We here at Digital Telepathy are pretty fortunate. We often have the opportunity to be part of the extraordinary things that our clients are working on. One of our recent engagements is one such extraordinary opportunity. And we’d like to share this story with you because, not only were we successful at solving this client’s acquisition issues (25 percent decrease in bounce), this issue is one that many of our clients have: How do you increase customer acquisition and sign-ups when your product is really hard to describe to your users?
As you might have guessed, the centerpiece for this post is one such client, Unoceros. Although poised to disrupt an entire industry, they were having difficulty creating messaging around their value proposition that was easily understood by their potential customers. So what are they doing? They’re offering the world’s first distributed, high-performance computing network hosted entirely on mobile technology. Their technology aims to commoditize computing, giving college students, researchers and startups easy access to massive amounts of computing power. But explaining Unoceros’ (way complex) service and creating killer messaging to promote its beta access launch wasn’t so simple, which was why we decided to use a novel approach to solve their objectives. Using the power of our very own business philosophy, Objective-Based Design—in conjunction with a “content first” approach to creating the landing page—we’d like to share our breakthroughs with you.
The challenge: Communicating a complex service and value proposition clearly and succinctly to a highly diverse audience with different job titles, backgrounds and technical needs. Sure, we may have explained Unoceros to you just now in a couple sentences, but the ability to do so was the result of weeks of research and strategy. More on this later.
The approach: Compose content first, then design around said content. Implement an agile process of pairing a copywriter and a designer using copy as a the driver of the design.
The process: Objective-Based Design (OBD) was our process for tackling their objective, which was to uncover the friction in Unoceros’ user acquisition and beta access sign-up. Following the OBD process using Research, Strategy, Implement and Measure as our process pillars, you’ll be able to understand the stages and see how it supported our “content first” approach, or any approach for that matter. The OBD process is useful for tackling any business problem, which is why we framed this post within its stages, so you could see for yourself the value of using it to solve even the most elusive objective.
The project deliverables: A marketing site that explains their value proposition clearly using visual storytelling as a means of distillation, plus a sign-up form for beta access.
- 15 to 25 percent decrease in bounce rates
- Dramatic increase in beta sign-ups
- Decrease in the cost-per-lead
“Wait… What do you do?”
When we first met Unoceros, we had no idea what they actually provided. Their previous marketing site was vague, at best. What they were describing was a service we had never heard about and we just didn’t get it. Our first call revolved around the question that many people had likely asked them before: “Wait… what do you do?” With a beta launch on the horizon, Unoceros needed to recruit new users through their site. Explaining the benefits of the Unoceros Platform, and persuading someone to sign-up, became the primary focus for our project.
Devin Elliot, founder and CEO of Unoceros, and Marie Sbrocca, Marketing Manager, flew to San Diego to work in-house with our team of strategists, content creators, UX designers and developers. Our first research step was to spend the first day together conducting stakeholder interviews to understand Unoceros’ service, the audience and what the value propositions could be for their particular audience. As you might expect, this generated a load of information that our team needed to parse and prioritize.
While we internalized that information, we presented Unoceros with some additional research we had done regarding branding, as well as voice and tone. We discussed our assessment of their current style and plotted brands—such as MailChimp and Slack—on a spectrum to determine our strategy. Should Unoceros be personable and quirky, or straightforward and professional? This research gave us the foundational insights from which we could begin writing content for the site.
What we learned during the stakeholder interview portion of the research phase was that, until now, the computing power necessary to map the human genome, or run thousands of data experiments, was only available to organizations with very deep pockets. The platform Unoceros is creating will give anyone with a brilliant idea access to the resources they need to realize it. Their service will dramatically decrease the cost of computing with traditional data centers, and give people the opportunity to “try anything” without worrying about budget. Imagine what companies could accomplish if budget wasn’t a concern in experimental projects that required extraordinary computing power… Using this knowledge, in conjunction with our assessment of their voice, tone and competitive analysis plot, we felt well-armed with enough research to start crafting strategies.
