantage (and challenge) of focusing on customer intent and preferences is that there are no shortcuts. To get to this level of clarity there’s no room for the easy assumptions, generalisations and misplaced optimism that end up in low conversion rates and poor returns. To understand your customers you need structured effort, proper research, data and careful observation.</p> <p dir="ltr">The benefit of this effort is that your new site is designed to deliver the user experience your customers crave - and which you’re currently failing to deliver. And to do this from day one!</p> <h3 dir="ltr">Audience Personas - so what?</h3> <p dir="ltr">You certainly need to go way beyond writing a set of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66976-are-your-audience-personas-really-helping-to-inform-your-content-strategy/">audience personas</a> and pinning them on the wall to remind the developers who the site is for.</p> <p dir="ltr">You, or your design agency, can learn a surprising amount from your current site before dismissing it completely. There, you have information showing how people move through the site, where they drop off and where they fail to convert. You probably also have onsite search data that might indicate unsatisfied user intent.</p> <p dir="ltr">You can supplement these insights with usability studies to get a deeper level of understanding. Analytics may point out where the problems are, but not why!</p> <p dir="ltr">The start of every new website project should always involve an investigation into the existing site to find the strengths and the weaknesses before starting again from scratch. You have to remember if you alienate your existing customers, there is a higher chance they will leave. Retention isn’t thought of as much as acquisition in new site builds.</p> <p dir="ltr">It could be that you don’t want to start your redesign straight away. You can <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67249-a-beginner-s-guide-to-a-b-testing/">A/B split test</a> enhancements and new landing pages before you incorporate them in your new site. That way you can prove that they really do give users an experience they value.</p> <p dir="ltr">From these insights you can build a clearer picture of the user experience you need to deliver across your site. You’ll have a more meaningful design brief. The brief will be based around creating the user experience that will serve up the business results you need. </p> <h3 dir="ltr">Understand intent</h3> <p dir="ltr">Document, in detail, the journeys that will allow customers to fulfil their intent as quickly and easily as possible. Be clear about how customers will expect to interact with your new site. Specify what they will need to learn or understand along the route to a successful conversion. These are the questions that so often go unasked. Customer fears, uncertainties and doubts are conversion killers!</p> <p dir="ltr">When you think you know the answers you can develop and user test wireframes and prototypes, based on streamlined user journeys. Leave nothing to chance. You’ll then be in a happier position of launching the new site with confidence.</p> <p dir="ltr">You’ll be as sure as you can be that it delivers the best user experience possible - because your customers were in the driving seat from the outset.</p> <h3 dir="ltr">Are you really ready to brief your agency?</h3> <ul> <li>Can you clearly articulate what different users will want to do on your site and how they will travel through your content?</li> <li>Do you know how you need to speak to your customers? Could you say what their favourite film is likely to be, what they read, what TV programmes they like? These questions will tell you a lot about the language and images needed to engage and persuade them.</li> <li>Can you list five things customers most value and most hate about your current site? How do you know?</li> <li>Do you have a clear conversion process and can you quantify how your new site needs to perform at each stage?</li> <li>Can you specify exactly what you will need to measure on your new site (over and above the obvious stuff like bounce rates)?</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">If all that sounds too difficult there’s always the easy way out: find an agency that doesn’t ask tricky questions and hope for the best.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em><strong>Subcribers can download Econsultancy's <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/user-experience-and-interaction-design-for-mobile-and-web/">User Experience and Interaction Design for Mobile &amp; Web</a></strong></em></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68880 2017-03-27T14:06:45+01:00 2017-03-27T14:06:45+01:00 10 of the best digital agency websites Ben Davis <p>Most are from <a href="http://digitalagencies.econsultancy.com/">Econsultancy's Top 100 Agencies 2016 report</a>, which has a UK flavour, but not all of them feature there. Am I an expert? Not really, but I've shown my workings below...