Age UK operate several online gaming products as a means to generate funds for their cause, including a lottery and raffle. At the time of briefing, each of the gaming products were hosted in isolation across individual domains and were accessed either by organic search or direct marketing. They were also designed and built by unrelated providers and as such the look and feel were noticeably different. The client felt that greater user engagement could be achieved if all the gaming products and related content (game instructions, prize-breakdowns, points of contact etc.) were instead connected via a central portal. By unifying the products in this way usability would improve, higher retention would be sustained and a credible arm of the brand - namely the Player Zone - would be established.
After meeting with key people across the various departments involved in the project, I was commissioned by Age UK to develop design concepts for the portal over the next 6-10 months. The project was briefed in phases, starting with the homepage, moving on to the Lottery product, the Raffle product, the Superdraw product and finally the payment funnel. My task was to design every page comprising these phases with consideration paid toward the user flow, responsive design and brand adherence. The latter was of particular importance not only from a point of consistency but also of accessibility. The target audience of the games portal would be comprised largely of elderly users, a proportion of which would require certain visibility standards be met so that they could comfortably use the site. The brand's palette, text styles and other devices are all WCAG 2.0 compliant, so their use in my concepts had to be without compromise, and therein lied the greatest challenge of this project. On occasion the motives of the various departments did not necessarily coincide with one another; some were keen for my work to adopt the established aesthetic standards (fairly corporate and pragmatic) as rigorously as possible, while others were eager to turn the guidelines on their head and explore directions less traditionally taken by the brand in the interest of achieving a more playful and exciting quality. Both viewpoints were valid and it was my job to work out how and where we could bend the rules a little to accommodate new graphic elements, repurpose the colour palette, and adjust the conventional layout grid without compromising the site's usability and familiarity. Rounds of design submissions, feedback and round-table discussions followed where the team and I refined my approach to the project and proposals for the design.
The Lottery and Raffle games
As discussed, the visual language of this project was governed by a multitude of brand and usability factors, meaning that designing the Player Zone would be an exercise in narrative and balance rather than exploration and creative flexing. I negotiated with the client some easements to the water-tight branding that allowed me to extend the colour palette, plus introduce some fun and enticing illustrative elements, inspired in part by print materials I'd seen from previous Age UK marketing campaigns. With these new visual tools I was able to make colour-associations per game type to aid user navigation and make for a more coherent experience. It also allowed me to nudge users to key page content areas with bolder tones and ultimately move them smoothly towards the sales funnel. For the Raffle product in particular, this was an important focus of my brief; I was to design the complete series of transactional pages that would see users select their ticket entries, enter their contact/payment information and have their purchases relayed and confirmed, all in a concise and intelligently crafted way.
Additionally I was tasked with creating Winner's pages that needed to flexibly cater for data of varying scales (such as place names and user names), Prize Breakdown pages that needed to be clear in their conveyance yet alluring in their design and also a VIP upsell page that needed to strike an alternate tone to the rest of the site - less jovial and a more sophisticated - again without straying from the brand conventions.
After several months of design iterations and refinements all phases of the web design project were signed off and ready to hand over to the development team to build.
Email marketing designThe Player Zone is now live and Age UK have retrained their marketing activity toward the new site, including their email communications. This is another area in which the client has involved me, owing to the constructive and potent working relationship we established. So far the client has commissioned me to design and build device-responsive marketing emails for both the Lottery and Raffle products that entice users to play each week or preview the prizes on offer with each draw, as well as the confirmation emails users receive after successfully purchasing their Lottery or Raffle tickets.