The “Content First” Approach
We decided as a team that we would approach this website as a story. Experience has taught us that aesthetics alone aren’t enough to persuade someone to give up their personal information; they need to be invested in and persuaded by the value proposition. Crafting a well-researched and easily digestible narrative is the best way to accomplish this objective.
The themes we chose to focus on were: Computing for Less, Unlimited Scalability and Ease of Use. These themes served as our “messaging pillars” that would form the structure of the site. All the content we created supported these pillars, resulting in a sound argument for why someone should want to invest in Unoceros’ service.
With these themes in mind, we filtered through the information we collected to bring the most relevant, interesting facts about Unoceros to the page. We were all fascinated by the fact that the architecture upon which the Unoceros network is built is completely mobile—but we also knew that if we didn’t understand it right away, then no one else would either. After some lively discussion about how to solve this problem, Marie brought up some stats that the team thought were kind of cool. These stats compared the power of today’s mobile phones to the enormous data centers that made up the first couple generations of supercomputers. The numbers were outstanding! For instance, did you know that your cell phone has more processing power than the computers NASA used to put a man on the moon? Our minds were blown. It really put into perspective just how powerful the Unoceros network could be, especially with mobile technology advancing with every new release. This, we thought, should be the foundation for the Unoceros narrative: Infinite computing power built off of rapidly advancing technology.
We decided to start at the macro level at the top of the page to ensure that users understood the basic ideas and slowly introduce the specific services that Unoceros provides. The big picture was the foundation of the service itself: the distributed global network of mobile phones. From there, we described the power that that network could create and what that translates to on a project level. Finally, we covered how a user could harness this power for their business through the Unoceros API. The page concludes with a call to action to sign-up for the beta.
Throughout this content creation process, we intentionally kept the use cases and audience ambiguous. The Unoceros platform can be used in myriad ways by many different audiences, industries or organizations and we didn’t want to accidentally alienate an entire segment by specifically targeting a certain user segment. Instead we wanted to allow customers to dream big and imagine what they could do. This strategy allowed us to speak to the entire Unoceros audience without the risk of alienating an individual.
Words are by far the most effective asset in educating a lead and convincing them to convert, but visuals help draw the eye, keep the user on page and carry them from one point to another. To hone in on the appropriate look-and-feel for this redesign, we explored various image and illustration styles through moodboarding. Based on stakeholder feedback, we were able to evolve Unoceros’ existing color palette and typography to fit the new design, with a focus on “high-tech” aesthetics. We also supported the story with custom illustrations that enhanced the high-level features and benefits of the product. The animations and illustrations spur a visceral reaction and keep users engaged while communicating the Unoceros story.
With the main goal of driving beta sign-ups, the team also designed an eye-catching sign-up form. Limiting the form to a single email field removes cognitive barriers and increases the likelihood that users would convert.
As Unoceros is a rapidly evolving company, we also wanted to ensure that we future-proofed our design so their site would continue to be relevant. We spoke with the team about their goals and aspirations for the product and identified some easy wins we could implement to help them with future iterations. Part of this was researching a turn-key community forum that would allow users to collaborate on different strategies and uses for the platform.
The final product was a marketing website that told the company’s story and communicated its value in a beautiful and compelling manner. The “content first” approach helped us distill a complex topic into a succinct narrative that quickly explained the value of this revolutionary product.
With the launch of its new site, Unoceros experienced a dramatic decrease in bounce rates, between 15 to 25 percent, and an increase in beta sign-ups. With these improvements also came a decrease in the cost-per-lead, as well as other benefits. The redesign accomplished its objective, and now Unoceros has a strong foundation upon which to launch their beta platform.
Want to learn more about our unique design process and subscription service? Visit our Process Page and uncover the magic behind our Objective-Based Design process. Have questions about how or why we did what we did? Hit us up in the comments section—we’re listening!