</p> <h3>1. Made by Many</h3> <p>Made by Many has an incredibly charming website. The delightfully naive, <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Shrigley">Shrigley-esque</a> logo is echoed in much of the typography, and high quality illustrations help to give a warm and integrity-laden feel.</p> <p><a href="https://madebymany.com/"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4793/made_by_many.jpg" alt="made by many" width="800" height="413"></a></p> <p>Here are some of my favourite bits...</p> <p>A blog with lovely illustrations of each author.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4794/blog.jpg" alt="made by many blog" width="800" height="413"></p> <p>Big and convincing testimonials, including photos of the client in question.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4791/testimonial.jpg" alt="made by many" width="800" height="411"></p> <p>A little side menu in the header, containing categories, side projects and events, each of which are beautifully represented. The side projects contain some ingenious little endeavours, such as a solution to let the agency's studio dwellers know when the toilet is vacant.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4795/side_projects.jpg" alt="is the toilet free?" width="800" height="415"></p> <p>The events page is worthy of framing.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4790/events.jpg" alt="events made by many" width="800" height="414"></p> <p>A newsletter sign-up. Not all that common to see one of these so prominent on an agency website, but definitely a good idea, to ensnare those that might be considering enlisting a new agency.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4792/newsletter.jpg" alt="made by many newsletter" width="800" height="413"></p> <h3>2. Stink Studios</h3> <p>The Stink Studios website exudes the same kind of cool you get from those infrequently-published fashion magazines you see in the newsagents with titles such as 'The Gentlewoman' or 'sum zine'.</p> <p>There's a confidence in the typography, white space above the fold, and lack of showing off with any scrolling trickery. It looks just as cool on mobile, too. The Stink group used to consist of Stink Films, Stinkdigital and Stinkstudios but at the beginning of this year, the latter two were fused together.</p> <p>It feels significant that the word 'digital' has disappeared. On the website itself, you aren't bombarded with digital guff, rather the work speaks for itself, and happens to include digital assets.</p> <p><a href="http://www.stinkstudios.com/"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4746/stink.jpg" alt="stink studios" width="800" height="439"></a></p> <p>I should probably pick out a few UX/design details I noticed and liked.</p> <p>Scroll down quickly on the News or Work or Contact pages and watch how nicely the images perform their lazy load. Lovely squares in graduated pastel patiently wait for their images to overlay, meaning the page looks cool whether the images have loaded or not.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4747/lazy.jpg" alt="stink studios" width="800" height="444"></p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">There's a quirky little fact rotator on the careers page.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4745/facts.gif" alt="agency facts" width="360" height="225"></p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">Scrolling down any page, you can move your mouse to the left margin and the header menu will appear down the left-hand side, so you can navigate without needing to scroll back to the top.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4748/side_menu_stink.jpg" alt="stink side menu" width="800" height="416"></p> <h3>3. DigitasLBi</h3> <p style="font-weight: normal;">I was occasionally a little disoriented when clicking around LBi's new website. But, heck, it was fun. And eventually you realise it's all there in the header menu.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">There is no real way to do the website justice, other than telling you to explore it, so I have simply collected a variety of intriguing screenshots. It is bold, colourful and feels unique.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;"><em>Inspired by <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65065-30-little-things-i-love-about-the-new-virgin-america-website/">Virgin America</a>?