Experiment-driven design for a major energy supplier



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

Louise from Futurelabs carried out design consulting work as product design lead for a green energy client with over 5 million customers. The consulting team included a service designer and an additional product designer and was embedded within the client’s product teams. The output of the 6 week’s work was a strategic UX roadmap, an implementable content and navigation testing delivery framework and a report on research findings. The new content and navigation is now live on the client’s site.

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 more new customers.

  • —  Market research
  • —  Accessibility audit
  • —  Sustainability audit
  • —  Customer research
  • —  Information architecture
  • —  Ideation workshops
  • —  UX prototyping
  • —  Data experiments
  • —  UX testing
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."

We started by running some research on the full journey of a potential customer arriving at the site, all the way to signing up as a new customer. We gathered existing research, ran user testing sessions 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 current site SEO, content and usability data to benchmark against and discover further trends.

User interview video call screen with 2 participants

"I need to know my energy supplier won't go bust"

— Competitor energy customer

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 ideation workshops with 22 stakeholders. In these ideation workshops, we presented the research we'd gathered and came up with 64 solutions. We took 21 of these into further testing sessions with potential customers. The leftover 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".

The client’s product teams had already identified some key issues in navigating the energy 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

We realised that there were some blocks to getting ideas online quickly. My colleague worked with the teams to map out their current processes for getting content live. Building on our idea bank and navigation concepts, we worked on ways to introduce consistent prioritisation scoring for ideas and recording experiment and testing findings in a manageable way. This fed into a UX roadmap, as well as a rapid content testing methodology, built on top of the client’s design system.

"You've moved us on a lot in 6 weeks"

— Head of Product, Green Energy Client

It all started with a hello

One day we'll look back on how the magic began. We're a friendly bunch so reach out, don't be shy now!

Welbee new homepage on a mobile phone held by a hand

Next project