Having solidified our new global nav last week, I turned my attention to our new homepage.

For a moment we were wondering whether a homepage really served user needs or business needs, or if it was just something we felt we should do. After all, it’s rare that someone needs a will and probate (our two products) at the same time - so shouldn’t we just have separate product websites, which link across to each other?

When we sketched out what that’d look like, we realised it would be unsustainable for us and confusing for users. So we’re going for it, despite the fact that there’s a fairly high risk it’ll harm conversion if we do a bad job. I put together a first sketch, based on last week’s workshop, in time for our weekly design crit. Sneak peek below.

The new Farewill homepage

I think it was the best crit we’ve had so far. The feedback was free flowing and on point. Especially Louis saying that a particular bit of the new homepage looked like pig skin. I’ve since taken that bit out.

I was struck by what a crack team we’ve become - we’ve now got experts in visual communication, copywriting, product and research all in the same room. Having us all come at the same problem from those varied angles without fear of judgement makes discussion lively, and for an incredibly productive hour. At its best it feels like we’re collectively hammering something into shape.

Clare, our new researcher, was proudly banging the accessibility drum in the crit. Working in the public sector previously I think I’ve got a fairly solid grounding in the principles but I’ve definitely dropped the ball a few times at Farewill. I’m looking forward to taking action and over time making our products better for everyone.

With Clare’s help I set up some unmoderated research for the homepage and nav. We’ve set four tasks for participants, based on the user needs we prioritised in the design workshop last week. Having those four needs made writing the scenarios a breeze. It’s the first time I’ve run unmoderated research. It’s a little nerve-racking knowing you won’t be there to save the participant if anything goes wrong! But I’m excited to see what comes of it.

I went to Canvas conference on Thursday. There were some good talks - especially Lisa Vigar from the BBC on building user centered voice products. As always, the best ones were based around specific case studies - a few fell into the trap of talking abstractly about ways of working without anything to attach it to.

The whole company went to do laser tag on Friday. My assigned code name was Grinder. I assume they were programmed in pre-2009? We were wondering how much longer we’ll be able to keep taking the whole office out for things like that, I’ll be sad when it comes to an end :(

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