</em></p> <p style="font-weight: normal;"><a href="http://www.digitaslbi.com/en-us/"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4749/america.jpg" alt="unicorns" width="800" height="439"></a></p> <p style="font-weight: normal;"><em>Careers</em></p> <p style="font-weight: normal;"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4753/careers2.jpg" alt="careers lbi" width="800" height="443"></p> <p style="font-weight: normal;"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4754/careers.jpg" alt="careers lbi" width="800" height="442"></p> <p style="font-weight: normal;"><em>People</em></p> <p style="font-weight: normal;"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4751/linkedin.jpg" alt="lbi linkedin" width="800" height="438"></p> <p style="font-weight: normal;"><em>More unicorn</em></p> <p style="font-weight: normal;"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4750/chicago.jpg" alt="digitaslbi" width="800" height="441"></p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">Look out for the yearbook (shown below), where DigitasLBi produces a little vignette every single day to show off a member of staff or a piece of work.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4755/yearbook.jpg" alt="lbi yearbook" width="800" height="442"></p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">There's some very creative video of staff, too, capturing their hobbies.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;"><a href="http://www.digitaslbi.com/en-gb/people"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4752/people.jpg" alt="digitas people videos" width="800" height="444"></a></p> <p style="font-weight: normal;"><em>And a great 404</em></p> <p style="font-weight: normal;"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4764/404.jpg" alt="404" width="800" height="420"></p> <h3>4. Sagmeister &amp; Walsh</h3> <p>If you're a client of Sagmeister &amp; Walsh, you can simply visit the agency's homepage to check whether the staff are working hard or not. Yes, the homepage is live video from the agency's offices.</p> <p><a href="http://sagmeisterwalsh.com/"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4860/sag_home.jpg" alt="sagmeister and walsh home" width="800" height="442"></a></p> <p>The website, with plenty of black and white, and 'plain text' font appears basic at first glance – just look at the 'services' and 'clients' sections on the 'about' page below.</p> <p>However, the agency, which has heritage in print and identity design, is fairly obviously just projecting its ridiculously confident personality.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4858/sag_services.jpg" alt="sagmeister and walsh services" width="800" height="443"></p> <p>In the 'News' and 'Work' sections of the site, colour finally reigns. One of the nice bits of UX when you're navigating the site is a chunky 'x' for a cursor, and all-in-all you do get the feel of a luxury brand (indeed, the agency has worked with many luxury clients).</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4859/sag_blog.jpg" alt="sagmeister and walsh blog" width="800" height="441"></p> <p><em>Work</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4857/sag_work.jpg" alt="sagmeister and walsh work" width="800" height="444"></p> <p>Clicking through to individual case studies, the imagery is really nicely presented, and the way it fills the page makes it seem as if you are flicking through a coffee table book.</p> <p>The design is left to speak for itself, with little accompanying text unless you click to see project info.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4856/sag_jewish_museum.jpg" alt="sagmeister and walsh work" width="800" height="414"></p> <h3>5. Clearleft</h3> <p>Another agency that has redesigned its website in 2017, Clearleft is my favourite on this list. As you'd expect from an agency with its roots in usability, the website is just beautifully easy to navigate and its information easy to absorb.</p> <p>And it doesn't stop at the typography and the layout, the case studies are impressively extensive, the people profiles informative (and not cutesy) and the blog articles very measured and insightful (showing passion, too).</p> <p><em>Homepage</em></p> <p><a href="https://clearleft.com/"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4756/clearleft_home.jpg" alt="clearleft home" width="800" height="491"></a></p> <p><em>Client stories</em></p> <p><em><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4758/client_stories.jpg" alt="client stories" width="800" height="441"></em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4757/client_stories_2.jpg" alt="clearleft client stories" width="800" height="436"></p> <p><em>Case study</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4759/clearleft_case_study.jpg" alt="case study" width="800" height="442"></p> <p><em>People</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4760/clearleft_people.jpg" alt="clearleft people" width="800" height="440"></p> <p><em>Posts</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4761/clearleft_blog.jpg" alt="clearleft posts" width="800" height="431"></p> <h3>6. Hugo &amp; Cat</h3> <p>There are a number of websites I have selected because of their sheer simplicity of message.