Merci Raymond startup, on a mission to integrate green spaces into urban settings, offers various landscaping services, products and experiences to professionals on its BtoB website, and funds pro bono green projects with benefits from its BtoC e-shop. How might we help confused users find their way on the site? How might we help users understand the offer and methodology, and to visualize the expertise? How might we help establish a better contact point and be able to request targeted and coherent quotes? How might we address the two BtoB and BtoC targets with a unique voice and identity?
We designed a responsive site that offers users a more fluid navigation experience with more flexibility and freedom, reduces mental load and improves the overall clarity of the site. The prototype explicites the overall business and renders the whole range of activity hubs and relative project information visible. The contact page and quotes section successfully guide and target its intended users. The design puts forward the overall social mission and philosophy of the company and creates a unique brand and community.
The startup Merci Raymond has a mission to integrate green spaces into urban settings and reconnect city dwellers with nature. The company offers various services, products and experiences. Their main activity hubs addressing businesses are: revegetation, green design, urban agriculture and sustainable food. Engaged in what they refer to as the green revolution, they target individuals as well. They have opened their own parisian restaurant with locally grown products on the rooftop. Socially engaged, they also fund autofinanced green projects through the products and experiences they sell to individuals.
The company founded in 2015 has grown quickly and exponentially over the last years. They started off with an initial BtoB main website designed to target businesses. The startup attracts professionals in the fields of design, construction, city planning and real estate such as promoters, urban planners, architects and landscapers. The startup also offers services to other non specific businesses who occupy urban space in the city, such as startups, small to medium businesses, hotels, restaurants or shops. New businesses are sourced through the communication team’s efforts and networking. The website acts as a portfolio, as the goal is to showcase their projects. The company’s main revenue source is from their BtoB activities.
As the company grew, they launched a second BtoC website that targets individuals. They created an online shop that sells products and experiences. The benefits from the eshop supports and funds their socially engaged projects. The site has been published with a minimal development cost and user experience design studies. The company’s online presence is strong via social media, where a part of the content redirects to the eshop site. Their users are any individual sensitive to a green cause and social engagement projects.
While comparing the startup Merci Raymond to other businesses such as Les Jardins de Gally or Mugo, the difference is striking.
Merci Raymond puts forward a tailor made participative approach while executing projects. The company communicates values of collaboration, social engagement and militantism.
The competitors present a more serious tone, putting forward their professionalism and experience. They present themselves as historical actors with trophees, accreditations and qualifications from field prominent actors. Their connexions to professional unions and associations help them get notoriety in the horticulture and landscaping fields.
The stakeholder’ main wish is to rethink the BtoB platform, to better present the company and its actions. Concerning the BtoB site, SEO collected data shows a lack of visibility of the activity hubs: the urban agriculture hub comes on top, whereas the two other activity hubs are invisible.
The stakeholders would also like the BtoC line of business to become a key brand, in line with the image and messages addressed to the BtoB target.
The overall objective is to find a way to address the two core targets BtoB and BtoC with a unique voice and identity.
From our broad initial brief and our stakeholders’ assumptions we were able to further specify our problem statement. The business goals, the knowledge and availability of the BtoB users as testers, and the fact that the BtoB is the company’s main source of revenue, led us to focus our energy and design priority on the BtoB site and the business users.
The initial problem statement we formulated with the stakeholders is: How might we help companies with revegetation projects understand the universe and the community, consult the offer, the activity hubs and the methodology and visualize the expertise, so that they can request a targeted and coherent quote?
The stakeholders are pleased with their actual brand identity, and have assumptions that it conveys values in line with their identity. In order to validate the brand personality and to learn how it is perceived, we conducted brand personality and 5 seconds tests on the existing BtoB website with 5 users. The top brand attributes that came up were “young’, then “cool” and “friendly”, and finally “cheerful”, “original” and “imaginative”. The overall result is that their brand design is efficient, and works well with their philosophy.
In order to verify the stakeholders’ assumptions and evaluate the existing BtoB site, we conducted a usability test with 5 participants. The results confirmed that there is difficulty navigating the site, a lack of information and blur on the business offer as the testers understand the company works the green projects but couldn’t find more specific information, a poor understanding of the distinct activity hubs, and a lack of an overall business offer. The tests also confirmed that the quotes section is not successfully guiding and targeting its intended users.
