When your virtual world doesn’t reflect your actual one

By Geff Harper on Jun 20, 2017
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One of the big challenges faced by businesses in the digital era is how to replicate and align their physical business with their digital one. How do you articulate your culture in a few short lines or a couple of pictures? How do you interject all the human elements that create your excellent customer service, your care and passion? It’s not easy, that’s for sure, and it’s a large part of the reason digital agencies like us exist.

We recently built a new site for one of our clients who had experienced this very problem.  Their catalyst for getting in touch with us was when a customer of theirs,  after buying one of their products online, got in touch to say how surprised she was at the amazing quality of the item. The reason for her surprise was that given the quality of the image of the product on the website, coupled with the design/feel of the website, she simply hadn’t expected what she got. In many ways, that’s pretty darn good feedback, but when you think about, how many other potential customers never converted because they perceived the quality of the product to be less it actually was? One of the main metrics for any online business is click-through-rates, so this was an issue.

When the client came to us, they knew exactly what they wanted, but we didn’t know them. We spent a lot of time on their premises meeting face to face, doing deep dives into their business, history, culture, aspirations and brand. Take all that information and couple it with the ideas and designs they already had, and we were able to build a new responsive e-commerce site that far exceeded their expectations. It paid enough homage to their old site and branding that their existing customer base wasn’t faced with a revamp they couldn’t connect with, but incorporated all the elements that had been missing.

As I alluded to at the beginning of this blog, telling a story in a thousand words is pretty easy. Telling the same story in less than 100 is really hard. Write too much your customer won’t read it, write too little and they might miss the message all together. Getting that balance and coupling it with right imagery, usability and navigation is, I guess, pretty much the definition of UX and UI design. In a digital world full of acronyms and conflicting and confusing definitions, it’s possible to lose sight of what the actual goal is, but this project to me summed it up perfectly. You want a customer's digital journey to be as engaging, personal and enjoyable as it would be if they were standing in your showroom speaking with you in person. You manage that, then you have a great digital platform.

Geff’s been in design for nearly 20 years, in digital for the last 10. Geff uses User-Centred Design principles to develop CX and UX that delivers for clients. He loves problem solving, leading design sprints and prototyping. Geff advocates strongly for user feedback and enjoys the challenge of creating solutions that positively impact user behaviour and interaction with technology.

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