NETGEAR spreads its wings with Arlo
When NETGEAR, the leader in home networking devices, decided to expand into the Smart Home space, they reached out to Busse Design to help develop a new identity for their new product family.
At the start of this project, the client’s team had already settled on the name “Arlo” so our task was to design an identity around it, and convey the brand personality traits: Trustworthiness, credibility, friendliness, and approachability. Arlo is about giving its users a feeling of assuredness and peace of mind, so we felt that it was necessary to explore objects and animals that could be personified, as knowing “someone” is there communicates this feeling of being taken care of. When you think of Arlo, you want to think of a trusty companion that has your back.
Moreover, we wanted to make sure the Arlo functional benefits were also communicated through the brand: It should feel easy, uncluttered, and clean, just like the user’s experience with the technology.
Looking at the competitive space, we noticed the same cleanliness in brand design, but noticed a lack of this personality: Competitive brands focused on the devices themselves or the technology. Arlo stands apart as it is about the relationships the technology affords: Knowing that friends and family are okay by being able to stay aware of activities in the home.
In our exploration of the brand, we provided a wide variety of concepts that communicated personality, simplicity, and easiness. We provided concepts that ranged from animals to anthropomorphized homes, all with the goal of creating an identity that met the brand objectives. We presented these concepts in a variety of contexts and colors to help the NETGEAR team envision how this brand could be used at launch and grow in the future.
In the end, we all landed on the hummingbird concept. It was ideal as it communicated the simplicity, maneuverability of the devices, and most important of all, it was friendly and approachable. As an added benefit of this mark through the use of “WiFi wings”, we were able to communicate the “100% wire free” value proposition of many of the Arlo products. The hummingbird stands apart from its competitors--Arlo is a trustworthy companion to keep you apprised of the happenings in your home; not just some piece of technology that sits on a shelf.
Accreditation Made Friendly
The Council on Accreditation accredits over 2,000 private and public organizations and programs that serve more than 7 million individuals and families in the United States, Canada, and overseas. The COA standards cover over 60 program types from Child, Youth, and Family Services to approval from the Hague Convention. COA reached out to Busse Design to help them turn this important, yet complex accreditation process into a more intuitive, user-friendly process.
Busse Design held several Discovery sessions with the COA team so that we could immerse ourselves in the user’s and COA’s needs in the accreditation process. As a first UX deliverable, we produced an Application Map to re-organize the application into a more intuitive structure from the user’s perspective. We found that it was best to organize this application by process steps as these steps were central to the user’s actions.
Once we established the governing navigation pattern--Process Steps--we moved on to visualizing key screens and flows. To make the accreditation process more intuitive, we provided users with an overview of the process and where they were in that process. Moreover, we learned that users typically review the standards before they provide the accreditation info, so we created separate areas in the application: One area where they review the standards, and another area focused on providing the accreditation info. And, most important, we reduced the amount of text and leveraged visual design to provide waypoints within the process.
And because the COA web application is run on the Salesforce.com platform, Busse Design created custom HTML and CSS for select screens that could be more easily brought into the platform.
Empowering Merchandisers with a Clean Application
Baynote, had a powerful recommendations engine that delivered a personalized experience for their retailer customers’ consumers, but retailers had a difficult time configuring the engine without the help of Professional Services. They engaged Busse Design to create a user-friendly interface that could easily be configured by merchandisers; provide high-level reporting and analytics for infrequent users, which could also be accessed via a tablet; and create a scalable framework that would accommodate new solutions in the future.
After an intensive Discovery session where Baynote’s Professional Services team walked us through the web application, we evaluated the application’s terminology for key concepts and found that they were geared to developers. We presented a new conceptual paradigm that would resonate with merchandisers and presented a more intuitive overarching application structure in the form of an Application Map.
We then worked through the major workflows to completing core configuration tasks in the application by providing flow diagrams and wireframes. Once these were approved by the client, we participated in Baynote customer interviews using a clickthrough prototype of the revised application. We then made minor modifications to the flows.
In addition to improving usability by addressing the overall interaction models, Busse Design provided a new look and feel for the application that leveraged Baynote’s corporate branding guidelines. Once Baynote approved the wireframes for the application’s page structure and framework, our graphic designers provided various visual design concepts to choose from. The goal of this design was to create a clean interface that would integrate well with any retailer’s websites and products that would be pulled into the application.
After Baynote selected a design direction, we created the graphics for the remaining application templates and provided functional front-end HTML templates, using HTML5, CSS3, and jQuery.
In the end, Baynote was able to deliver Baynote VUE, a powerful, user-friendly recommendations engine that can easily be configured and managed by merchandisers.