</p> <p>Hugo &amp; Cat employs simple and powerful copywriting with great contrast between typography, illustration and background. Examples of copywriting:</p> <ul> <li>'We transform relationships between brands and people'</li> <li>'Going beyond delivery'</li> <li>'Calling a new generation'</li> <li>'Turning fun into fans'</li> <li>'Collaboration that creates powerful results'</li> </ul> <p><em>Homepage</em></p> <p><a href="http://www.hugoandcat.com/"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4822/hugo_cat_home.jpg" alt="hugo &amp; cat" width="800" height="415"></a></p> <p><em>Contact page</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4833/love_to_hear_from_you.jpg" alt="hugo &amp; cat contact page" width="800" height="416"></p> <p>The most striking part of the design is on the individual client work pages.</p> <p>Though they all use the same templates – with clearly presented copy and images, and detail on the type of work and what awards it has won – each page uses a different colour scheme, and this brings a really strong visual thread through the agency's work.<strong><br></strong></p> <p><em>Work template</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4819/template.jpg" alt="work template - hugo &amp; cat" width="800" height="414"></p> <p><em>Various case study headers</em></p> <p> <em><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4821/camper.jpg" alt="camper work - hug &amp; cat" width="800" height="412"></em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4818/ireland.jpg" alt="ireland work - hugo &amp; cat" width="800" height="415"></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4820/sony.jpg" alt="sony work page - hug &amp; cat" width="800" height="414"></p> <h3>7. Bolden</h3> <p>Netherland-based Bolden has a homepage that looks slightly confused (if cool) until you scroll over either the blue or red filter in either corner (see further below).</p> <p>The blue translucent style font is used throughout and is very effective.</p> <p><a href="http://www.bolden.nl/"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4867/bolden_home.jpg" alt="bolden home" width="800" height="444"></a></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4866/bolden_home_blue.jpg" alt="bolden home blue filter" width="800" height="443"></p> <p>Bolden is one of the only websites on this list that uses black and white imagery on its case studies page. The stylised images really help to intrigue the user, with a title showing on rollover with the mouse.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4868/bolden_cases.jpg" alt="bolden cases" width="800" height="440"></p> <p>And lastly, Bolden lays claim to the coolest 'about' page of the lot, beginning with a simple list of names of each member of staff. Again in that icey translucent blue.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4869/bolden_about.jpg" alt="bolden about" width="800" height="440"></p> <h3>8. Code</h3> <p>Code (formerly Code Computerlove) is another agency with big colours and chunky typography. Beginning as a minimal viable product, this website is consequently very easy to navigate and does the job you feel a website for any smallish independent agency should do. </p> <p><a href="https://www.codecomputerlove.com/"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4865/code_home.jpg" alt="code homepage" width="800" height="440"></a></p> <p><em>Simple copywriting</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4864/code_partners.jpg" alt="code partners" width="800" height="443"></p> <p>The 'work' pages positively zing in client brand colours with a big hero logo and a question that sums up the brief. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4863/code_amnesty.jpg" alt="amnesty code" width="800" height="441"></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4862/code_asda.jpg" alt="code asda" width="800" height="442"></p> <h3>9. Rawnet</h3> <p>The word that best describes Rawnet's website is 'memorable'.</p> <p>Ultra bold colours and typography, and full-screen imagery along with a far-from-conventional sideways scroll on desktop (for many pages, barring individual case studies), means this is an agency website you're unlikely to see copied by its competition.</p> <p>The sideways scrolling is certainly interesting, but arguably a little confusing, especially as on a few pages my trackpad seemed happier when I motioned to scroll down (which took the page sideways). Those potential customers who don't like experimentation, may be put off - no bad thing, perhaps.</p> <p><em>Case studies (sideways scroll)</em></p> <p><a href="http://www.rawnet.com/case-studies"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4796/case_studies_rawnet2.jpg" alt="Rawnet cases studies" width="800" height="406"></a></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4800/case_studies_rawnet.jpg" alt="rawnet cae studies" width="800" height="405"></p> <p><em>Hero illustration for a case study page</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4798/playstaion.jpg" alt="rawnet case study" width="800" height="416"></p> <p><em>Chunky typography</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4799/write_the_future.jpg" alt="rawnet contact" width="800" height="415"></p> <h3>10. dogstudio</h3> <p>Last on the list is Belgium's dogstudio. I have to admit that the only reason I added it here is because I love the way that the work is presented on the homepage – click and you're taken to the client's actual website (designed by dogstudio), rather than to a long case study page.</p> <p>I love this idea (and that it opens in a new tab) because it encourages engagement with their work, and cuts down on marketing spiel.</p> <p><a href="http://www.dogstudio.be/"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4871/dogstudio_work.jpg" alt="dogstudio work" width="800" height="443"></a></p> <p>There's some slightly more off-the-wall imagery and copy, too.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4872/make_good_shit.jpg" alt="dogstudio" width="800" height="443"></p> <p>And a very creative contact page. I have only captured one example in the GIF below, but the message here cycles at least 20 times, containing some strange, perhaps even inappropriate sentences ("If you like hitting on grandmas..").</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4870/gif_like_dogs.gif" alt="dogstudio gif" width="600"> </p> <p>And on that note, we come to the end of our list.</p> <p><em><strong>Agree? Disagree? What makes a great agency website - let us know below.</strong></em></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68910 2017-03-27T12:04:45+01:00 2017-03-27T12:04:45+01:00 Why so many website relaunches fail (but shouldn’t have) Paul Randall <p dir="ltr">But this is 2017. Surely, we have better tools than ever to unearth what it is customers want. We’ve never been better equipped to test web pages before they are rolled out. So why do brands continue to make a hash of launching a new site?</p> <p dir="ltr">One basic reason might be the temptation to go for a big bang launch, complete with PR fanfare. Great if it works. But what if conversion rates suddenly drop through the floor? </p> <p dir="ltr">You won’t have enough usable analytics data to identify where the problems are so you’ll either have to make changes and hope for the best, or quickly restore the old site. When you can make a series of controlled and tested incremental improvements, why take the risk of the big bang relaunch? That’s the riskiest thing you could do!</p> <p dir="ltr">It’s interesting to compare the approaches of Google+ and LinkedIn when they relaunched. LinkedIn seemed to do a great job of annoying the hell out of some of its most important users by plonking the new version on their desktops without much warning (I'm referring to LinkedIn's previous relaunch here, not the one currently underway).</p> <p dir="ltr">These people shared, very publicly, what they didn’t like about the new version. As the roll-out gradually reached other users there was an expectation that they wouldn’t like what they were about to see – even though for most of us it turned out to be okay.</p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5026/old_linkedin.jpg" alt="" width="700" height="622"></p> <p dir="ltr">Google+, on the other hand, went out of its way to keep users informed. Google ran the new and old versions side by side for several months and people could switch back and forth at will. By the time the new version was fully rolled out there had been changes based on the feedback and there was very little outcry.</p> <p dir="ltr">The BBC website is also one that seems to be in a constant state of development. It offers new options for keeping up with news, sports results etc., that you can try out, but always with the option of going back to what’s familiar. When new features are fully rolled out, users have been involved and everything is thoroughly tested.</p> <p dir="ltr">Surely this is a smarter way to approach website upgrades and relaunches. Compare this to CNN which, in a desire to ‘update and refresh’, launched a site that used more resources and made it harder for readers to find the news that interested them – users hated it. Or how about the legendary <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/6477-is-digg-digging-itself-into-a-hole-with-its-new-design">Digg.com relaunch that almost killed the business</a>.</p> <h3>Learn from your current site before relaunching</h3> <p dir="ltr">A classic mistake is to assume there’s nothing to learn from your existing site. Okay, it’s going to get binned. But you have thousands of customers using it every day providing data on what they want, how they want to do things and what they find difficult. You need to make use of that data.</p> <p dir="ltr">Yes, it does make sense to do usability studies even on a site you are replacing. That way you can focus on improving the parts people dislike, and keep hold of the things you know they like and use.