012

012 web site
Designing for the on line community
Key words : web design , multimedia, on-Line branding, information architecture
Skills used: graphic design, flash web interfaces, illustration,
012.net, which is one of Israel’s largest ISPs, was about to launch at 1999. With two strong competitors, already embedded in the Internet arena, 012.net needed to establish its brand off line as well as online.

012.net brand was about Freedom.
Freedom means Letting the users choose what to do on the web, when to do it and how to do it their own way. It means surfing without boundaries (even in the pre ADSL days).

Another essential message was “We understood the web better than anyone else”.
Not just the technology, but also the users and their needs.
This understanding enables them to provide their users with what they really want, through the best technological means.

When adjusting the brand to the web we wanted to come up with a solution that will answer both the company’s objectives and users’ needs. We set ourselves the following goals:

  • Strengthen the 012.net brand
  • Create a meaningful and valuable experience to the user
  • Connect the user to the brand; conceptually and emotionally
  • Fulfill the brand promise: make a novel & innovative online experience that will excite the users and deliver the freedom feeling through interaction, visual and content.
  • Create rich media site that works fast even on low bandwidth

Then, we had to do it all in a very short time…

The Design Process
Market research:
What is the market like? Who are the competitors and what is their web presence like? Who would use the portal? What are those users’ needs? What would be the content they’ll want from this site (at their short but frequent visits) and how should this content be presented?

Conclusions
As we went farther on with our analysis we came up with few conclusions, the primary one was that we wanted to position the site as the surfer’s friend. As their friend, it informs and recommends new possibilities to surf the net & cool places to go to; we wanted to expand the surfers’ horizons and give them the feeling of real choice.
We wanted them to put their defenses down and enjoy, because this is what the surfing experience should be about: Freedom and fun.

Our Solution
012.net’s site was a portal that looked and behaved differently from existing portals at that time. It had to be relevant and attractive to the users, which reflected most social classes, ages and professions of the Israeli society, and ranged in their computer literacy from novices to experts.

In order to achieve our goals we created an interactive, dynamic web site, filled with attractive content and activities to the surfer (as well as business information and online campaigns). The information and recommendations supplied in the site were various and changed constantly.

It was built with flash technology that enhanced the energetic and vivid feeling, and enabled us to expand the interaction possibilities of the site.

A Back office module was created to enable the 012.net content people to update the site on a regular basis, and keep it a vibrant and relevant source of information. (It’s Freedom for the corporate workers as well as for the site users).

Quick tour around the site
Private customers section
Main information area (1)
Greets the user for entering the site, Contains company’s messages, short explanation about the site and short announcements.

Daily web recommendation (2)
As a good friend would do, we prepared a list of the hottest and most interesting events and sites. The list is frequently updated, providing the users a reason to check 012.net’s site on a regular basis.
The list is comprised of “recommendation items” such as: “Want to find love?”, “want to monitor your finance activities?” “Need to catch a last minute flight?” “Want to chat with Brittany?”

When hovering with the mouse above each item an “Information bubble” (a representation of the logo) appears and adds some extra information as to the content of the link.
I. E: live chat with Brittany Spears, today at 3 PM on www.blah.com

Clicking on the item launches a new window with the requested link.

Web directory (3)
Indexed list of sites which cover many topics our potential users might find interesting. These include: News, Essential information, Games, Entertainment, leisure and lifestyle etc. The crop of Israel’s web sites is presented there.
Clicking on an item launches a page that contains links and explanations about their content.

Main navigation bar (4)
The main navigation bar is located on the upper part of the screen and contains links to all other sections of the site.

The links are divided into 3 groups according to importance and use frequency. Each group of links has a distinctive appearance and interaction method:

  1. Links to other 012.net sites:
  1. Links to sections within the site:
  2. When clicking on a section’s name, a docking menu appears, allowing the user to drag it and place it anywhere on the screen (Freedom, remember?). The menu can be minimized or closed completely.

  1. Links to the business solutions section
012.net’s slogan (6)
This slogan says “We understand the net. We understand YOU”

Imagery
The site displays a selection of images that were chosen to convey and emphasize the brand’s messages.
Guiding keywords were chosen:
“Freedom”, “Imagination” and “unlimited possibilities”.

We wanted images of people, who are in a happy mood, in a dynamic body posture (that implies on freedom and fun), expressing their joy in a physical way: jumping, laughing etc.

The desired atmosphere was welcoming and cheery, greeting our users with open arms and big smiles, making them feel as their visiting friends.
The images were stored in a database and a random image was displayed each time.
Here are some examples:

 

A transitional animation was created to maintain the dynamic feeling:

Daily greeting (8)
As another means of creating the welcoming feeling, a daily greeting mechanism was built, greeting the user according to the day of the week (I. E: “Have a peaceful Saturday” or ” Wish you a happy Monday”).

Business Solutions Section
Businesses had to be approached differently than private customers. Separated from the main site, and reached through a special link, this section supplies information and incentives for businesses to use 012.net’s internet services.

Content features:

  1. Main information area: provides information regarding the unique services 012.net offer their business customers
  2. Web directory: contains relevant sites Navigation features
  3. Main navigation bar (+ docking menus): The basic structure and interaction methods were kept in this section as well in order to keep consistency throughout the site Branding features
  4. Imagery: Changes were prominent in the appearance. A “business like” color scheme was devised and a more business oriented imagery was selected. The “Freedom” motive was still kept.
  5. 012.net logo
  6. 012.net’s Business slogan:
    “We take care of communications. You take care of business”

The results

The launch was a success. 012.net’s site generated great interest and heavy traffic, which resulted with rapid market penetration and brand impact on the market.

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