The Opportunity: To design a website that is professional, informational, and aligns with the company’s values and mission.
Just like any other client project, my UX/UI design team and I met with the client to interview them and find out who they are exactly, what they do, and what they hoped to achieve through us. During this initial interview, we quickly realized the importance of understanding the industry we are working with and the value of a website. We lacked any prior knowledge, however, our client was kind enough to simplify it to its core and help us understand.
Who is Acuity Partners?
In our extensive interview, we learned Acuity Partners is a differentiated strategic advisory to General Partners (GPs) and Limited Partners (LPs) in the Global Private Markets industry.
- Start up (<1 year old)
- They are the first consulting firm to provide strategic advisory for both GPs and LPs
- Motivation: to build a better relationship between two sides of the equation
- The partners are women in male dominant industry
Understanding Our Users
Now that we had a grasp of who our client was, we moved on to what their future website provides. We did so by conducting interviews on GPs and LPs to gain insight on who they were, what their motivations and frustrations were, and what they expected in a website such as Acuity Partners. Based on this data, we created two user personas.
Henry the General Partner
General Partners are a part of a Private Equity firm, in which they manage the funds generated. As they must lead investments within the funds, they must make relationships with the LPs who are the investors. However, this leads to difficulty since they are unaware of how to strategize prior to a fundraise, as there is a lack of communication and alignment between them and their LP counterparts.
Larry the Limited Partner
Limited Partners are the investors, providing the investments to the Private Equity firms. What they wish to gain from making these investments is a greater return, meaning the investment must ultimately benefit them. With such a costly system comes great responsibility, as LPs must ensure oversee what exactly is occurring during the extensive funding process. Having a well-established and trusting relationship with the opposing partner would lead to an effective and optimal life span.
Common Needs Between GPs and LPs
Once we analyzed all of our research, we determined that there were a set of key features and qualities both of our users mentioned:
- About the consultant: They want to know the person they’ll be working with and putting their trust in is capable and professional, and that they will provide valuable expertise.
- Website details: They want a website that is clear and concise in regards to the navigation; thus, optimizing the time the user spends on it.
- Their previous projects, reputable names of companies: This was a key feature, as we learned our users find consultants usually through word of mouth. Thus, if someone they know and trust has previously worked with Acuity Partners then they would be more likely to also hire or invest in them as well.
During our planning phase, we took what we had learned and created user stories. Doing so provided us with a clear picture of how we want to proceed with designing the website such that it reflects the needs of our users.
Henry the General Partner
I want to know my consultant is experienced and capable so that they can help me to strategize for my fundraiser.
I want to know how my firm is perceived so that I can position myself effectively to the investors during the fundraising process.
I want to build LP relationships so that I can endure across market cycles.
Larry the Limited Partner
I want to make sure I’m allocating assets for investment correctly so that I can satisfy my return, scale and liquidity objectives of my investors.
I want to build quality partnerships with the GPs I’ve already invested in so that I can optimize my time and resources for future investment plans.
Based on the user stories, we started building a site map to outline the navigation and pages that would make up the website.
Design and Testing
With the user personas and stories constantly in mind, we finally moved forward with the conceptual aspect of the UX design process.
Mid-fidelity Wireframes and Usability Testing
There were multiple iterations that were created and our wireframes evolved from screen to screen as we performed in-depth testing.
Home: Our home screen had to be a reflection of the site while catching the user’s attention right away with details. Along with our home screen, our navigation also changed to reflect the user wanting a clear and concise navigation to optimize their time spent on the website.
About: Our users wanted to know who the consultants were and that they were trustworthy, professional, and capable, so we made sure our “About” page did just that. We did, however, have to choose between whether or not we wanted to make the “about” and “team” page as one. Ultimately, we chose to separate the two, as doing so adds value to the company as a whole rather than putting each team member and simply claiming what they bring to the table. Furthermore, it made it simpler for users to learn about Acuity Partners’ story specifically, then engaging in who makes up the company and individual experiences.
GP/LP Strategic Advisory: These pages went in-depth on the specific services Acuity Partners provides and how they provide it. During the early design stages, we thought we would combine both the GP and LP pages under one “Services” heading. However, this idea was later dismissed, as we believed both parties varied drastically. Furthermore, it allows the users to quickly realize who the target audience is, adding to the clear and concise navigation.
During the first client interview, my team members and I were provided with a booklet of information about Acuity Partners. This booklet described everything we now knew about them, their clients, and their services. Although there was a decent amount of information and writing in it, there was still not enough to create elaborate copy that needed to be on this website. While the design of this website required much attention, the copy definitely required more. As were all new to this industry and were facing a learning curve, a major challenge throughout the UX process was ensuring that there was a well-matched correlation between the design and the copy. Our users had to be able to understand everything that we now understood, as it would be critical in their decision-making process when hiring a strategic consultant.
With learning comes challenges, and although we did face a vast load of information, my team and I overcame this learning curve and provided results. We created a website that works to demonstrate to its GP and LP user-base that Acuity Partners consists of a group of highly intellectual individuals who can provide their knowledge and expertise with specific services. Moving forward, the copy should be adjusted to meet the needs of the users and well reflect Acuity Partners’ capability.
Acuity Partners showed genuine satisfaction with the final results, and we are grateful to have been a part of their website development.