Hello, What Next?

We’ve just launched a new website for Northwest-based HR and coaching company, What Next Consultancy.

We developed a bold new brand identity, which not only provides a distinct and recognisable look and feel, but also act as a vehicle for delivering core marketing messages.

Here’s a taster…

wn-homepage1Check out the snazzy video interludes on the homepage:

wn-homepage2Does this page make you want biscuits and coffee?

wn-blog1Most importantly, what did the Jo say about the result?

“When I decided to completely revamp my website, I approached Group Dane because of the unique and very different websites I’d seen them produce for their clients. I wanted a website that was quirky, but chic, reflecting the personality and ethos of my company. I was not disappointed; I’m now the proud owner of a very individual website, which matches my brief exactly and is streets apart from my competitors. I have been extremely impressed with Group Dane’s professionalism and how they truly go the extra mile. Their customer service is exemplary and I’d recommend them to anyone.”

– Jo Banks, Managing Director at What Next Consultancy (UK) Ltd

Take a look at the finished product: www.whatnextconsultancy.co.uk and find out more about the project on our case study.

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Putting customers first: UX and customer experience

You’ve probably read and heard lots of people in the digital marketing industry talking about user experience (UX) and how important it is to achieving your website’s objectives. Similarly, more biz-wigs are talking about how important customer experience is to your business. Both of these whisperings are true, but how do they relate to each other?

User experience versus customer experience

The term user experience (UX) refers to your customers’ relationship with your digital interfaces…how they feel about these interactions and how they behave and interact with your brand online through your website and any other digital platform or software you’re using.

On the other hand, customer experience refers to the complete experience, perceptions and interactions with your company as a whole. This includes how they found your business (for example online, on the high street, in the yellow pages, etc), their experience or interactions with your business (i.e. online, on the telephone, at your office or shop, etc) and how the relationship has progressed through continued contact (such as repeat purchases, product support, marketing emails and advertising).

use-it

Get on UX

UX is just one piece of the overall customer experience jigsaw, but it is also likely to be one of the first points of contact between your business and its customers. This is because, like you and me, many customers check out a company’s websites before making any kind of contact. It’s really important that customers (existing and potential ones) have an online experience that is positive and reflects the overall desired customer experience.

Ensure that your website’s UX is strong by checking accessibility standards and carrying out user testing; take a close look at design, content and site architecture.

Consistency is key (and lovely)

Once you have your UX polished, you need to consider how this relates to the overall customer experience. There’s no point having a great UX if it isn’t supported by a great customer experience when it comes to the quality of communications, complaints handling, brand perception, etc.

It’s a good idea to build the general principles of great UX into your overall customer experience strategy. How do your customers feel about each stage of their interaction with your company? Have you made customer-facing processes as simple, efficient and easy to follow as possible? Does the customer experience reflect your desired brand image?

The main thing to remember when looking at UX and customer experience is that your visitor/customer should be at the heart of everything you do. They will thank you for it in return business, recommendations and a generally warm and fuzzy glow when they think of you. Never forget that your customer has a choice.

For help with user experience or customer experience, get in touch for a chat.

Also see our blog post: How is your UX affected by responsive design?

Group Dane hits New York!

This week we’ve been in New York City for the launch of the brand new Red Stiletto Media website, designed and developed by Group Dane.

Wow, what a city! It seems everywhere you look there is something interesting to look at. It’s amazing to think 1,619,090 people are crammed in to the 22.96 square miles of Manhattan.

Times SquareThere is a real buzz about New York, a sort of magic you can’t pin down or give any justice in expression. Is it the energy, the strength, the elegance, or is it the grit and realism?

Freedom TowerThe new Freedom Tower, which has risen in the footprints of the Twin Towers, is a symbol of hope and resilience. It sums up the whole spirit of the city and its people. It represents progress in the face of adversity. It sends out a message that New York will get back up whenever it takes a knock. What can we learn from this in our own small way? For me, I hope it will encourage me to keep going, to always try to rise and overcome set backs and challenges.

Dane Brookes

For Group Dane, our on-going relationship with a company in New York City is an exciting prospect. But beyond what this means for us, it is a great coup for Liverpool and the North West. The level of talent in digital marketing in our region is on a par with anywhere else in the world. The future looks bright.

