April 7, 2020
Customer Experience in Design Strategy | DPDK Creative Director | Michael Vromans

Customer Experience in Design Strategy | DPDK Creative Director | Michael Vromans

So I used to live on an island and this
is a unique place beautiful has stunning features and I think many of you have
lived there too is this Islands called website and this island sits next door
to this other island called app and that has another island next to it called big
build and you get the idea we have lots of Islands and these are
all beautiful and unique but they’re all separated now in daily life in our
office we get a lot of Island requests and again this might be very familiar
for you so clients or potential clients would call you up and say hey guys
can you build us a website you go yeah you build us a campaign yeah but in the
end they’re all websites and for them to be truly successful there is more to be
solved and there’s more to be designed and there’s more to be engineered
because customers of our brands of our clients they don’t stay on that island
right they are Island hoppers we create single islands but if we only create
single islands we lose those customers and that’s in the end in the business
that we’re in for our clients to design more than that so we’re in the business
of designing customer experience am i clicking we’re in the business of
designing customer experiences so there’s Tom he’s trapped on his Island
and Tom could be one of our clients and we have to make Tom the best customer
experience possible because today customer experience is the best way to
or the only way basically to truly differentiate from advance competitors
it beats price it beats product it beats place because if you offer a better
customer experience than your competitor people come to you so basically we need
to be our brands Wilson’s everybody see Cass where am I getting way too old
right so we need to be there Wilson we need to be our brands our clients
Survival Guide so to speak and for us it’s important that in the meantime we
can still make the best work right and yet at the same time that’s not the only
thing we want to do because we want to get paid for it along the way as well
let’s be honest we love all the appreciation I think everybody here you
wouldn’t be here if you wouldn’t love your job but at the end of the month it
starts to get a bit tricky if there’s no money coming in alright so I’m not sure
really rich the land trip is in which case I would like you to raise your hand
and then come to me and then we’ll have a talk over there so that’s the goal we
all want to make the best work and then just get a little paid for it as well
and as said a deputy Kay we call that exceptional Digitalism so we’ve been
around for a while you may have seen some of our work we put it up every now
and then I hope you vote it if you didn’t I wouldn’t hate you for it if you
did I would love you for it so we’ve been around for 17 years almost
18 coming up our birthday and well you’ve might seen this around on awards
or calm as I said so making stuff like this and like we’re all trying to
achieve in the problem or sorry in in the past gave us a lot of messy problems
messy problems in the sense of when we think of one of those projects one of
those islands that you want to make award-winning you know what do you do
how far do we stretch where do we go in terms of putting in extra time putting
in extra extra time maybe some more training maybe some more bugging your
team members but it was always very difficult on finding one single approach
that would enable us to do that every time and time again without reinventing
the wheel all the time and we’re losing a lot of time and also with developing
teams you will notice that in agencies you know it’s always important to have
lots of talent coming in and you need to have your knowledge transfer
talent and they bring their knowledge in but at the same time people need to tap
in at some some kind of approach that helps you to design and to produce and
deliver some of the West’s work you’ve did all over and over again and
shouldn’t depend on people coming in or leaving what the quality output of your
agency should be so what we wanted to do is kind of search for answers and try to
take out potential lag in projects kind of you know if they weren’t the shine
projects you still want them to be great and the shine projects to still be great
so we would be looking for answers and trying to answer the kind of problems of
our rapidly evolving industry i technologies coming and going all the
time trends going global in an instant so we were searching for an approach
with enough space for lots of innovation yet this kind of sturdy and robustness
so that it’s repeatable so basically we had to stop living on an island so for
um for clients when they call you with that question of that island hey we want
a new website let’s say there can be a bunch of reasons behind it but one of
the most obvious reasons is that there has become this they found themselves in
a gap between where they once were and where they now I do think that’s very
recognizable so your client would say you know well we had this idea then and
then we have that mission but since then we’ve evolved and just looking at our
website it doesn’t feel like us anymore does that sound vaguely familiar so you
would have to basically fill that gap and present themselves again with a new
kind of let’s say cutting-edge website that would have to fill that gap and
that brings you to something you have to be very mindful on if you come through a
lot of airports with sorry which I do you hear this a lot to kind of mind the
gap but this is a real warning also for us and I’ve because let’s say let’s say
we start to design we start in this design process and you
dive into this website and you make this really nice beautiful preloader right
you go all out on it thinking hey I could post this later on Awards and it
turns in really nice so let’s say you take the logo you make a beautiful
animation from there working in the latest trends and it turns out everybody
liked it so much that in the end it makes it to the new animated logo of the
company because it’s just fits so well with what they asked you to fill that
gap that is on one end that’s a great compliment and on the other hand it
turns out that you were fixing a problem that wasn’t part of the original
question but you were fixing a branding problem instead of the website question
and as we noticed over time many many many times if we would ask for the style
