– Claude Sutter,Founder & CEO @ PLASTASTIC
My Tasks: Naming, Brand Concept, Corporate Design, Logo Design, Interface Design, Information Architecture, Usability Testing, WordPress Development
The former company 3D-Tipp had an old image and hadn’t the standards which were required for the modern branch of 3D printing and Swiss quality. This way PLASTASTIC was founded out of the already existing company and was build up from scratch with a new concept, image and design.
All conclusions and decisions made in the process are drawn from the feedback of several researches with existing customers and unbiased test participants. The research was done with different groups of people over 6 month with more than 100 participants for market research, customer research and usability test sessions.
To begin with the old company that also was designed by me before needed a new brand name and look and feel. I sat together with chummily freelancers and we started a brainwriting session using the 6-3-5 method. The outcome were 108 ideas to name the business and the client was happy to have such a big pool to choose from. Since then the company is called PLASTASTIC which is a neologism formed out of “plastic” and “fantastic” combined in the wonderful and detailed products. Still keeping in mind that not every model is printed out of plastic, of course! Because of the already taken domain the name can also be shortened to get the domain plastast.ch.
Designing a modern logo
After the finalisation of the word mark the company needed a new Logo and Corporate Design. Starting by the Logo as a core element of the brand that should be memorable, modern and clean as the business branch itself.
First thought was to work with a logo combination consisting of the word mark and a signet. Before the renaming there already were some logo proposals for the initial redesign of the brand. With the new name I decided to go on with the earlier mockups and the changed name. We quickly came to the decision to rethink that idea and worked out a even cleaner and more modern approach. That’s why I came up with a suggestion for the logo composed of the word mark by itself. The client was instantly happy with the result.
Because of the online service and digital strategy of the company I made the decision to hold the stationary design at a minimum and only designed the business cards for the beginning. Following projects will include letterhead, flyer and more marketing materials if necessary and needed.
Refining the Information Architecture and touch points
After the build of the brand design the main platform needed to be replanned. The old customer journey of the website required a refurbish, so the user flow can be optimised and less problematic. In order to do that the content was elaborated and structured in an easier and more minimalistic way to offer a faster flow and better findability. While the old website had a very unstructured information architecture the new platform should be as clean and easy as it can be to fulfil the customer needs.
Due to that fact we decided to kick all unnecessary information out of the main menu to give the user a better way to choose where to go. While keeping that in mind I managed to have a menu with only five main navigation items where all the needed information is found. Nevertheless it shouldn’t be considered as “safe” that all information is sufficient. So I decided to integrate not only a easy way to contact the company with any questions but also gave the opportunity to use a chat system integrated in the website as well to message the company directly and having a conversation within the website itself.
The most used subpage of the platform was and will be the order page. The process needs to be as intuitive as possible to help unexperienced users but also to make it really fast for experienced users. On the old website there was only on way to order a new 3D model by sending the files and giving information to the service provider and getting back a quote. The customers needed to make a lot of effort to get their models. Thereby the process will be automated with a online calculator to shorten the steps from 7 down to 4. Now the order process can be done by the customer itself only needing to upload the model, give the needed information and get a quote online. That way the customers does only one interaction with the platform and the touch points are reduce to a minimum.
Wireframing the first prototype
After the concept of the calculator and the structure of the content was outlined the process got to be visualised. Because of being still in the Define phase I only did very rough sketches of the main concept of the platform from which I could use separate design patterns I was creating within the process. This way it is easy to implement a design system later for the concept of the website itself. With the first frames of the structure I was able to build up a small prototype for the order process to get some user testing done.
The actual designing of the product
Following the first usability test I started to work on the general screen design. Given that the first brand guidelines are already formed with the foregoing layout of the logo and the business cards I orientated on them for the first design steps of the website. Also I updated the wireframes to implement the feedback that I got from the first test session. Based on the research in the beginning of the project I noted how important a responsive website will be for PLASTASTIC. Since the former company didn’t had one I focused on mobile-first approach to get the order process working smoothly on mobile devices and scaling up the process for desktop users.
I wanted the design of the page to focus on the main actions and keep it as simple as possible not to loose focus on the important information or the required actions to go further on in the process of ordering a print model.
Testing the product with usability tests
The testing phase was before and after the creation of the screen design. While the first phase was done with wireframes and to get the general understanding of the concept the second phase was with a ready build click dummy prototype to test the actual usability of the created and designed product. All appeared issues have been tracked and needed to be prioritise in a list to hunt them down fast to get further into the process of creating.
While the usability tests are done under a strict NDA I am not allowed to write down any conclusions or outcomes from the tests itself. However I can tell that I conducted the tests in the personal environment of the participants with their personal devices and computers. That way they wouldn’t be distracted by the new surroundings or irritated by the new system.
Since the design needs to have another iteration after a usability study and newly insights from the industry the website is still work in progress. But in the background the development of the calculator and the main site structure and grid for WordPress are already running.
This project is an ongoing process and will always be updated and iterated. It also served as a case study for my bachelor thesis in university.