— It all started with a logo. And ended up with design profile, new website and a digital membership service.
8 months ago, the duo that once was Improving Lives came to us because they needed our help to improve their logo and branding colors. All they needed was a simple facelift. However, once we got talking, we soon realized that their ambitions were much bigger than just a logo. Up until that point they had been running profitably selling an online membership that gave the members a custom diet plan and workout program. But it was, by and large, a manual job that required a much more hands on approach and had limited value for its users. Their ambition was to build a on online membership service that would guide the user through both meals and meal plans, as well as exercise routines and workout programs that would be of considerably more benefit to the user.
Thus, our work began to not only define the look’n feel of this new service, but also explore how and what this membership service could and would function.
The UX was first conceived of and committed to wireframes using pen and paper, where it was mulled over and refined several times before we started working out a digital counterpart in the shape of a prototype. We tested our assumptions on real users in every stage of the UX development. First in the shape of questionnaires, and then as the work progressed as a clickable prototype accompanied by yet another questionnaire. The goal was, as should be expected, to keep the UX from getting overly complicated and to make sure the end users were able to complete the most important tasks in the easiest possible way.
As for the design, this process ran parallell to the UX. The work of setting look’n feel had already begun at the onset of the project, and a stylesheet was developed concurrently with the UX. This was handy when the developers were ready to start translating the prototype into a functional web app.
The design language was in keeping with current trends towards more vibrant colors and use of gradients for backgrounds and logos, but a using a flat UI for buttons.
Text was naturally modern using the Philoson Soft typeface. The color scheme was leaning towards the feminine, without becoming too sugary. The service is about motivation, aspiration, but also solidarity. The brand had to reflect a softer approach than the language found with many of the usual suspects, which are often prone to a rougher profile of black, red, strong yellow and/or blue.
Ultimately the user, who are by overwhelming majority women, had to feel welcome and accepted, and enjoy spending time in this environment. And to that end, we felt that the purple and pinkish hues, mixed with the soft yellow; contrasted by a friendly medium saturated green, was a good place for the Improving Lives brand. To offset any feeling of cotton candy, we picked a rougher font for the name using a brush-typeface with a throwback to 80’s movie posters such as Flashdance to inspire self motivation.
The system was built to be lean. We used the React framework with styled components, which was great for speed of development, but also good for future development since we weren’t just building a one-off campaign site. This allows us to use the code to build a native app in the future. Since had both UX and devs sitting next to each other, they could start working early and were able to bounce ideas off of each other. The back end is built on a mix of Craft CMS and Node.js
At the end of the day, having a complete team of UX, design and developers, all in one tight group allowed for an agile process in which we could react quickly to ideas and input, and shaved off many of the fruitless hours of communication that would otherwise incur in any medium sized project. And all of this was being orchestrated by an experienced producer with that kind of hands on approach that means she’s not just going to let the various departments run off on their own little tangents.
At Good Morning it’s always been our contention that building an app or a website, while often hard work, is in fairness the easy part of the job. It’s a ‘do’ type of work; meaning that we are seasoned professionals (yes, we said it) who know or stuff. Make no mistake, building it is a lot of work, but it’s something that we control. We can put our expertise into it and overcome any difficulties. The challenge is contained to our offices (for the most part). The difficult, and often most underestimated part, is getting users. Letting people know that there is a site or an app out there that will help, amuse or inform them, and then making the user engage with our creation; that is by far the hardest part.
Fortunately we are blessed with wonderful clients who understand this. Torunn, the founding partner of Improving Lives, have already worked and toiled for four years with the singular focus of getting users, and understanding what they want. The Improving Lives 2.0 app is a vast improvement on the previous version, and should prove an easier sell by any standards, but the client also understands that her product is, and always will be, a work in progress. A product like this is never finished, and building the product is as important as bringing it to the users.