A little while ago, I was asked to present something design related for our company meeting. Being the only “graphics guy” on staff, someone suggested I talk about color psychology and branding as it relates to internet marketing. However, I took it as an opportunity to explain that design is much more than fonts and Photoshop files; it’s, to paraphrase the great Milton Glaser, changing something from its current state to a more desirable one. It went over very well and I feel has led to a philosophical change in how we approach our operations regardless of department.
You can check out the presentation here:
One of the best artifacts from preparing this presentation was that it gave me time to assemble my team (consisting of myself, project managers, and developers) and a few of our salesmen for an exercise in user experience mapping. User experience maps give businesses an opportunity to look at their products and processes from the empathetic view of their customers. We decided that one of the service offerings in our department that could be improved was our PPC landing pages. Though the end product regularly performed to expectations, we rarely saw repeat customers. With this in mind, we mapped out the phases our customers went through from initial sale, into design, development, and eventual launch of their webpage. Using our collective years of knowledge, we then hypothetically charted out three variables from the client’s point-of-view: their thoughts, their feelings, and their actions. Past experiences showed us that our customers were truly experiencing an emotional roller coaster through this process (shown below).
Major dips in customer experience (shown below) were identified as pain-points, and areas of opportunity in our process design. Though unique and of different impact, we noticed that each point was affected due to poor communication on our part.
We started with the largest area of concern, during the sale, and have changed our process to ease the uncertainty that our clients feel by showing them successful examples either within, or very near their industry. This tweak alone has had a noticeable improvement on customer excitement during the step of project hand-off to the web team. We are also implementing regular milestone emails that will inform and update clients throughout the design and development of their page/site. Our next goal is to more accurately track client satisfaction with added, simple surveys attached to those milestone emails (as well as at the hand-off and completion steps); thereby giving us empirical data rather than some of our somewhat biased, though seasoned, opinions.
I recently gave an updated version of the above presentation to a new group of employees, and added an entirely new section on practical visual design areas and how to use them in any problem solving situation.
View it here: