It always seemed to me that “user experience” was just a normal part of any online experience or marketing plan, and not its own thing. Who builds a website without considering how the user will USE it? But I guess now that more can be done to personalize everyone’s individual experience, the more complicated it has become, and the more specialized designers need to be.
In any case… here are a couple of instances I was involved with where we had some complicated user experience issues to figure out.
The first is the Nutrition Calculator for LaRosa’s Family Pizzerias. To replace the giant PDF files they currently use, LaRosa’s wanted their nutrition information to be more accessible and interactive, with the idea being that a user could build their own custom meal and have its total nutritional values calculated. In a perfect world, the person could then place the order immediately online, but Online Ordering is a complicated issue with them, so the end result could only be informational… if not fun!
This was a massive exercise in logistics for the HyperDrive team, as the LaRosa’s menu features dozens of items, all of which have multiple degrees of customization, especially when it comes to pizza. And it was a tough task for me to figure out how to get it into a responsive online environment while making it look good and make sense. Ultimately, a library of icons, colors, rollover/click-thru states, drop-downs and other solutions emerged that allowed a user to “build” their menu item with everything they want on it, as much as they wanted, and determine whether any of it might have an allergen… then add that item to a larger order, to determine how much nutritional value an entire meal would have. It’s a fun tool to play with… try it out!
Another fun tool I hand a hand in creating was the Inventory Tool for Norton Outdoor Advertising. Their new website was a fairly simple design, created to be “timeless”, act responsively across screen sizes, and become a more productive asset for them. That last point culminated in the “inventory tool”, which allows users to filter and view Norton’s billboards on a custom Google map, with details and photos about each sign. Users then had the ability to save particular signs and submit them to Norton sales reps. Those reps would then be able to call on those submissions, armed with info about the signs chosen, to make quicker, more efficient sales. In an ideal world, this also could have gone to showing real-time availability and even the ability to reserve a board, but that was well beyond the scope or request.
Again, my role was mainly visual, laying out designs for desktop, tablet and phone screens. In accordance with their desire to infuse a bit more color into their look, I adopted a rather bright palette of secondary colors, each representing a type of billboard, for easy identification on the map. They were ecstatic with the final result, and are no doubt reaping the benefit of some not-so-cold-calls by customers and reps!