Blacknight Solutions are a 100% Irish owned, ICANN accredited domain registrar and hosting company and one of Europe’s most cutting edge Internet companies. Priding themselves on their customer service and dependebility Blacknight is certified to ISO 27001, the strictest international standard available in information security management.
Blacknight Solutions offer a wide array of products and services to a range of client types in different markets and at different scales. This presents an obvious conundrum for their website and their customer service team: how can our web presence simultaneously present the optimal user journeys for each of our clients, each of whom have different goals to fulfil, without confusing all of them?
The solution would be finding a way for each user persona to let the site know, as early as possible, what kind of a customer they are, and then presenting them with the options best suited to them, while removing anything not relevant to them such that their journey to the checkout is clear and uncluttered
The challenge: to present a large array of information with an intuitive, guided user experience that allows users of all levels to find exactly what they're looking for with ease.
Communicraft, working as always in close collaboration with our client, executed a research led, user-centred & goal-focused approach that would provide the best user-experience for this wide range of user types (personas) with different individual goals.
The design, site structure and functionality is the result of a detailed discovery phase. Research was carried out both on Blacknight's competitors and on organisations in different industries who faced similar challenges. What were they doing right and what were they doing wrong on the web? What can we learn from in both situations?
User Research / Personas.
We identified a wide range of visitors / personas with varying levels of experience and confidence from novice to professional. These varied user types had different goals and these were carefully mapped out as user journeys in a consultative, iterative process.
User Goals Analysis.
Communicraft's UX team studied the goals of each identified persona and the products and services on offer from Blackngiht that mapped to these goals. This goals analysis and persona research was carried out in a series of UX workshops with members of the Blacknight Team and representatives of the different personas identified.
User Experience Design.
Based on the discovery phase and the subsequent UX workshops, Communicraft designed a system of progressive interactivity to support key user journeys with a clean, simple, legible, professional design, that clearly directs users through an intuitive process to find the information and functionality that is relevant to them.
Look and Feel Design.
Based on mood boards created by Communicraft in collaboration with Blacknight's marketing team using their brand guidelines and desired messaging as a foundation, the color palette and choice of imagery was inspired by Blacknight’s bucolic location in County Carlow. With environmental factors central to the choice of location for server farms for global IT firms, showcasing the environment was on message while communicating the character as desired.
This allowed Blacknight to stand out from competing firms who tended to use imagery of servers and cables, which could potentially add to visitors’ anxiety around choosing a technical service. We wanted to communicate how Blacknight had an identity and a character in tune with their location and their people.
UX Design Execution.
No user experience design project is effective without a clinical execution. Blacknight Solutions have an in house technical team that manages their array of advanced software solutions which empower their team to effectively deliver on their customer service promise. These systems needed to be integrated with the new user interface designed and developed by Communicraft.
User Interface Development.
Communicraft's front end development team crafted user interface templates based on the designed elements using HTML 5 CSS3 coded to best practice web standards. These templates were created as a responsive design, with adaptive elements for mobile. Adaptive techniques allow us to select certain elements of the user interface and swop out alternative, more suitable layouts for different devices rather than just fitting the same thing on a smaller screen, an example being the domain search's prominence on mobile, domain searches. Blacknight's sales of .ie domains in particular has more than doubled in size since the new site's launch.
Once developed, the templates were integrated with Blacknight's choice of Content Management System - Wordpress. Blacknight Solutions themselves offer Wordpress based services and they were very much determined to back up their belief in their services by demonstrably making use of those same services themselves.
Communicraft integrated the core templates with Wordpress by selecting extensions which would allow for a completely bespoke, pixel for pixel representation of the custom design within the CMS. Our team worked closely with Blacknight's developers as they integrated these Wordpress templates with their back office systems, supporting and troubleshooting their integration process.
A Seamless User Interface.
The result of a well managed, technically excellent execution is a user experience for Blacknight's customers that presents an efficient, intuitive & concise journey to what the user needs, whatever the device. The user never has to be aware of the complexity and interconnectedness of the operation that allows Blacknight to deliver an excellent customer service to all manner of users, whether personal, public or enterprise.
“We worked closely with Communicraft’s team throughout this project. Our close collaboration worked to get a better understanding of our clients and what the customer’s digital journey should look like. “
Paul Kelly, CTO Blacknight.