Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Trusted Places : Social Media in Europe

Trusted Places is a community website based in the United Kingdom. It is a forum for user-generated reviews of neighborhood pubs, services, and restaurants. Trusted Places came to Perfect Pixels Media Group because of our expertise in Social Media and Branding in order to help Trusted Places create a better user experience overall.

PPMG first spent time in a discovery phase where we came to understand Trusted Places’ audience, business goals, and the competitive space. From this we were able to work from an informed basis and we were able to effectively evaluate the registration process, create a refined information architecture, recommend A/B testing, and extend the brand.

We first engaged creating in a moodboard. This excellent tool allowed us to show Trusted Places a visual language that would articulate the brand going forward. Trusted Places readily bought into our vision because the Discovery phase allowed us to quickly show Trusted Places’ value through images, iconography and recommended messaging. From the moodboard, we were able to tweak the logo in a way that users would still relate to the old branding, but would emotionally connect with the new direction. This was also a basis for the design, value proposition, and message extensions.

PPMG is always cognizant of our clients’ budgets. In the spirit of offering the most value for the least amount of money to our customers, we suggested a short User Experience Definition phase. This high level study, through simple user flows, allowed us to confirm Trutsted Places core strategic user scenarios. These were based on existing pathways and the desired traffic flow per each business objective. PPMG helped Trusted Places create a larger, strategic view of their key user activities and we were able to propose enhanced user engagement. This exercise saved Trusted Places money because we had a solid base from which to work on the tactical user experience change requests. With a deeper understanding of the site and its users, we were able to make cogent, educated solution suggestions as we continued to work with the Trusted Places stakeholders. Changes during the design phase can be very costly; however, these sorts of targeted deep dives can provide rich information in a short period of time that can then be extended to the remaining phases of the project.

Trusted Places came to PPMG with a myriad of requests. Through the above, PPMG was able to identify that many of the ancillary requests looped back to the registration process. PPMG reviewed this and we were able to recommend email improvements, a more user-friendly and efficient registration flow -- which included the gateways to the registration page, follow-up emails, and the confirmation pages on the site. Our recommendations drove people to register while creating a better experience while doing so. Upon implementation of our recommendations, Trusted Places’ registration numbers went up, and there was higher user engagement and retention. Our research and recommendations also created a roadmap for PPMG to solve the ancillary requests of Trusted Places more efficiently.

The groundwork had been laid for an efficient re-architecting and redesign of the Home Page, the My Trusted Places page, and the Place Page. We worked to up the conversion opportunities, clarify the value proposition while driving registration and user-engagement. We also created a virtual “black book” experience for the registered Member. Users became much more aware of existing features and our changes drove usage, engagement, and stickiness.

PPMG is known for its holistic approach in helping its clients solve their new-media issues. We work closely with all of our clients to ensure their best interests are at the forefront. The layman may not initially understand the value of high-level studies and deep dives, but they ultimately pay for themselves in cost savings. PPMG works to base all of our recommendations and designs on the client’s strategy, business goals, and user profiles. Making something pretty has no value if it is not driving the significance of the brand while presenting information in a consumable manner.