The Design Challenge

In January 2014 I followed my user experience mentor over to the advertising agency DigitasLBi where she was expanding their UX discipline by leaps and bounds. When I arrived, I found myself working on the account for the multinational corporation Emerson Electric.

The Emerson account was much more than just advertising; the team had already several successes building out digital experiences for the client and had earned a role as directing the digital execution of the brand. They had designed a tablet magazine and a blog for the company, but their biggest and most visible digital presence, the website, was far behind the current representation of the brand.

When I arrived in January 2014, this was Emerson’s biggest, and most-visible, digital presence.
 

Agile methodology

A core team was assembled to work in an agile workflow over the course of several months to define and design the new experience. I was chosen as creative lead working side-by-side with the experience design lead, content strategist, and development lead. The content strategist did a great job of breaking down all the enormous amounts of content the company had amassed over the years and providing the team with a clear information architecture that would guide the entire project. Then it was up to myself and the experience design lead to take the content and bring it to life.

Our agile “war room”, which was created by using presentation boards to section off a part of the office common area. That’s me in the foreground.

 

The new responsive design

Because of the scale and scope of the company's presence all over the world, and the multitude of devices and context this site would be viewed in, it was important that the new site be designed to be responsive.

Another important design consideration was the presentation of the brand. Over the years Emerson’s design sensibility had gone from impressing with it’s complexity, to engaging with it’s versatility*.  As a result we wanted information to be presented on the site in easily understood ways. An emphasis was put on bold photography and clear and concise copy, as well as  information graphics to help illustrate complex ideas.

*This is my interpretation of the design evolution and not a definition from the brand or their advertising partners.

 

FINAL PRODUCT

We got a preview of the internal response to the new design a few months before the public launch when Emerson’s CMO unveiled it at their annual leadership retreat. It was met with an overwhelmingly positive response.  A personal favorite for me was when the head of human resources came up and gave me a bear hug!

 

A few months later the site was rolled out to the public and was equally successful (though no more bear hugs for me). The responsive framework was critical to the new design’s success as now everyone, from the prospective engineering student looking for a job from their dorm room, to the corporate sales person accessing the site from their phone on a cargo freighter out to sea, get’s an optimized experience for their situation. To deliver that for such a complex company is a huge accomplishment and I’m proud to have been a part of the project.

 

Role: Associate Creative Director

Site: www.emerson.com