The essence of UX is about identifying a goal and reducing the effort it takes to achieve that goal. It’s a discipline which has grown around website design and development, but has a great deal more value it can offer to businesses. If budgets or time are tight, UX thinking can really help you make the most of your circumstances, without having to compromise on the end result.

Traditionally, good UX takes a customer on a digital journey towards completing a goal i.e finding some information or purchasing a product. Over the last six years we’ve been applying the lessons we’ve learned from UX research and digital development to all sort of projects, particularly branding and messaging.

Our clients are our users, so we use UX strategy to inform how we should approach a brief.We’ve used the skills and experience we’ve acquired to help our clients make more of their resources, for any project, online and offline, just like we do with websites.

So, in terms of website development, this would be about identifying what’s really necessary, and making the basics robust enough to support an ambitious vision, even if we aren’t able to realise it now. Needs and expectations will grow, and so will the website’s sophistication. Functionality that users don’t really need can easily become a waste of time, money, and effort. It’s better for everyone if we avoid waste like that, as was the case with our friends a Chorus Network.

Big ambitions were scaled back to keep a project on track, without having to sacrifice that ambition. The long term goals we planned for, and foundations built which would be able to accommodate them, and the short-term goals were all met (actually launching the site to schedule).

Key to this approach is looking at the journeys ourclients are on, as well as thinking about their customer. We design projects to fit our user’s immediate needs and also build strong foundations that support our clients’ growth, in this way, we’re able to identify where they’ll find the greatest value. In the future, a P2P chat system will be a great feature of the Chorus Network Hub, but it wasn’t necessary for launch.

The same can be said for branding. How sophisticated a brand does our client really need? Will your customers even care? What’s reallygoing make a difference?

Good branding can get expensive, and not every business needs a nose-to-tail interrogation or expansive guidelines to cover every possible channel. Brand is always important but not all of our clients need to dive in at the deep end.

Chorus Network are offering a sophisticated investment product, delivered through a professional online platform. Their brand needed to reflect sophistication and professionalism through a variety of channels, in a broad range of circumstances from the get go. (Nahim at Confederation did a great job.)

On the other hand, security consultancy Pare Balles Conseil, works in a very different sector. The brand needed to provide a visual anchor for direct marketing, in a sector that expected less design sophistication from them.

PBC_before_cropped Pare-balles Conseil - Brochure design

Until recently, a self-generated logo had served them well, but it was recognised that the brand needed to take a step up in sophistication to reflect the quality of the service they offer. In their industry it wasn’t fitting to represent the business with a quick-fix, that would communicate a wholly incorrect message.

That said, extensive guidelines would have been overkill. We worked with them to develop a small kit of parts, to be grown in keeping with the needs of the business.

An updated and polished logo, along with a defined set of fonts and colour palette gave them the step up they needed. Along with a very light set of guidelines and visualisations for use, they could be easily applied to the existing suite of marketing documents, and be adapted to meet the next challenge.

With a limited and focused investment in the creative, applied with strategic thought and an eye on the future, Pare Balle Conseil’s visual identity has elevated their appearance in the tendering process significantly.

UX isn’t an esoteric art, it’s just proper planning, good strategy, and well-considered systems design. This is just how we use it in the same one might use business strategy.

We actually use all of these lessons whenever we look at business strategy (customers = users), messaging (audiences = users), and advertising (audiences + customers = users).

We apply it all to everything we do.

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