Web Build, CMS & UX Seminar: 5 August 2015

by Jessica Ramesh

The Figaro Digital Web Build, CMS & UX seminar took place at The Hospital Club, Covent Garden, on Wednesday 5 August. Joining us to discuss designing effective experiences for different devices and platforms were speakers from Branded3, Rufus Leonard, Cyber-Duck, Decibel Digital, MMT Digital and Compare The Market

How to Create More Engaging User Experiences
Andrew Machin – Creative Director, Branded3

“Engagement is something for the future. We need to start focusing much more on it.”

When the smartphone was introduced, the very nature of the relationship between digital and consumer changed. “Digital had taken a new place in the customer purchasing journey,” says Andrew Machin at Branded3. “Rather than just being there at the point of purchase, it was now everything.”

The ability to carry around the Internet in our pockets meant that new digital behaviours started emerging, and conversion rates quickly started to plummet. We were now using our mobiles to research our purchases and switch between brands online, not only searching for the best deal but also for the most engaging brand experience. This is something that marketers need to focus more astutely on creating in the future, says Andrew. 

First, listen to your customers. “Listening is part of the engagement process; it’s as old as conversation itself. We are more influenced by people who listen to what we’re asking.” Google Search is a good starting point to gauge an understanding of what people are searching for. Next, you’ll need a great content strategy if you’re going to answer your customers’ questions. Make sure your content is relevant and useful, and make it 100 per cent clear what it is you’re offering as a brand. Take an interest and askyour customers what it is that they want. Be helpful—try to make the process as simple and stress-free as possible, even if the customer doesn’t know exactly what they want. And personalise the experience by looking at the user’s search behaviour and intent. Lastly, have a design that suits the user’s subconscious expectations, and highlight any social proofing—this is key to building trust. 

The Sixth Sense of Marketing
Ross Timms – Strategy Director, Rufus Leonard

“We’re seeing a lot more consideration of the customer in the decision-making process.”

With 34 per cent of brands supporting the creation of a Single Customer View, and five per cent of brands having the technologies to deliver cross-channel customer engagement, it’s clear that the CX market is a growing one. But truly personalised experiences are becoming increasingly hard to create as marketers have so many complex journeys to tap into. Ross Timms at Rufus Leonard shows how ‘embla,’ the agency’s new service proposition, works to manage these journeys, delivering insight to create personal brand experiences that deepen customer engagement. 

Adapting to Responsive Design
Matt Gibson – Chief Creative Officer, Cyber-Duck

“If you have a website and it’s not responsive, it’s probably broken in the eyes of your users.”

You don’t get to decide which device a consumer uses: that consumer does. Assuming that they will be on a particular device, or visiting your site for a particular reason, is a big mistake and could be detrimental to your content strategy. While mobile is generally accepted as an ‘on-the-go’ device, for example, actually 60 per cent of smartphone data is from indoor use. Matt Gibson at Cyber-Duck offers up a few tips for marketers looking to develop a responsive strategy across multiple digital channels. First, don’t hide genuinely useful content behind content you assume your user will be looking for, and don’t design it for the device you assume they’ll be interacting on—use insight to understand the intent behind their journey. 

Next, when designing for responsive, start with a smaller canvas. This will give focus to the product and make you think about what content is most important. Design by content rather than device, as there are just too many sizes and resolutions for it to be fruitful. Performance needs to be at the heart of your strategy, so make sure load times are fast. If you think this is going to be an issue, remember that the perception of speed is just as important as speed itself; limiting a user’s idle time (by making sure at least some of the content is able to load quickly) is a really effective way of making it look like your webpage is performing well. 

Top Tips to Improve your Digital Customer Experience
Richard Trigg – UX & Creative Director, Decibel Digital
Marius Milcher – Head of Development, Decibel Insight

“We tune in to conversations that are of interest to us.” 

Keeping your increasingly demanding customers happy means making sure your customer experience is personal, efficient and hassle-free. Three quarters of marketers plan to have market-leading CX in the coming years, so that means your users won’t stick around if their journey isn’t simple and helpful. Richard Trigg at Decibel Digital and Marius Milcher at Decibel Insight outline some of the ways that marketers can develop their digital strategy to ensure great customer experience. Collecting feedback from existing users is an effective way to gain insights to enhance CX. Think about running a diary study, says Richard, and consider holding it on a channel like Twitter so that users are in their own environment. Treat customers as individuals, and really listen to what they want. Remember, we tune in to conversations that are of interest to us, so it’s essential that you’re tapping into the conversations and behaviours that users are exhibiting online. 

It’s also important to consider the fact that context drives device choice, says Marius. We’re living in the age of the Internet-of-things, with 90 per cent of media now being consumed through digital devices. So ensuring that you’re tapping into the contexts around which a user might be on a particular device is essential when designing for that device. “Smartphones are a consumer’s first port of call for consuming media—they keep us connected. Computers keep us informed and tablets keep us entertained. Users move between devices to complete their goals.” You also need to consider the size of your webpage and whether content is going to affect load times. Research has shown that, while a user perceives a 100ms delay as an instant response, a 1000ms delay is reaching the limit of a user’s flow of thought. At 10 seconds, the limits of a user’s attention have been reached. Make sure you conduct a performance audit and highlight any large files that could be causing your site to load slowly. 

Meerkat Movies: The Story Behind the Latest Compare The Market Meerkat Adventure
Andrew Hall – Project Manager, Compare The Market
Ian Greentree – Solutions Architect, MMT Digital

“What happens when you’ve got all the meerkats, or if you don’t want a meerkat? What do you do then? These campaigns have a limited life.”

Compare The Market’s meerkat campaign has been one of the most successful advertising campaigns of all time. Earlier this year, the brand launched MEERKAT MOVIES—a two-for-one cinema offering (taking over from Orange Wednesdays) for customers who’ve purchased insurance and want a little more than a free meerkat toy. To underpin this project digitally, the brand’s two websites (comparethemarket.com and comparethemeerkat.com) had to be redesigned, from adaptive to responsive, with space for a movies hub to house all the new content from the campaign. Here are a few takeaways from the presentation. When you’re redesigning your website, think carefully about any features that are already working well for you—you don’t need to start from scratch. Make it intuitive and simple to use so that your content manager or editor is able to build a page with ease. Re-use content—having to build separate panels and put them on separate pages will just waste time. Having the ability to test across browsers and devices is key, and make sure you’re continuously improving your processes, CMS and website to ensure that they’re as convenient as can be. Look at employee rotation—will new developers be able to pick up on the codebase easily? 

Written by Estelle Hakner