</p> <p dir="ltr">And while you’re at it, talk to your customer service teams. They’ll have some excellent insights to offer on where people find the current website troublesome, as well at where there’s room for improvements to be made.</p> <h3 dir="ltr">What does your business need to achieve?</h3> <p dir="ltr">Every business has targets: the number of new customers, sales growth by product/service category, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/customer-lifetime-value/">lifetime customer value</a>, cost of acquisition. How often do these business goals feed directly (and I mean <em>directly</em>) into your website redesign?</p> <p dir="ltr">It’s one thing to launch a new website because you need to increase sales by 20%. It’s quite another to identify exactly <em>how</em> the new site and the activities that feed traffic to it will achieve that goal. And it’s yet another thing to have the test data to show that the new site will deliver the conversions you need.</p> <p dir="ltr">Businesses rarely approach website relaunches with this degree of confidence. That’s because they don’t join up the dots between what the business needs to achieve and what the website is designed to deliver. And they rarely put those assumptions to the test before they launch. Result: disappointing return on the investment.</p> <p dir="ltr">With clear goals and certainty about the weak areas on your current site you can focus the development priorities more productively. Are your current below-target sales because people struggle to select the right products, or because too many shoppers abandon carts before completing a purchase? It certainly helps to know.</p> <h3 dir="ltr">What user experience do you want to create?</h3> <p dir="ltr">You’ve collected data and insights on current issues. You’ve blended these with the business goals you need to achieve. The next step is to define a user experience that will satisfy customers and deliver your goals.</p> <p dir="ltr">What, exactly, do people need to do on your site? How are you going to make this simple, enjoyable and rewarding?</p> <p dir="ltr">Draft a succinct and crystal clear statement for each key page across the website that defines the main objective(s) for your new, improved customer experience. Refer back to this constantly as you design and build the new solution to ensure you’re still focusing on your primary objectives.</p> <h3 dir="ltr">What does your brand stand for?</h3> <p dir="ltr">A website redesign is an excellent opportunity to revisit your fundamental brand values. What do you stand for? What is it that particularly appeals to your customers?</p> <p dir="ltr">What needs do you meet, what value do you create, and why do you do it better than your competition? What emotional drivers decide how visitors will act? Do they want to picture themselves as being more healthy, successful, in control, influential or contented? Or are they looking for something else?</p> <p dir="ltr">This analysis will guide colours, imagery, typography, content and vocabulary. Your insights will help you create more powerful CTAs and better performing landing pages.</p> <p dir="ltr">Here’s a great example of some content guidelines we recently came across from the team at uSwitch:</p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4825/Screen_Shot_2017-03-17_at_15.32.32.png" alt="uSwitch tone chart" width="790" height="274"></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>uSwitch tone chart guide: <a href="https://ustyle.guide/language/tone.html">https://ustyle.guide/language/tone.html</a> </em></p> <h3 dir="ltr">Making it real</h3> <p dir="ltr">So now you’re clear about what your target audience think of your current website; you understand how the new site needs to perform, and how it needs to support visitors on their journey to becoming customers. What now?</p> <p dir="ltr">Wireframes let you test the structure and navigation against defined user journeys. How obvious will each step be? Are there too many steps? You can design the prompts and help users will need at each stage. You can make better informed decisions about content, headings and CTAs.</p> <p dir="ltr">Design visuals start to build a realistic picture of the look and feel of the new site that you can test against the business objectives and brand values.</p> <p dir="ltr">Everything you design can, and should, be tested before launch on a variety of devices. There are great tools out there for usability and A/B split testing that will take the risk out of your new web pages. </p> <h3 dir="ltr">The testing never stops</h3> <p dir="ltr">Launch isn’t the time to put your feet up. It’s a time to dive into the data and see whether all the hard work is paying off. It’s a time to be plotting tests and optimisation efforts to keep the metrics improving and to squeeze even more value out of your investment.</p> <p dir="ltr">The digital world moves quickly. Technologies emerge, and your customers will be trying to outdo your user experience. Plan how you are going to stay ahead in the long term.</p>