Building a business news and insight platform for the gulf region - Branding, creative direction, UX design, UI design

Project: Web design and brand articulation

Client: Arabian Gulf Business Insight

Sector: Media & Publishing

Responsibilities:
Brand identity, Web design, UX and UI Design

The challenge: The publishers of AGBI approached us with a big idea. They wanted to launch a brand new business news and insight platform focused on the gulf region. With investment in the region expanding and diversifying rapidly, there was an opportunity to create a new, premium product with the goal of becoming an essential tool for ambitious entrepreneurs and established business leaders alike, helping them to identify the key commercial opportunities and challenges in the region.

Highlight

Discovery

From the outset we were working under ambitious timelines however, as this was a new platform being built from scratch, we knew the discovery phase was even more crucial to project success. We condensed our usual process into an intensive week of workshops and research alongside the client stakeholders and our dev partners at Human Made. Over the course of a few days we established goals and metrics, fleshed out the personas and their unique user journeys, and ideated around feature sets for an initial launch and beyond.

It was important to collectively agree on the goals and priority metrics for the platform and to prioritise effectively, since there were so many potential directions we could take for the MVP. We conducted a strict prioritisation exercise and closely weighed the potential user impact vs level of design and technical effort required for every feature. Together we identified the areas which would bring the most benefit to our users while still being achievable within the tight timelines.

Brand Direction

We worked closely with AGBI’s experienced creative director, Tomaso Capuano (ex. WSJ), to build off and extend a visual identity for AGBI. Starting with a logo concept and colour palette we explored various typography pairings, icon styles, imagery guidelines and visual ornaments to flesh out the brand language. We wanted something clean and very readable while also providing a premium feel to set it apart from competitors in the space.

It was also important to create a brand language that felt connected to the heritage of the region while also seeming modern and future-facing. A colour palette of gold, beige, and blue evokes the colours of the gulf landscape. Those colours, when combined with the clean layouts and strong typefaces, creates a simple, elegant and refined look and feel.

Website Design

In parallel with our brand development work, we began to develop the user experience strategy for the key areas of the site. Engagement is important for every online publication, but as this was a brand new product, capturing people’s attention became especially important. The experienced editorial team would be creating high-quality content, it was our job to ensure the site structure and layouts complimented that content and that the users would be taken on a seamless journey through the most relevant news. Our previous experience working on multiple projects for large online publications such as The Telegraph and Evening Standard really set us up for success.

While designing we worked closely with the development and product team to consider how each template and module might be utilised in future, when a suite of more complex functionality will be introduced. Setting a very strong and flexible foundation for future improvements was key. Our modular design allows for pages to be easily adapted based on the news requirements of that particular day, giving the editorial team full control to adapt the order and layout in order to prioritise a breaking news story for example.

Outcome

The beta site, built by our frequent development partners Human Made, is live now at www.agbi.com. The full site launch will be happening later this year.

Furthermore is an evidence-led, product & service design agency based in London, UK. We believe that the research and strategy behind great design is just as important as the design itself. By gathering data and insights to inform our decisions, we help organisations create compelling services and products based on evidence, not opinion. A hypothesis driven design framework helps us achieve this. Using our methods we envision unique experiences built on a solid functional foundation that are a pleasure to use and have the potential for meaning, delight and significance in people’s lives. Please get in touch if you would like to know more.

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