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Experiment-driven design for a major energy supplier

2 people smiling at each other on a sofa. One black person is on a laptop.

Overview

I worked as product design lead with a consulting team of 3 designers—1 service designer and 1 product designer—on this project for a green energy client with over 5 million customers. We were embedded within the client’s product teams.

Cast your mind back to Christmas 2021. The energy market was in crisis. However, our client had not updated much of their messaging online. Our client wanted their homepage to be more strategic, plus have an improved navigation, to acquire new customers.

The output of the 6 week’s work was a strategic UX roadmap, an implementable content and navigation testing and delivery framework and a report on research findings. The new content and navigation is now live on the client’s site.

Skills used

-> Market research
-> Accessibility audit
-> Sustainability audit
-> Customer research
-> Information architecture

-> Ideation workshops
-> Prototyping
-> User testing

Team size

3 designers, plus client teams
Project length
6 weeks
2 newspaper screenshots: The Sun and Forbes Advisor. The headlines read: "Big blow. Six more energy suppliers could go bust before the end of 2021 as 'crisis' hits energy market and bills could soar to £2,000", and "Failed UK energy suppliers update."

Research phase

We started by running some research on the full customer journey: a potential customer arriving at the site, all the way to signing up as a new customer. We gathered together the existing customer research, ran user testing and accessibility testing sessions with current and competitor customers and conducted interviews to understand people’s attitudes within the market. We audited the current site and design system from an accessibility and sustainability standpoint and gathered site SEO, content and usability data to benchmark against and discover further trends.

Man with glasses and a beard smiling at the camera. In the background is a red brick house.
"I need to know my energy supplier won’t go bust."

Competitor energy customer

Definition phase

The team discovered 5 overarching themes which were common in nudging customers to make signup choices. We applied these themes to competitor sites to show how they were responding to changing market conditions.

We then ran 2 cross-departmental workshops with 22 stakeholders. In these ideation workshops we presented the research we had gathered and collectively came up with 64 solutions. We took 21 of these into further testing sessions with potential customers. The remaining ideas were placed in an idea bank that the client could access at any time.

Image of a sketch with sticky dot votes on it and a sticky note next to it saying "Feedback".

Navigation improvements

The client’s product teams had already identified some key issues in navigating the site from a potential customer’s perspective. One of the problems was a lack of understanding of product names and industry terminology. We ran open and closed card sorting with 99 people who qualified as potential customers. This technique involves providing people with descriptions of items available on the site and getting them to group them into categories and give them names. After analysis, tweaking, and chats with the SEO team, we showed a new group of people these names to ensure they could quickly and easily match the products to the categories. We had positive results after doing this, so we took this new naming structure into prototypes to explore effective layouts across different devices, based on our competitor research.

Optimal workshop page - showing different category names grouped under titles

The result

We realised that there were some process blocks for getting new ideas online quickly. My colleagues worked with the teams to map out their current processes for getting content live.

Building on the idea bank and navigation concepts, we worked on ways to introduce consistent prioritisation scoring for ideas and recording experiment results in a manageable way, this resulted in a testing and delivery framework, built on top of the client's design system. Our work fed into a UX roadmap to assist with implementation moving forward.

“You’ve moved us on a lot in 6 weeks”

Head of Product

Green Energy Client

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