guide for a company and you would look at it to see what the capability was to
determine sorry to fill that gap it was basically around that area of capability
I tumbleweeds in the desert you would have to elaborate on that
style guide there would be no icon sets in it maybe no patterns lots and lots of
lots of stuff missing for you to be able to do your job for the project at first
right so that left us with somewhat of a problem because it eats way of the
budget it tears away the budget basically in in half so what we decided
to do is from a certain point is to first assess the capability of that
brand style on delivery for the brief because you have to be you have to be
honest to yourself and also to your customer because everything you do
everything you design is usually or lots of times in a fixed budget and if you
have to answer and have to solve all of these other different problems then the
product design itself it just takes away from from so much from your budget so
now we start with brand design and we set the capability we dive all the way
back into even like stuff like mission and vision if we have to be
because if the gap that that brand is trying to fill is so large there’s
probably something wrong or lacking in their mission and vision they have to
adjust that to where they think their identity is now but the image is not so
we go into we have some workshop sessions we have an approach with some
steps and we work away through the mission and vision and promise we write
up a personality a tone of voice and copy so all that stuff even basically
extra before anything visual goes on actually so it’s more strategizing
behind a brand and then we start developing all these different types of
brand assets now I was talking obviously in in terms of in terms of budget and
you go like oh but wait you said it was eating away budget and now it turns into
even more this is more of a fun factor and inside of insider fact and don’t
tell your clients this but the moment when you start tapping into their brand
somewhere there is another like jar of money opening up because you’re touching
up on the brand this is not now this turned into some website project as it’s
usually dubbed go look oh yeah you guys are doing the website project with the
marketing team and now suddenly you’re tapping into their brand design and that
gets a lot of c-suite attention going on learning don’t touch the logo I mean
that’s an old one but still apparently or as we noticed a very important one so
these changing it and then build on it so you don’t have to cut your budget
have to do all this kind of stuff so this all leads to a new style guide that
then can deliver on brief and they can fill the gap and in that sense you’re
not just designing a website but your future proofing your clients brand so
basically once we got that covered then we go to the next one and we as
designers we go to the product design and from a designer standpoint and
technology standpoint whenever we deliver that let’s say that website that
product we think of it all as a 1.0 right something that needs to grow it
needs to evolve over time because we’ve seen we’ve been into this prior
J’son days out we spent nights there is so much more to do on this project and
we can do in scope and a lot of the times you actually do that you that
there is usually that there is so much more for this product to mature over
time all right this needs to mature whenever website
launches I’m specifically talking for big bills or bigger builds that
depending on new insights that come along new opportunities that user data
that you start to gather once it’s online business strategy can change
product releases can come along all of these things make it necessary for a
project to be able to evolve over time but that’s not how many of the budgets
of your projects work because usually that looks a bit like this it’s a bit
disappointing but you can get a huge pile of money at the beginning of the
project and then somewhere you go live but towards maturity we would see in our
experience that you know the budget would have faded but your actually your
request would be something like this because you’ve spotted so many
opportunities and so much stuff to do and you go like hey we’re live you know
let’s let’s keep it moving and your client goes like live hey thanks but buy
now and you go like wait what all right that was for us usually very
unsatisfying moment but then it dawned on us that it’s actually it wasn’t our
clients fault but it was our fault sorry Ryan I skip Ryan Gosling there so it was
our fault because we were too late with raising the discussion only going after
going live with the project and then we would get in touch with the client say
hey now we finally you know release this what do you think of you know we should
do this for next steps and what about next year and so basically we didn’t box
it up as in what do we do now what do we do later we were just too late with that
discussion now imagine now we go to the car imagine buying a new car so you’re
spending all of your money on this car you’re choosing its colors or actually
so two colors is an illustration for one of our latest projects you’re spending
all of your money on this car right you’re choosing the options
you’re choosing the colors you’re choosing the rims you decide to go you
know a bit extra on those leather seats and you’re like yeah this is exciting
stuff I’m just gonna spend my money like confetti that’s so nice you’re marvel in
it you get in you’re gonna try those leather seats no yeah good decision cost
me a bit more of it’s still good decision
you know you rev the engine and as you want to shift gears and want to drive
off somebody goes like no and that’s a person that was selling you the car and
you roll down the window and the person goes okay you’ll like it it’s great
right you know it’s even greater you should buy all these other options and
then your experience will be even better like what would you do right I would
drive away as fast as I can from the upselling fool and go like thanks but by
now I would be that you know that other side you know he raised that discussion
way too late so the solution obviously at least theoretical is very simple you
you pull that discussion forward so you pull it forward and you try to reach
your gaze as far as you can and that’s what we what we do now at the beginning
of every project we look as far ahead as we possibly can early on and we take the
client along in that journey I don’t know where the client is in this journey
but he’s looking at some great products there so we in the early stage we find