Check out the new Red Stiletto Media website. The launch was also featured in the Liverpool Daily Post.

– Dane

From Liverpool to New York City

Taxi! On Thursday this week we’re off to New York City to launch the new website of fashion and lifestyle production company, Red Stiletto Media.

Group Dane New YorkRed Stiletto Media is an award-winning media production company, focusing on the fashion and lifestyle industries. The company’s glittering portfolio includes some of the biggest names in fashion, lifestyle and PR, including People’s Revolution, Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa, Douglas Hannant and Libertine.

We’ve designed and developed the new website, which boasts robust and user-friendly functionality with striking visual features and a strong brand identity. Beyond the launch of the new website, we’ve been appointed Red Stiletto Media’s digital marketing and communications partner. This pleases us greatly!

New York CityWe’re very proud to be based in Liverpool and hope that our relationship with a company based in New York City reinforces the message that Liverpool has a strong international offering, with world-class talent in digital communications.

We’re off to start packing our cases…

Stay posted for the link to the new website later this week!

“Don’t tell me what to do!”

So you have a website, but will your visitors use it in the way you hope they will? Whether you want visitors to find out information, watch/listen to media or buy/sell something, your aim is to get them to do it before they leave your site. How can you do that when people hate being told what to do?

Force the user journey?

In short, you can’t ever force your visitors to do anything. We call people who enter your website “visitors”, we don’t call them “prisoners”. So it is important to constantly bear in mind that they are usually there out of their own free will. Equally, the way they use your website (their “behaviour”) is their own choice. You may have a very specific and wonderful user journey planned out, but the best you can do is guide and encourage them to follow the path you’d like them to take.

Why carrot over stick?

No matter how much you try to remove your visitors’ choices by limiting their navigational options, there are always two choices – to stay or to go. If you don’t allow them to choose their own journey through your website, they will probably just decide to leave.

Put simply: respect your visitors and offer them everything they need in the most logical, attractive way possible.

Use a logical site structure and layout

Do some user testing and listen to your own instincts. Ask your testers to find certain things or perform specific actions on your website and record their feedback. Could they find everything they were looking for?

If you have any analytics data for your website, check what the most visited pages are, along with the most frequent exit pages. This is an invaluable insight to your visitors’ behaviour. Are they doing what you expect them to do?

The key here is to give visitors lots of what they want and never less than they need.

Attract, coax, intrigue

If you want a visitor to perform a particular action, whether it’s watch a video or click on a link, you need to somehow persuade them to do it.

Dangle that carrot again:

a. Videos

  • Give your videos titles that accurately describe the content and entice users to click the play button.
  • Always pick an interesting, visually stimulating video thumbnail (the freeze frame that shows when the video isn’t playing). The thumbnail you choose can help to sell or repel video plays. You can change YouTube video thumbnails easily.

b. Links

All links within your website should describe what you are linking to and, if possible, why the visitor should click on them. Remember that links are calls to action, so make sure you sell the action well. What benefit will the visitor get out of this click?

c. Section and page names

The titles you give to sections and pages should clearly represent the content they contain. This goes for the page headings and navigation labels too.

d. Page presentation

If you want someone to read a passage of text, make it look as appealing as possible. Break up big blocks of text with smaller manageable chunks. Make sure your content is easy to read – a good way to check is reading it out loud.

e. Image slide shows

Obviously, all of the images on your website should be stimulating to some degree. But if you’re using any kind of image slider or transition, you need to carefully think about the image order. Always try to use the best ones first to hook visitor attention.

f. Cohesion

Think about how all of this ties together. Don’t allow items of content to clash or compete with each other. Make sure the page has a focal point, which is closely related to what action you would like visitors to perform.

A safer “get out clause”

Don’t forget that visitors always have the ultimate “get out clause” – if they don’t like the page they are on, they can easily exit your website. Where possible, always offer an alternative call to action that doesn’t involve leaving the site. For example, if the focus of a page is a video, accompany it with a link to an alternative piece of content.

Your website should be like a pick ‘n’ mix sweet shop; full of choices. But remember to carefully choose which sweets to stock.

More

There’s so much more we want to tell you. For help with information architecture, user experience, web design and more, get in touch with Group Dane.