Emma Sudden is a boutique strategy and marketing brand for Emma Sutton (SVP, A.L.C; Global Marketing Director, Dazed Media) who was seeking to take founder's visions and build sustainable human connections with marketing, strategy, experiences and partnerships.
When you’re a strategist and marketer, past accomplishments build trust, but it isn’t always clear to potential clients how those achievements connect to them.
The goal of this project was to make an inclusive design solution that helped Emma Sudden connect with her prospective community and convert them into new clients by nurturing their need to see the link between their future growth and marketing services offered by Emma Sudden.
User Stories + Flows
People who had no idea what Emma Sudden's competitors offerings were after visiting their site for the first time
As a founder or executive, it’s hard to know exactly what a marketer can do for you. This can be a huge emotional barrier because each company has diverse motivations that change with time.
When it’s unclear what services are offered and what the added value is, spending money on marketing can be a huge cost to justify.
Our competitive research and qualitative interviews showed that Emma Sudden’s competitors laid out their sites in mentally taxing ways, for example they were not optimized for mobile, and it was not clear to potential users what they did or what they offered.
How could they ever expect to connect to their potential community of clients with discouraging first impressions?
In her book, Mismatch: How Inclusion Shapes Design, Kat Holmes talks about how features like not being able to access a site with a mobile device is a "mismatch" and can lead to a sense of exclusion and cause unexpected harm.
Users won’t recommend a business with a bad site
We wanted to use the product design of the Emma Sudden site to change this and build a more sustainable, human connection with users that lead to fewer mismatched interactions.
Key to accomplishing this was designing for a variety of ways to participate with the site.
The first part of the research I did was focused on understanding what potential users expected from visiting a marketing site or even what they thought marketing was.
Interviews, a competitive analysis and user surveying with potential users and internal stakeholders at Emma Sudden helped me shape some basic insights about expectations and assumptions on both sides.
I realized there were more than physical mismatches (i.e. no mobile accessibility) there were also cognitive mismatches:
What the user research showed was that there was a disconnect between what users saw as their needs and how marketers could meet those needs and also that time was of the essence. With this in mind, I identified three potential users that might visit the Emma Sudden site seeking marketing services.
I wanted to avoid getting trapped in stereotypes about who a founder, entrepreneur or recruiter might be and instead prioritized the features these users might come to the site for based on time and what stage they were at getting to know who Emma Sudden was in relationship to them.
Looking at things this way, we were considering a user's level of knowledge over what might be considered "normal" or "edge case" user behaviors.
It was less important to define who potential users were as much is how they would like to interact with Emma Sudden.
What was their purpose? What were their motivations?
Based on the user stories, I made user flows for three journeys potential clients might take:
After understanding the user flows and stories, I made sketches of a sitemap that could be the minimum viable product for these three journeys.
My early ideas attempted to solve the issues we noticed from our insights by focusing on images and relying less on the message in the copy.
In user testing, this worked great for keeping people engaged and addressed internal stakeholders hopes of showcasing Emma Sudden's curriculum vitae.
What we learned from these early concepts and iterations, is that users still weren't entirely clear what the offerings were and how it could benefit them.
That's when I worked to change the copy to be more explicit about what offerings Emma Sudden could provide.
Now, that I understood how we were approaching users, it was time to consider Emma’s voice in the conversation.
Creating a moodboard, I was able to find the heart and flow of the Emma Sudden story there.
Yoga circles, the waves of the ocean, the flocking of the fish to the center point all had a central theme: the circle. What does the circle represent?
For Emma Sudden, it represented coming together. As a marketer and strategist, Emma brought disparate elements and people together in unique ways.
The circle also represents wholeness and sustainability - the continuation of a process that has no end and is ongoing.
The circle is the center of the design for the logo and the other elements in the graphics like the hero images in the opening parallax.
We did some A/B Testing of the landing page with different images. Overall, we learned users preferred the one images of the warm sky with circles.
MAKE A CONNECTION
Being able to see offerings outlined clearly in the headlines streamlines the process of connecting to the Emma Sudden brand.
DISCOVER OFFERINGS FASTER
Running a business means you have less time to waste. The layout of the Emma Sudden site helps keeps things simple and accessible.
The world of business is often fast-paced and high risk. Marketing tool and strategies are valuable in helping companies build and make connections to people interested in their products, but often finding the right marketer can be a challenge.
I learned it's important to build a site that helps alleviate some of the emotional barriers and frustrations felt when trying to connect with the right marketer by looking to human-lead designs that address real human issues and concerns.