as many many many insights as we can we call old you know design thinking and
all that I won’t elaborate on that but we we definitely do go business side we
go customer side and for the business side we have a look at business
objectives at KPIs we talk about basically the boring stuff competition
analysis business strategy marketing strategy product strategy etc etc and we
find out everything that we can and need to know about this client and about
their future and then we offset that with all this data from all of their
target groups so we personalize them we gathered our group data both
quantitative and qualitative we might have interviewed early on we define
release or try to define as many year we get as many insights on their goals or
expectations or frustrations and then we place everything into context so the
product that we’re designing what that sit in the whole customer journey
where the people come from where they’re going to can we get them off that island
please what island are they coming from where they going to can we build a
bridge and then all that insights they go into something that we call a product
experience map and this is all just the plain text stuff we’re not even
designing just yet so the product experience map is a textual blueprint of
all the insights that we’ve gathered and we define those or we divide those over
key site areas which are very clearly definable areas in that product
experience and we place all those goals and frustrations and what users are
thinking and what they’re trying to achieve and what obstacles are we block
those all in so we cluster all those all over those different areas for all the
different target groups together and then you you start thinking about what
would be design solution for zip for the design solutions for that so down the
road on that map we think in solutions so we look at the at the challenge at
the top and then you and then you design the solutions and from those solutions
you help them progress seamlessly through those key site areas solutions
18 or turn into epics and epics are the first things that go on to the backlog
so all the all the priorities the prioritized epics we then move to your
to your backlog and then you have an actual product that you can start to
design and develop now usually with this since you have so much data there is way
more there’s way more data that’s way more design opportunities again then in
budget now this is where in the past you will go overboard but now since since
we’re pulling it forward we can say hey wait we don’t have to throw those away
those are all valid research-based design opportunities let’s put them on a
product horizon and a product horizon is something that’s for us is really paired
to a product experience map it’s a more long-term strategic vision on what will
go on and a maturity of this of this product so we’ll fill this first with
basically everything that we didn’t get to do in the first run
and define that as the actual 1.0 product kind of like if we if then we if
we have all of that that’s what we intended to set out but it might have
been out of scope at first and then we fill the rest of that product horizon
with big industry trends coming up with the stuff that we got from the
interviews with the business kind of when our new product release is coming
up what should we do with that what’s emerging text should we do something
with with voice capabilities all that kind of stuff and you define your
strategic goals and your outcomes and you sort cluster clustering them again
and say hey together with the client what do we do now what do we do later
and what do we do later later and then you iterate on that a couple of times
per year with your client and you know that’s where you really start maturing
the project product from the start now once we know theoretically what we’re
going to design the question is still what are we designing because this is
all theoretical everything was text apart from some designed models so it’s
time to start designing so this is for you know a big chunk of our team and for
you or think in this process well you go like oh yeah goody goody everything’s
possible right but that’s also a bit of risk
because if everything’s possible you start just you know looking at the
trends that everybody’s looking at at the same time then they kind of you know
where are you focusing where are you trying to find your inspiration focus
and not just look at all the inspiration that the same people are looking so find
your focus do that first trends go global in an instant now so you have to
be aware of that and it’s not just confined to the designer in tech realm
our clients nowadays are really really savvy you have to really kind of get
that and if you don’t have you don’t find a focus they will find a focus and
they will out vision you in a second and you’ll just be executing their design
vision instead of yours now if you don’t have the right focus if it’s you know
you have to ask yourself is your design focus is that informed by all that
research that you did or is it informed by what you think is the most relevant
trend that you’re looking at on at war so calm all right is there a
branding fit you need to acknowledge that if you start slightly off the mark
with your design and you’re developing this for months there’s gonna be a huge
gap also in there you’re going to be missing up you’re going to be ending up
missing the mark and if you don’t stick to that focus with the team you’ll end
up having these you know review battles of opinions basically within the team
and say yeah I know we like this but this just looks better and then you go
you have a risk that you will wander off of the intended goal that something
looks better doesn’t mean that that trend fits better maybe you just didn’t
work it right the first way so find the right focus and stick to it and my
advice would be to work with design principles that’s what we do and we’ve
been working this out for years because there’s no one formula to do this we’ve
did this with like or principles two principles a principle has three words
it has one word look it up there’s a gazillion ways the trick is just to find
the right way of working with this for you and your team and sometimes we
notice even it’s kind of it’s project dependent are you doing that campaign or
are you doing a big bill that makes a big difference for instance but at least
work with it and then keep them simple you know let them have let them provide
your focus keep them simple really short and keep them human and then surprise we
