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:
Looking for More Effective Ways to Promote Your Online Luxury Real Estate Campaigns? Maybe I can help.
Here is a sample of a real estate website and slideshow video, promoting a $3,000,000 luxury home in Stagecoach Colorado. The home was for sale by owner, who was having a hard time drawing attention to the property. Instead of relying solely on the real estate agent to find a buyer, the client contracted me to promote the home more directly.
Using various internet and direct marketing strategies, including design, copywriting, social networking, blogging, article submission and a video tour, we were able to target affluent buyers, local businesses and competing realtors.
These efforts achieved two things:
- The home sold within about 6 months time
- I can claim bragging rights for being the first guy to sell a Mansion on Twitter!
This experiement goes to prove that internet marketing isn’t just about selling ebooks and training courses. You can apply the same mechanics to sell pretty much anything as long as you have a proper strategy and the ROI is worth the effort.
Overall it was an exciting opportunity and an introduction to promoting real estate online. It was a lot of fun and I look forward to doing more projects like this in the future.
In about 2004 or so, I designed the website for Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Meredith Brooks. (She had that hit song “Bitch” in 1997) I didn’t have much interaction with Meridith in person over the details, but she liked it and I am grateful for her management for giving me the project.
At that time, it was pretty slick considering we didn’t have WordPress or any other fancy blogging software or social media, at least that I was aware of. It was hand coded, had a flash gallery and music player and I received a lot of praise and design gigs from it.
Around the same time, I also did some graphic design for her album “Shine”. The cover art was done by Marty Rosamond and then the back cover and insert were done by me. Unfortunately, I don’t have the original files anymore, but I am in the album credits 🙂