Project kick off workshop with the EDC-Free coalition

Evermore recently started working on the complete redesign of the EDC-Free Europe website. As part of the project kick off we held a workshop for our client, to help setting the project goals and to establish the basics of our collaboration for the next couple of weeks. More on this in a moment.

If you don’t know what EDCs are, I recommend familiarising yourself with the topic as they affect most of our lives. EDCs (Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals) are artifical chemicals, used in a wide range of products, interfering with the natural hormones in our bodies. The EDC-Free coalition has a long term vision on our environment, working towards improving health, by eliminating these chemicals from our daily lives. The coalition has over 70 member organisations across Europe, from health professionals and scientists to environmental NGOs.

Although Evermore is a remote web development company, we like to meet our clients in person, especially in crucial moments, such as a project kick off.

When we proposed the idea of a workshop, the EDC-Free Europe campaign secretariat— Genon, Ivonne and Nienke agreed to have a meeting at their office, located in the heart of the EU quarter in Brussels. The next day Balázs, our product manager, who plays a key role in the project, hopped on a plane in Budapest and flew to the capital of Europe to have the meeting that same afternoon.

The workshop started by everyone introducing themselves and clarifying each one’s role and responsibility with regards to the project. This was followed by a few technicalities:

  • Short introduction to the tools we will be using for collaboration between the two teams: Basecamp, and Dropbox Paper.
  • Brief explanation on reporting and how will we track and communicate project progress, and to whom.
  • Establishment of the approval process, so we know who will be signing off deliverables.

After these introductory remarks Balázs guided us through a series of exercises, with the aim of understanding each stakeholder’s goals and frustrations and to set the targets we want to achive with the new website.

When starting a new project it is important to set concrete goals. In case of the EDC-Free Europe wesbsite some of these are: more shares on social media, more returning visitors, more newsletter subscribers, etc. Setting such goals help structuring the website and to design a user interface that serves the right purpose.

Then we mapped the motivations of the intended visitors of the website. To better resonate with users, it is helpful to spend some time and develop a few “proto-personas”.

Proto-personas are an ad hoc, non-research-backed articulation of a customer archetype. To learn more on the topic I recommend reading this article.

Aside picking a photo and naming our ad hoc people we think of the following attributes: what is their motivation, goals, frustrations and behaviour. What technology they use and what are their favourite brands. Here is an example of a proto-persona from our workshop.

Proto-persona of EDC-Free Europe website visitor: Julie

After setting initial goals, the next step was to discuss the means to achieve them. The discussion evolved around the following topics: consumer protection, human health, European industry innovation, healthcare costs and being an internationl information hub.

The next step was to dissect the process of how content is generated and how it makes its way to the website, social media and newsletter. This is important as we aim at architecting a system fitting the client’s workflow, rather than building something else and expect the administrators of the site to then adopt it.

These were just the highlights of our workshop but I believe that we covered a lot of grounds during our meeting. The next steps will be to define a mood board that our designer can use and to gather examples of all the content types that will be featured on the new website, so we can mould the layout around them.

Building a great product requires us to learn about it and to connect with it first. A workshop with the involvement of the client will bring a lot of knowledge to the table and will help us as a digital agency to design and architect the fitting product.

For us at Evermore it is always nice to work on projects that we connect with and this is the case with the revamp of the EDC-Free Europe website. I recommend subscribing to their newsletter and to follow the important work they do via Twitter.

Participants of the workshop (from left to right): Balázs, Genon, Ivonne, Nienke and myself
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