Last fall, while working for Scholz & Volkmer, I was an advisor for the relaunch of the Mercedes-Benz.com website, which is the international media portal for Mercedes-Benz.
My role was User Experience Consultant and I was tasked with helping the designers and information architects repurpose the entire website using WordPress as a new content management system.
The topic of using WordPress was brought up by the client and since I am a longtime WordPress user, my role was to help the team understand the benefits of using it as a CMS, to optimize and streamline existing elements, as well as helping them to envision how to rework the original website using a blog style, long scroller for each new entry.
The previous website featured a lot of unnecessary pagination for each content entry, so the approach was to compress each blog entry into a long page to help with usability, to make the content much easier to consume and access, as well as to include and highlight more primary, sales focussed calls to action. These changes were also based on results from user tests that were previously conducted, which helped support my approach.
The result is what you see in the screenshots and you can check out the website. The screenshots actually feature new content. (I forgot to take screens of the site at launch)
Some key features that were added/changed were:
- Redesign using WordPress as a CMS
- The implementation of social media elements
- Long scrolling, blog style pages, that are much more readable and easy on the eye
- A reduction in pagination.
- Streamlining unnecessary and distracting elements
- More focus on calls to action and sales
- Fully responsive
The project went flawlessly, and the team did a great job. Admittedly, there were a lot of apprehensions and misconceptions at first about using WordPress, due to the fact that it is still not such a common option for a CMS in Germany, but once in place, the team felt much more positive about it and it’s further use for other projects.
The connected vehicle project I have been working on for Mercedes-Benz over the last year and a half has now launched and is slowly rolling out with more and more features and services.
Presenting the Mercedes.me platform & portal.
Link to the Portal: https://me.mercedes-benz.com
Link to the main info page: https://www.mercedes.me/
What is Mercedes.me?
Mercedes.me is the new service brand from Mercedes-Benz. It bundles all existing and future service offers into one, consistent brand experience, based around a digital platform. Above are some screenshots I took from the live website.
“Mercedes me” is broken down into five areas – “move me”, “connect me”, “assist me”, “finance me” and “inspire me” – and takes into account all product-relevant areas such as the purchasing, financing and servicing of vehicles, as well as Daimler’s internationally acclaimed mobility services.”
The portal is open for anyone to join, so sign up and let me know what you think. If you are a Mercedes-Benz customer and own a new vehicle, once you register, you can connect your vehicle for access to additional features.
Here is a video from the 2014 International Motor Show in Geneva that describes the service:
My primary focus was high level concept, strategic consulting, UX and information architecture for the “Connect Me” platform, which integrates with new Mercedes vehicles via the online, responsive platform, and allows customers to remotely connect to their vehicle from anywhere using their mobile device. The user can then have access to vehicle info, status, remote functions, etc.
I was brought in based on my previous experience creating social platforms, mobile applications and sales/customer service focussed ecosystems, which helped to take the project to a level of being a much more rich, connected brand ecosystem, instead of just another “mobile remote control” app for your car. My role was to step in at an early stage to create a functional, high level concept and kick start the user experience, based around a responsive, touchable, future focussed web interface.
It was quite a challenge integrating all of the various connected features into one, easy to use, touchable, responsive platform. My approach was to create not only a responsive website that would provide an informative web experience, but also act as a control surface for all the various connected features that would work on different devices, both existing and future. It was also challenging to develop content strategies that take advantage of all of the various aspects of the MB experience, that integrates all of the various scattered services and content, as well as to provide a valuable, engaging, service based ecosystem for MB customers as the brand moves into the future.
WordPress & Front End
One exciting aspect of the project was the decision to use WordPress as the CMS for the front end promotional sales portal to the service. The topic was brought up by the client, and being a long time WordPress user, I had a large part both pushing for it’s use and consulting the agency in regards to the design and implementation. As a result, they did a great job of redesigning a nice, parallax scrolling template for the site.
This was a huge project with many touch points, involving many teams of very talented people and I am very proud to have been a part of it. I’ll be sure to write more as things roll out.
In the Press:
The project I was working on for the last year and a half is FINALLY LIVE! My “technical title” was Senior Information Architect for Crytek’s new social network called GFACE.
It is hard to describe all the roles and responsibilities I had on this project because I wore so many hats that covered so many touch points. I can honestly say that I have never put so much effort and personal blood, sweat, tears and great ideas into a project as with this one. I am really proud to have worked with such a talented team and I am really happy that it is now live.
This was a lead position acting as Senior IA, UX designer and marketing consultant, working closely with a creative director, biz dev, social game designers and developers with the goal of building: a gamer-focused, next generation social network that “Played Like a Game”
My Roles included:
- User Experience Design
- Information Architecture
- Interaction Design
- Creative Direction
- Mobile iOS UX/IA design
- Social Media Marketing Consulting
High level concept development for:
- Social & viral advertising
- Social & Brand Strategy
- Game layer/gamification
- Virtual currency & Economy
- Achievement systems
- Social & Casual Game conception
The service is now in Closed Beta release. Check it out!
Follow me: If you are a gface user, you can follow me there at: https://gface.com/seanearley
Via my position at Fjord Berlin, I worked on-site at Nokia Gate 5 as a Senior Interaction Designer.
The scope of the project was to develop the user interface and wireframe specifications for the next generation of Nokia Ovi Maps 3, which is currently in beta release and both align it across multiple devices, mobile and web, according to the Symbian S60 touch and scroll and click framework requirements as well as act as a UI coordinator and consultant for multiple sub teams, product owners, UX managers, visual designers and developers.
The project began with various brainstorming sessions, whiteboarding and paper prototyping, followed by a functioning UI for one target device, flash prototypes were built and usablity studies were conducted. The project was then approved and pushed forward though a staged, agile SCRUM development process to include more devices and features.
It was quite an extensive project and a great introduction to working with mobile touch screen devices, navigation systems and map based social services.
From 2005 to 2007 I worked as a Senior Marketing Manager, Graphic Designer and Art Directior for Cingular / AT&T Mobile Browser Division, developing content deliverables for wireless (WAP) applications, print and web marketing material and assets for 3rd party content providers. The main focus was to developing and publishing content for the MEdia Net WAP portal.
It was quite an interesting position to be developing web graphics for mobile phones, which, at that time had never been done before, so every project was an experimental journey in to the unknown. Lots of trial and error, user testing and optimization to squeeze a much pay content as possible into a multitude of very unpredictable WAP browsers.
When Cingular wireless merged over to AT&T, I was responsible for rebranding of the MEdia Net and Cingular Video mobile portals. The goal was not only to rebrand, but to optimize the experience by removing unnecessary graphics to increasing speed and load time. It was actually pretty challenging finding an “AT&T Blue” that was true to the brand and worked across all handsets and screen resolutions without looking either too baby blue or purple.
MEdia Net had several mini portals for promoting various sports & entertainment brands.
Above: NCAA Final Four – March Madness, World Cup Soccer 2006, and Winter Olympics 2006 sports portals. Below Pussycat Dolls, Daddy Yankee & Chris Brown.
Cingular Video Redesign
In Store Laminate
A laminated, in store customer tutorial manual for the MEdia Net portal.