Brand & UX audit
Hard-to-find marketing assets
Microsoft sells most of its software through original equipment manufacturers (OEM). Think Dell, Toshiba, Sony, etc. These partners need quick access to Microsoft digital assets to create consistent ads for co-advertising. Thus, the Microsoft OEM Elements site was born. All on SharePoint.
Unfortunately, the original solution was deeply flawed. Buried content, poor navigation, and numerous conflicts with Microsoft’s latest brand guidelines added up to a frustrating user experience that strained partner relationships. Site users included about 800 design and marketing agencies that served up to 40 OEM partners worldwide. With that level of demand, the customer service inbox was bursting at the seams. Not good.
An IT consultant leading the project asked us to solve all of the “front-end” concerns. They would develop the backend. Our process uncovered the user-experience needs, as well as client identity and brand requirements. We optimized all in wireframe and design sprints, working closely with the development team and the client.
Once completed, we provided site-ready assets with a developer’s guide detailing every step of the build. During production, we supported the project team in testing and design reviews.
Good design saves time
After launch, the number of registered users doubled to 1,600 design and marketing agencies. Yet emails to the customer service inbox dropped to nearly zero.
The visual design was on brand, and the new usability solution reduced time spent on the site—a good thing in this case, since users no longer had to dig around in search of assets. A Microsoft creative strategy manager on the project was “very impressed” with the result and said, “The graphic UI work [will] bring a new level of sophistication, which we are excited about.”
Think long term
The story doesn’t end there. On behalf of the consultant, we continued to serve additional requests from the end client for another two years and counting. To date, we’ve completed 20 projects on this account — extending the consulting team’s capabilities. As a result, their business grew and Microsoft has been rewarded with higher quality advertising down market.