Blog Post By: Susan Kirksey

Designing Digital Solutions: How To Get The Most Out Of A Digital Agency


Have you ever had something customized for you? Maybe clothing? An exercise plan? Maybe those meal or lifestyle subscription boxes that show up on your doorstep once a month? When you experience something that is designed for you, you become spoiled with delight because they get you. They understand the style of clothing that you like and that compliments your body type best. They understand that you want to find an exercise that works but you hate running. They understand that you’re on a vegetarian diet and prefer pasta to rice. In order to get you, people had to start learning about you. In order to learn about you, people had to ask questions. In the world of digital design, we take a similar approach. To craft the right solution for you, we need to understand you, your team, and the business objectives. Buckle up while we take you through a series of questions that should be addressed in order to help launch your project into motion by uncovering its values and priorities.


Gimme Those Questions


We’ll start by asking basic questions: What are you looking to do? What are you selling? You get the idea (and, eventually, so will we). Then we’ll move on to some thought-provoking questions to get a sense for some base-level design information. Usually the first of this type of question is: What will make this project successful for you? Or, what are your “KPIs?” (one of our favorite industry acronyms for Key Performance Indicators). Sometimes this is weird for people because this relies on a little abstract thinking, but there is an answer in there. You might say, “We need to see an increase in product sales on our site” (KPI example #1), or “We want to see that this program engages at least 500,000 people” (KPI example #2). Both of these statements help us in some way.


For KPI example #1, if it’s important for you to see an increase in product sales on the site, we’ll want to make sure that we provide a design solution that emphasizes products (and how to make them look their best), establishes easy purchase flows, and includes proper tracking so we understand who is initially coming to the site and what they’re doing once they’ve landed.


For KPI example #2, if you want a program to engage 500,000 people, we’ll need to understand the target audience for said product/program, explore what this audience might find engaging, and build upon that. We’ll also need to focus on the number of targets you give us and think about how they will learn about the amazing thing we built. Perhaps people should discover this naturally (cue “SEO” or Search Engine Optimization). Maybe we should also be putting money towards advertising on social, whether that’s via a lovely little video or static ad, or via an influencer in the appropriate space.


Additional thought starters might be:

  • Is this digital destination supposed to be educational, engaging, or both? If both, in what priority?
  • Are people coming to the site from various places?

If the goal is for this digital destination to be educational and engaging, you said “educational” first so sounds like the priority here is on the education of this thing. Why does this priority matter? They’re both very important. Of course they are and we’ll work with this in mind. But it’s always important to know the #1. We will be making design decisions and need to ensure this is always factoring in the #1.


Are people coming to the site from various places? (Are ads doing anything around brand/product awareness that are getting people to the site? Are there products in market that are sending people to the site? Are emails driving people there?) Let’s say that after people registered on the website, they received an email at a later point that reminded them about something on the site. Since these people already visited the site at least once, they might not need to see a “How It Works” section on the homepage anymore. We also don’t need to force registration on them since they already registered. If we want users to feel special and only give them things that matter to them, we need to think about how they’re getting to the destination and design the right solutions for them.


These thought-starters are intended to do just that. We need to think about all of these questions as they have a direct impact on how we’re going to build the right solution for you. If you have a product that you’re selling, is this one thing? Multiple things? Are they available today, or coming soon? What happens when these products run out? When you start answering these questions, we’re able to start mapping the experience out.


Solution Breakdown


Q: If you have a product that you’re selling, is this one thing? Multiple things?

A: Multiple things

Solution: Okay, if we’re designing a website solution, at the very least we’ll need more than one product prominently featured and we’ll need at least more than one detail page dedicated to each product.


Q: Are they available today or coming soon?

A: Coming Soon

Solution: We’ll need a “Coming Soon” variant of the products where we may or may not want to show what the product/price is. Do we need to drum up excitement for when this product will be available? If so, we might need to think about where on or off site to do that.


Q: What happens when these products run out?

A: They need to disappear from the website as they can no longer be purchased.

Solution: Do we really want these to disappear or should they go into an “Unavailable” state so that people understand the products are coming back? So, in addition to that “Coming Soon” state, we’ll need some other state for these products and in this state, people will not be able to buy them.


These solutions help to establish the groundwork for building this digital experience for our users.


Bring It to Life


Once we’ve wrapped our heads around the business and needs, we’ll start designing the solution. This might take the shape of a website, a mobile app, a video, an ad campaign, an event, or a combination of everything. It all depends on your audience, objectives, timing, etc. Whatever the path is, we’ll provide designs so you get a visual sense of what the questions and answers lead to. If for a website or app, this is typically represented in the form of user flows and wireframes. User flows provide a visual map of how people will get to the experience and what their journey will be when they land. Wireframes are schematic designs that represent each page of a website or app and place things in order of importance of the overall objectives. With the help of visual design, people can now visualize how this whole thing is going to look and feel. Voila! We have a design and we did it together! It’s now up to our engineering and development heroes to give this life so we can send our creature out into the world.


Through questions and answers, we were able to learn about your business needs and customize an approach that is unique for you. Every idea is unique and needs to be approached with thoughtfulness. The more information that you give us, the more we learn about the project’s intricacies. At this point, we understand you and can tailor our strategy to you in the form of a destination (a website, a content management system, a mobile app, etc.) and/or a promotional solution (organic or social ad content and placement, influencers, tools to manage social content, etc.).


Now, are you looking for a solution? Let’s get started.

 

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