Audits and recommendations
To accompany our proposed IA and navigation and design templates, our copywriter took a close look at the current tone and language of the Support area. She found it was typically Virgin: playful and easy on the ears, but for time-poor and frustrated customers with an intermittent internet connection or a mobile issue, it was unsuitable. She developed this audit into a short guide, to help everyone creating the new content, achieve a more direct and concise tone, illustrated with real examples from the site.
Preparing for sprints
We suggested using GatherContent as our content production platform – a first for both us and Virgin Media Ireland. It allowed us to organise, structure, communicate and produce the content in a single place. In GatherContent, we created a new ‘group’ to work on the project. This included the project’s key stakeholders - who could get constant visibility on our progress via the project’s dashboard in seconds.
We designed a workflow for the project with Virgin Media Ireland. This remained flexible throughout and allowed us to add or edit a flow to make us more efficient. This ability to remain agile and respond to changing demands as the project developed was crucial to our eventual success.
Touching base and gaining trust
Before the production sprints began, our copywriter went over to Limerick to meet the care team experts, developers and key stakeholders we would be working with and present our approach and design templates. We also took the opportunity to brainstorm their customer terminology together to inform the fresh copy and also the meta data. Together we created a list of interchangeable terms, then identified which one the customers used most over the phone: for example, we would use: ‘hub’, not ‘modem’, and ‘phone’ not ‘handset’ in the new content.
While we were there we assigned each page in GatherContent to a care team expert depending on their preference and knowledge of that product or service. Working side-by-side like this, meant the next phase was much easier, trust was built between us and we were able to incorporate their ideas and opinions too – leading to collaboration, coherence and importantly for an intense production phase: camaraderie!
The three care team experts were taken off the phones and tasked with writing the first draft of content - making sure all the current gaps in advice were filled in. Inevitably some pages required some quite complicated edits that we had to confer with them closely about. Our copywriter worked closely with a Virgin Media Ireland copywriter to edit what the care team experts had drafted. This step was essential - acting as a layperson sense checking and having the experience to shape the tone and language to ensure it was clear and succinct for customers.
Article copy and metadata was optimised to be SEO-friendly, so customers could now find individual support articles using google. The new structure meant the call centre staff could find articles quickly, and shortened URLs are easily shareable.
We suspected there would be a certain number of pages that would not fit into one of the six design templates we had created. Our designer was on-hand to respond to these by making custom templates - working closely with both the care team to better understand the needs of that page and also their developers to make sure it was possible to execute her custom designs within the timeframe. By the end of the process, we had designed and built a total of 18 custom pages. The result was that we had more flexibility and our content was never compromised to fit to a design.
We made a fair amount of amends to the original IA during the sprints. The current content was so repetitive and extensive it wasn’t really possible to know what we needed until we started writing and it was essential to remain agile in our approach in order to create the best possible new site.
Working with a client’s internal resource in such a collaborative way has led to a transformation of internal processes. The new content-first approach has been widely adopted. Design, IA and content guidance continues to inform the Virgin Media digital teams.
It also meant we were absolutely efficient and so we could deploy 280 new pages within six weeks in budget with a small team of ten. The takeaways and learnings from the new style of production of this project were unprecedented for us and Virgin Media Ireland and has fundamentally changed how we can deliver value to clients implementing this sort of website redesign.