Project that grow your online presence now - Directions Supplement - july aug_2010

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Welcome to the latest Directions Supplement. Our focus in this edition is digital. …

Welcome to the latest Directions Supplement. Our focus in this edition is digital.

We believe that investing in a major project that takes 18 months to launch is not always the right way to approach your digital communications. Breaking it into bite-sized chunks, simplifying the process into smaller projects will not only lead to results faster, but it can also add real benefits to your users right now.

So here we look at effective projects you can do right now to improve and grow your online communications.

More in: Design
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  • 2. Directions Supplement July 10 Why growing your online presence incrementally is smarter At salterbaxter, we believe that investing in a major project that takes 18 months to launch is not always the right way to approach your digital communications. Breaking it into bite-sized chunks, simplifying the process into smaller projects will not only lead to results faster, but it can also add real benefits to your users right now. Management requirements, imposed In corporate communications it’s sometimes deadlines and budget constraints hard to decipher which channels and sometimes mean you need to improve technologies are relevant. Making sense of your digital communications quickly and the speed with which digital moves combined efficiently, without looking at every area with effectively communicating what your that needs improvement. strategy is, financial performance, annual report/review, sustainability programme Mel McVeigh The beauty and strength of digital media or employee engagement programme can Head of Digital is that it doesn’t have to be perfect when be challenging. you launch. As long as you are committed to evolving it over time, responding to user Where do we start? What is the impact on needs, developing new content and features your online communications strategy and and always building on a strong foundation. how can you create improvements without Follow us on twitter @salterbaxter This ensures you see results faster, which breaking the bank? How do we stop contributes to fulfilling your strategy. technology becoming a barrier to making Read our recent Directions change happen? Which areas should you reports and supplements on This Directions Supplement looks at be investing in? Slideshare – http://www.slideshare. simple and effective projects to improve net/salterbaxter and enhance your existing online It’s easy to just throw your hands up and, Check out our latest photos communications, now. go it’s all just too hard, let’s just start again. on Flickr – photos/salterbaxter What we are proposing is neither rocket This supplement is about showing how you science nor a radical new approach to online can break your strategy into bite-sized and communications. However, sometimes working manageable projects. These projects you in the online industry it is easy to forget the can do right now without having to start basics. We all get excited about the latest from scratch. This proven approach will and greatest technology. Who doesn’t? see results quickly and grow your presence more effectively.
  • 3. Directions Supplement July 10 Effective projects you can do now to improve your online communications. You have a digital strategy, your vision and objectives are clear. But you don’t know where to start or which projects are the most important. Creating a road map helps you to understand the end goal by breaking it down into smaller projects, implemented incrementally to ensure a targeted approach to your digital communications. At every stage you can then measure its success and adapt your requirements for the next project and focus on what your users need. What we illustrate is that change and improvement do not always involve a full redesign of your website and smaller projects and approaches can have a major impact to your online communications. Option 1. Design a better home page A great home page provides multiple results, they want to read the latest strategic entry points into content without providing direction. They may want to know your too much information. It must explain position on sustainability? your business quickly and provide links to relevant content and links based on Kingfisher have created a great home page. user tasks and needs. The user is instantly given a strong sense of the organisation. There is a clear positioning If it doesn’t, it isn’t working hard enough. statement and content targeted to key users interested in product, innovations, reports, The Antofagasta home page is an example and quick links and key features. They have of a one-click wonder. Although all the content maximized the page design and answered is within the navigation, there is no option the key questions of their audience. to highlight key information relevant to the users. The only link is news and is that enough to draw your users into the site? Key insights On the flip side, beware of providing too – Ensuring all relevant content is visible much information. Using the Cobham home is key as an example, overwhelming a user with – Think about what your users need too much content or links with no hierarchy to see and structure accordingly will only confuse a user. They won’t know – Provide links to multiple sources where to click. of content – Bring engaging content to the surface Put yourself in the user’s shoes and present like videos and photo galleries information that matters to them. Think – Use headings/caption smartly about why someone visits your website. to focus on user goals and needs They may be interested in the latest Annual the only action for a user so much information, clear positioning is to click on news. where is a user meant statement, quick links, to click? financials.
