Energy tariff simplification - a government imposed UX?

So the government is introducing a plan to force energy companies to simplify their tariffs. Whilst I'm not supporting the government meddling with an industry which it is responsible for privatising, I do support the notion of ensuring simpler services/products for customers. In fact I would like to see something like this sweep across the Financial Services sector. Sadly I've seen lot's of examples of products being created which are fit for a company's structure or commercially beneficial, but ultimately a nightmare for customers to understand. All the research I've seen in the past few years shows how little tolerance customers have for investigating the benefits and limitations of services. More often than not this leads to mis-selling and disgruntled customers, when they realise what they've actually bought. It seems that if you want customers to care at all about your brand, they have to understand what it offers, they have to feel in control of their purchase. Jony Ive often talks about the need for feeling as though we dominate our products.

At the moment the coverage of the energy tariff initiative is focusing on what this will do to energy prices, but I'm very eager to see how each provider adapts its products to ensure clarity through the e-commerce process. Hopefully this will bring us to a more customer centric approach to service design and open doors for user-centred designers saving the day.


itv rebrands from an in-house "pop up studio"

So ITV has become itv and given itself a rebrand. As per usual the rebrand has focused it's publicity around the logo, rather than the strategic change and as per usual designers and public line up their superficial comments on the quality of the design.

Personally I think the application of the logo is better than the logo form itself. The letter shapes are not very graceful and the choice of logo in its primary lockup makes it imbalanced. However that stuff is obvious and throwing more noise on the pile is of no interest to me.

The part of the press release that did catch my eye was this:
"It has been produced in house using a pop-up studio, with just some assistance from design freelancers"
 "the decision to do the rebrand in house was not a financial decision, it's a philosophical decision".

I'm not wholly sure of what a "pop-up studio" consists of, but I think the idea. I like the thought of a dedicated internal team appearing in the middle of the ITV offices. I also applaud the bravery of rolling out a major redesign using in-house design. ITV has a reputation for slashing costs right now and this decision may well be fueled by that cost saving approach. None the less it shows a bold ownership by ITV that I appreciate.

I'd like to see more brands gaining the confidence to take charge of their brand design. An agency can certainly offer specialist help, but outsourcing your voice will only ever make you sound like someone else.


Double win at the Lovie awards

My work has picked up two awards at this years Lovie Awards. I've been lucky enough to work on award winning projects before, but for me this one is a bit special because the Peoples' Choice award was voted by the 'people'.

So thanks people. Thanks very much.

Both awards are for inside.morethan.com - which was a project initiated from within my team. It started life as my scribble on a whiteboard and was produced very quickly, with minimal stakeholder involvement or internal funding. Our little team is pretty smug right now.

It was also our first foray in to designing for multiple viewports. Whilst it's not strictly responsive, it was the first example of adaptive design being used by a financial services organisation. Our approach for responsive design has changed quite a lot since this project, but it's still something I'm pleased with.

Winners party is on Wednesday. WOOT