Email Signature – a subsidiary of Xink, one of the leading email signature management companies in the industry – is intended to function as a bridge between graphic designers and corporate clients seeking assistance with email signature design. Xink specializes in the distribution and management of customized email signatures, but has found that many of its clients have the tool, but not the signature. With Email Signature, there is a solution to this disconnect.
Conceptualizing Email Signature as a two-user platform meant thinking about how it should function for not just one user demographic, but two: the designer (or "seller") and the business (or "buyer"). What functionalities would be universal, and which would be unique, depending on the user? How would designers showcase their work, and how would clients request and/or look for work? These were among the challenges Email Signature posed.
Our solution was a website that provided two different user experiences: one for designers and one for clients. Much like eBay, AirBnB, or Etsy, Email Signature is really two sites in one. Having this as our foundation allowed us to conceptualize different interfaces, functionalities, user privileges, and even designs. For example, a user portal was called for in order to enable designers to upload their portfolios and seek commissions. Thus, there is a public side to the site and a protected side to the site.
When brainstorming how best to approach Email Signature, we let a simple principle guide our every decision: how can we facilitate correspondence between end users for a successful transaction? Ultimately, this connection between seller and buyer was integral to the stated goals of the website. By leveraging the expertise of our graphic designers, analysts, information architects, and UX/UI analysts, we were able to fine-tune the site structure, interface, and overall layout to provide a rewarding user experience and effective communication platform.Tour the Work
Information architecture is the practice of structuring, labeling, and defining an information environment – in this case, a website. For Email Signature to work properly as a communication platform between two separate user demographics, it was crucial that we figured out how the site would work and function.
To distinguish Email Signature from Xink, a new branding initiative was called for. Key elements (or requirements) of this new corporate identity included approachability, friendliness, and a warm and inviting tone. It needed to honor and represent Xink in spirit while existing as its own entity. The corporate style guide that we arrived at dictated a clear and legible font for the company name (in keeping with what an email signature should represent), yet employed numerous playful elements, including iconography and colors.
Once the core concept of Email Signature was arrived at and settled on, we then needed to focus on how the site would actually work. This entailed conceiving of the user interface, fine-tuning it as we went, and determining how this interface would influence the overall user experience. To be an effective platform, Email Signature needed to be not only easy to use, but rewarding as well. Its benefits needed to be self-evident to users.
Even with structure and logic dictating its form, information that is presented blandly or without cohesive thought behind it is often lost on users. When it comes to digital environments – be they websites, mobile apps, or software programs – aesthetics do matter. For Email Signature, we set out to design a website that clearly showcased the various signatures available for use, as ultimately, that is the purpose of the site. All else is secondary.