After completing a successful project with their industrial wing, DTE Energy was eager to enlist our help with the user experience and information architecture of their new consumer site as well.
Before we could tackle creating a better user interface we had to get the content organized in an effective and intuitive manner. We worked side by side with corporate communications leadership at DTE Headquarters in Detroit, Michigan to pare down content, combining where necessary, and focus the copy in on the customer’s pain points.
This was a particularly interesting task given that, as homeowners ourselves, we use DTE for our electricity and thus have experienced a great many frustrated moments trying to navigate their site. This job was personal. And that made it all the more exciting!
So approaching the problem from the customer’s perspective was pretty easy, and the first thing we did was restructure the consumer side of the content around what consumers are actually looking for. When you land on this kind of site, you’re usually there for a reason, you’re not just reading for the sheer joy of it. So we top-loaded the cheapest options, and gave people clear paths to make EASY improvements to their electrical usage. And it felt so right.
The aesthetics of the site were more or less established by the time we were brought on, but a design style guide for all of the various widgets, blocks, and whats-its had to be established, and that’s where we took point. By establishing a consistent set of interface elements and look and feel for all of them we hoped to avoid the patchwork look the previous site had, full of third party widgets and mismatched design standards.
What we did:
- Collaborate with DTE’s Corporate Communications team on consistent templates for each type of content
- Wireframe interface elements and layouts
- Extensive photo selection
- Focused areas around simple, direct actions for users