Deep, insightful understanding
All our projects, large or small, begin here. We can only really help a client when we truly understand not just the brief but also – who our clients are and what makes them tick.
Investing time in this deeper level of understanding from the outset is what provides us with the insight and ability to make recommendations that will deliver measurable and meaningful results for our clients whilst also providing great experiences for their audiences.
We’re curious by nature. So it’s only natural that when we start a new project, we ensure that we find out as much as we can about you. We do this using a number of different processes and techniques, some we can perform in house, whilst others are based on client facing workshops, discovery meetings, interviews and more.
- The more we get to know you, the better and more appropriate our ideas and suggestions will be
- It’s all too easy to assume – we make it our priority to know
- When we understand, we can zone in on key issues and solve them quickly and efficiently
It’s only when we have a set of clear, understandable metrics that we can start to affect real, measurable change and ROI.
Whilst we’re naturally interested in a site’s analytics we’re not huge fans of simply running automated bots over a site and calling it an autdit. Instead, we prefer to assess a client’s site from the big picture, macro perspective right down into the micro detail. We’ll go the extra distance to really understand how and why a site ticks, where it’s underperforming and what actions and metrics can be put in place to really know when and how it’s improved.
- Insightful and measurable understanding of how your site is performing
- Meaningful metrics that can help to justify additional activity
- More than just an automated bot searches and reporting
Some clients couldn’t give two hoots about their competitors, whilst others never stop talking about them. Some don’t have any competitors at all! However, all clients will have content, products or services that need to presented in the best possible manner. We use competitor analysis to ensure we fully understand who’s doing a great job and who’s really dropping the ball; both instances are useful and insightful for us. We can use this to inform, avoid and differentiate as necessary, all the while ensuring that what we plan and design for you is carefully considered, on target and unique.
- Saves time
- Avoids painful mistakes that competitors have already made
- Ensures brand and content differentiation
It’s all too easy to assume that you already know what your audiences expect from your website. After all – you know your products and you know your sector right?
Whilst we’re strong proponents of heuristic design, we’re also only too aware that a website can truly miss the mark if it doesn’t consider its key audience’s needs:
- Investors will want to see how their investment is performing
- Employees and prospect may well want to see that a company or organisation has a great culture, supports staff and is growing
- Customers are primarily interested in your products or services, but may have all manner of queries or comments and will want direct contact with you
- Press will want to know who to speak to when you make that big announcement
They often have very different needs and expectations. Often from the same website.
One of our key roles is to ensure that your project is planned, written and built around your audience’s specific needs & expectations, whilst maintaining your key business and operational requirements in focus the throughout.
- Ensures your project is designed & built around real user’s needs
- Never forgets the key business requirements
- Provides meaningful content, functionality as well as measurable calls to action
Once we understand who your audience is, we can start to build individual ‘User Profiles’ that help the whole team – e.g clients, content writers, designers, testers etc. to understand and recognise typical users of the project. Their level of detail will vary, however aspects like age, gender, interests, salary, job role etc can all help us to really understand and step around in the shoes of different users, understanding their motivations, concerns, expectations etc.
- Ensures a project remains user focussed
- Avoids making assumptions that a client, content writer or designer might make
- Fast, insightful and flexible
User Journey Mapping
Whilst it’s important to plan a site architecture and build wireframes to understand what content and functionality is required – it’s not until you put a specific user’s hat on and try and walk around a website that you truly start to understand where content or functionality is easy to find, use or interact with. Especially when you consider that one user’s motivation or requirement could be quite different from another user.
We use the User Journey process to identify critical tasks that particular users will need to make – their journey may start off site (especially if the user is a prospect user who may not have heard of the client’s brand or service) – where do they land in the site? Is it the homepage or can we target them more specifically and present them with a more tailored landing page with context specific information and calls to action that can all be measured and refined?
- Rapid process that saves time and budget
- Can be performed on existing as well as new projects
- Can be enormously effective in identifying why a site isn’t performing as hoped
- Often many small wins can be identified which can make significant improvements to user’s experiences
Information Architecture (IA)
Following our client discovery and research processes, we begin our IA workshops, where our aim is to prioritise key messaging, content hierarchy, toolsets, user segmentation, features, business functions etc. – essentially building a structure which is easily navigable and intuitive.
Sitemaps are generally the first output from these sessions and become the foundation on which next steps in the process, like wireframing and prototyping are built on. Workshops will often involve work on whiteboards, stickies, sketching, much discussion and when appropriate card sorting.