  • 4. Option 2. Do more than communicate. Also aggregate Online communications can get fragmented pretty quickly. Being in many places is important. This may include Twitter, LinkedIn Groups, Forums, Facebook, blogs etc. That is on top of all the micro-sites that you create and your users have to find and navigate. So make it easy for users to understand where you are on the web and aggregate all your channels into one place for easy access. Key insight – Audit all the online communications Social conversations featured you have on the home page. – Can they all be found easily from your primary site? – Create hubs, a page or areas on the page where all your communications Social channels linked direct can be profiled and found from the home page. Visit 2009 Annual Report Option 3. Make search work for you ar2009/ You created this great website but no one And there in the menu is a link to is using it. Barclays Annual Reporting Centre – There it is. Organisations often invest time and effort to build a channel or microsite but it is almost If you use the corporate website search: impossible to find once the news link has gone type Barclays Annual Report Centre from the home page. Users won’t visit your – no results but you do get 2007 as site if they don’t know it exists. Therefore, you the top listing (not 2009?). need a strategy to ensure findability and it needs to be consistent and visible. Go to Google and type in Barclays Annual Report Centre. Yes, it can be found, but As an example, let’s try and find the this assumes you know what you’re www.barclaysannual Barclays Annual Report Centre. looking for, which is not intuitive. If you create a new channel, This site is actually quite good. But unless make sure it can be found. you know it exists it is impossible to find. Key insight Via the corporate website, – Understand the way people find your site – there is no mention. – Understand key terms people search for – Ensure it works if you search in Google Visit the Investor Centre – Ensure it can be found using the website global search – – Ensure the relevant links are on key landing pages, – there is no mention so you can be found – Ensure appropriate signposting on the corporate Visit latest Annual Reports page site in relevant areas/pages – Ensure it works from your corporate website in a Shareholder-information/Annual-Reports. few clicks – there is no mention
  • 5. Option 4. Reskin can improve your user experience Sometimes we don’t have time to do a full redesign that includes improving the information architecture and underlying technology. Looking at the visual design, the hierarchy of elements on the page, connecting tasks and information will greatly improve your online experience. Key insight Before – Design a visual hierarchy and structure that can be applied across templates – Connect related tasks and features so The new Reed Elsevier they are easy to find website takes the existing – Ensure messaging is simple yet bold structure and re-skins – Make it easy for a user to scan the page the content in a more but breaking it up into smaller elements meaningful and engaging way for the user. After A client perspective: Reed Elsevier Corporate Website The appointment of a new CEO in early We recognised that achieving this objective 2009 prompted us to review the development could come via a number of options: strategy for our corporate website, improvements to the site SEO, refreshing elements of the design, improving the overall IA, introducing social and rich media. Having partnered with Salterbaxter on a major project to migrate to a new SharePoint By breaking down these options into their environment in 2007/8, we were keen not component parts, we could take a step back Piers Thornewill to have to go back to the drawing board for a from the whole and better prioritise what Corporate Communications wholesale rethink of the site this time around. we needed to do first. We were able to Manager So a strategy of incremental, focussed and pinpoint what needed fixing, allowing us to Reed Elsevier effective enhancements, over time, to grow implement key changes to the site. Once the our online presence and constantly engage fixes were made, we could then focus our our audiences held a great deal of appeal. efforts on analysing feedback post implementation, and tweaking and Two benefits of this approach became improving as necessary. immediately apparent. It tied in with our available budget, and meant that we could There were challenges to working this deliver tangible improvements to the site way, mostly in adapting to the shorter within the inevitably tight timescales that development timescales and having to would be required. Taking one element of take quicker decisions to overcome the site in isolation, we could focus on how unforeseen issues. to make it work harder for our audiences, We opted to refresh the existing look and and turn it around as part of a short, sharp, feel of the homepage and improve some impactful mini-project. of the tired old site templates. Within three But where to start? We undertook a review months we had successfully produced a of the site including information architecture, truly refreshed site that was almost template design, page styles, content unrecognisable from the old design, appropriateness and homepage design, without breaking the bank. whilst ensuring that our core objective We are now looking at the next improvement was always at the forefront of our thinking: phase – integrating social media into the site to showcase the value of our products, – with a similar turnaround time, and with the through innovation and our customers. expectation of similar success.
  • 6. About us Contact: Nigel Salter We are creative communications and Tel: +44 (0)20 7229 5720 strategy advisers to Europe’s largest Melissa McVeigh and most exciting organisations. Tel: +44 (0)20 7229 5720 We’re passionate about interactive design and build user-friendly websites that drive engagement and value to your organisation. About Directions Whether you are looking to get more value from your existing technology, Directions is a series of research need to promote a new product or service, or want to engage your customers and insight pieces covering in a dialogue for change, we can help you navigate the digital world. the full range of corporate We design and deliver websites, multi-channel platforms and applications communications issues. These and social media channels that engage audiences and provide effective, supplements support the interactive and enriching experiences. main annual Directions report which focuses on corporate Our expertise covers strategic consultancy, social media strategy, responsibility. If you’d like to user experience and research, analytics, SEO, design and build. contribute please get in touch. Specifically we deliver corporate websites, social media experiences and applications, intranets, online annual reports, corporate responsibility sites and reports. We apply a user-centric mindset to all digital projects. Our creative and technical approach starts with putting your target audience and their needs at the heart of the project and making sure these complement and maximise your business and communications requirements. Our clients include: Adidas Group Hammerson Ashurst LLP HSBC Allen & Overy ING Group ArcelorMittal International Power Bacardi LEGO Group 202 Kensington Church Street BAE Systems Marine Harvest London W8 4DP British Land Millicom/Tigo Tel +44 (0)20 7229 5720 BSkyB Morrisons Fax +44 (0)20 7229 5721 Camelot Nokia Carlsberg Group Northern Foods Coca-Cola Orkla Daily Mail & General Trust Provident Financial DLA Piper Reed Elsevier E.ON (Group and UK) Rolls-Royce Fortum Telefónica O2 Europe H&M (Hennes & Mauritz) Tullow Oil This supplement is printed on Think Bright and is supplied by Howard Smith. It is an FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified material and is 100% recyclable. Printed by Fulmar, an ISO 14001 certified and FSC accredited company.