always do two sets specifically for the bigger projects we just say on the first
one we go like this is it this is the one that we think it should be and then
we just Park that and say okay and now what could be a complete different one
and then we map that onto the onto the product experience map so you have the
same stuff going in but two completely different things going out these are
very early this is actually the earliest design concepts or that client of that
that animated Mercedes called forward you
it’s a FinTech we just we it was nominated only yesterday please vote and
these are the earliest design tests so these are completely different designs
but they’re based on the same user research and the same all the same data
points in the product experience map now I have
a lot and then you have a presentation this engine you have the presentation
with the client and you know your you have the presentation you flew all out
and at the end of the presentation the clients you know they’re very quiet and
they say like so what’s your favorite and that’s always a trap right what’s
your favorite that’s the beauty pageant thing that’s what you really need to
prevent because I have opinions about these and you won’t have opinions about
these I mean god but right there’s a there’s so much to say as pro and con
but the thing is you have to test it so what we do is we pretest already in this
early stage both with clients were more important with their customers and then
we get that feedback and we work it into a Severson so we write new design
principles and we work it into a version C which is then this was the first
motion prototype from there so you see a lot of lot of stuff from the second but
also stuff from from the first and some generally some new stuff as well and
then some and this is a screen grab from the final product as it’s live now so
basically we would say hey we like to mix it up we make UX and design
cocktails like a plus B equals C something like that very simply put its
like that and reality it’s it’s a bit more difficult but still you can make a
great cocktail so you have the recipe for a great cocktail and cocktails are
great so what can go wrong well it depends on the content that you put in
because if the content really hurts your eyes and teeth and everything the
content you know the experience will still suck
so we vote make content great again and that means finding that tone of voice
and making some doing something different with it so don’t just write
your copy but write your copy towards the target groups right this is an
assessment where you tell this investment company how how daring you
are and since they’re really writing there they’re aiming for quite young
young target audience you know we we write the specific tone of voice and
make it different than all other banks and investment companies because of that
tone of voice I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a run for president or space travel
goal that you can send the future with any other bank and then there’s the
imagery obviously so I put this in because hey there you go the most used
images ever I mean I’m not going on well I am going on the stock rent but that’s
not not anything new and yet you would get these guides going all over again
kind of you see this still on a lot of websites we still get this and you get
this every day right in your style guides and I know budgets don’t stretch
forever it’s like this is every other customer representative there you are
baby like yeah like I don’t know she’s working for so many different companies
at the same time like toothpaste even is like horrible anyway so so many
different sort of story so many the same photographs he just is such an
interesting photograph so at least do something with it I mean we don’t always
have the budget definitely not you won’t always have the budget but please do
something with it find at least photographs in the same style for your
client have your client on board with that and work with it do some filters
over it and please please please don’t ever sell your images to a stock company
I don’t know I’m on shutterstock I have no idea why and nobody will ever use
this like don’t do this okay more serious so for the rest of the content
or I’ll keep that concise we go like strategize the hell out of that content
is more than your social editorial calendar there is a bunch of stuff that
you need to think of and discuss with your clients why are we doing this
content why do you think that show show is relevant why do you think that
channel is relevant etcetera etc what do we do where do we leave it there’s a
whole thing and there’s not any client that we work with just yet that actually
knows where to keep them what the logistics are and who is actually
responsible for it who does what and when do we do it all necessities to
create and deliver great content both on your products and specifically obviously
leading to it and then since we already have done
usually so much on product and brand it’s quite easily it’s quite easy to
also make that great content for it because a lot of our design team can buy
this time now can really dream you know what what that should be
and it’s quite efficient to deliver all this content so there’s a big band video
over there and then we created from that video I mean be smart in this reuse
stuff again you don’t have the budget all the time but then if you if you have
the opportunity to think of one video then make all the stuff that you can
take into your website and into your YouTube formats and onto your social
formats as well think about all the written content maybe you have to put
the client at work that would be you know very that would come in very handy
and this is actually a client that has been very very very professional on
working on all this kind of stuff with us and that’s where you get to deliver
that real great customer experience that’s very consistent and unique and it
just looks the part so we use often for your budget purposes so wrapping it up
mind-to-mind the branding gap go all out and then box it up you got what you
focus on and please please please make content great again and that’s how we
think of that kind of the customer experience and finding that sweet spot
if you get to manage to do all three of them you will reach out sweet spot and
you will be able to stay there a long time I hope you can do something very
valuable with this it definitely helped us in the past and it’s now thanks
everybody come say hi I’m Michael

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