Bearing the results we gathered from the testing of the current site, we came up with a specific problem statement: The companies with revegetation and landscaping projects need to understand the offer and the methodology, and to visualize the expertise of Merci Raymond in order to be able to request a targeted and coherent quote because they are lost on the site.
We conducted a heuristic evaluation to shed light on some specific points and to enhance and improve the current site. We observed a lack of freedom of control, for example when users arrive on the site homepage and the video plays in full screen and no clear way to exit it. The extended hovering action required by users to read titles and get information causes mental load. Some legibility issues are noted due to text and image overlap.
The site map of the current website has highlighted the main issues in hierarchy. The loopholes in some clicks are causing difficulty in navigation. The activity hubs pages are presented with no hierarchy, making it harder for users to understand the whole range of services offered by the company.
We designed a user flow that streamlines the navigation towards the quotes section because this is where the business goals and user’s need meet.
We created a mid-fidelity prototype to address the users’ pain points stated in the problem statement. Our aim was to explicite the company’s offer, methodology and expertise to help the users navigate the site fluidly and send out targeted quotes. We designed the desktop format since businesses mostly use their computers during business hours to look for information and companies.
We conducted usability tests on our mid-fidelity prototype. The test results showed that the prototype integrated some improvements. Testers were pleased with the overall clarity of the site, the navigation problem was solved and the whole range of activity hubs was visible. The user flow was solved and users were able to successfully carry out and order a quotation.
The testing sessions highlighted new opportunities to put forward the overall social mission and philosophy of the company. The links between the eshop and the social projects financed by Merci Raymond, every item bought helps support green projects, was not clear to the BtoB users. Users did not quite grasp the content that was addressed to both to BtoB and BtoC users.
In our final sitemap iteration, we created new pages, highlighted content, regrouped sections and reorganized content using clear names. A new quote section added into each activity hub page leads to a more targeted contact. The links created between pages allow the user to have a more fluid experience with various optional navigation routes. The socially engaged projects found in the BtoC e-shop are regrouped and integrated to the BtoB to put forward the company’s activism.
Our interface design has to preserve the universe of Merci Raymond, mostly through their content and images that convey a subtle message of friendliness.The style tile created is in line with the brand we had validated during a brand personality test on the existing BtoB website.
We designed a high fidelity prototype of our solution.The prototype simulates the user flow of a professional looking to develop a green project. The user landing on the homepage is immersed into the Merci Raymond universe. The editorial content, as in featured projects and key pages, gives the impression the company is young and fun, and not too corporate. In the company’s history section, the user is curious about who Raymond is and finds a note from the founder saying that it is his grandfather. The user learns about the business’ key accomplissements, is pleased to learn about the team and their roles and is amused to discover their favorite plants. The user browses to the company’s vision section, where he can get a clearer view of the business, an overview of their whole activity, services and products, and their methodology. Facing the variety of skills and diversity, the user is convinced of the expertise. Eager to learn more, the user takes a stroll on the site and finds an impressive myriad of projects, and has no doubt about the company’s professionalism and expertise. The user enjoys the freedom of navigation, as the bottom of the pages allows connecting to other activity hubs or ordering a quote from any given page. While viewing a specific project, the user quickly identifies the key information such as date and surface, and browses through the pictures. The user is convinced and wants to get in touch and order a quote. Furthermore, the user learns about the company’s restaurant with locally grown products on the roof, and the possibility to contribute to the company’s own auto financed green responsible project. The user reviews the workshops and social activities they offer as well as the eshop. At this point, the user understands that Merci Raymond is more than a service provider, it is an engaged social community, with its own inspirations and tutorials section.
The designed solution offers more flexibility and freedom to the user. It shows an overall complete view of the business as well as the social engagement entities. It brings forward the company’s offer, expertise and value. The solution echoes Merci Raymond’s core business by addressing its BtoB users and offering them expertise and more, a whole community. It also addresses its BtoC users by encouraging them to be part of that community.
Some metrics could help evaluate success: increased monthly visits of the invisible activity hubs, increased number of targeted quotes and users more satisfied with their experience on the site.
The next steps would be to test and gather feedback from the BtoB users. Another objective would be to get to know the BtoC users and understand the reasons and motivations behind the use of the e-shop. A new design sprint would allow to make the BtoC solution more impactful and consistent with the BtoB website.