Nolan Plant

- Nolan Plant -

I solve business challenges using research, design, and innovation. My work delights people by eliminating friction and fostering trust both online and off. I have cross-platform expertise ensuring that I am consistently at the forefront of technology and idea-driven experience.


Skills

Research

Using a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods I'm able to create informed solutions that resonate with users.

Pre-Design

I'm able to effectively communicate my strategies through a number of mediums— be it doodles on paper or pixel perfect mock-ups.

Design

While I love the satisfaction of creating visually engaging renderings for my clients, I am equally skilled at directing others on how to executive effective design.

Prototyping

I leverage rapid and high fidelity prototyping techniques to further test my concepts. This is also where my experience with animation gives me an edge when conceptualizing and incorporating motion into my work.

Developing

While I'm not a developer, my programming knowledge does come in handy while protyping and during small build outs. It also allows me to easily communicate with developers when conceptualizing larger scale projects and while conducting testing.

Testing

Whether it's A/B testing at launch or iterative testing during a scrum cycle, I know how to define and measure success against key performance indicators for each project I lead.

Recent Work

Although I have a large body of work I have decided to focus in on two examples to dive deeper on each. This will allow you to understand my process and the value I bring to the table; however I have withheld some items in order to main client confidentiality. If you are interested in exploring more of my past wins or see more thorough examples, please reach out to me directly by email.


Sanuk Digital Experience

Business Challenge:
Sanuk was faced with an outdated website and an unsustainable approach to online marketing.

Solution:
I was able to lead the company through a complete website redesign and reposition its digital strategy. I also set the website up for rolling iterative updates that continue to this day.

Mobile UX design

Sanuk.com Results

4

Consecutive years exceeding business forecast

+343%

Increase in annual revenue

+39%

Improvement in site wide conversion

-46%

Reduction in site wide bounce rate

Process

Key StakeHolder interviews:
When I first started at Sanuk I knew I had to get an understanding of the business goals. To do this I conducted interviews with all departments- Finance, Marketing, Sales, Graphic Design, Product Development, Retail, Customer Service, IT, and web development. I noted how they used the website and what tools would help them within their job function. This let me isolate the business needs and have a more dynamic understanding of shared (and also competing) objectives of the company. It also familiarized me with the different business units and established key points of contacts for a continual conversations throughout my time with the company.

Connecting with the customer:
My second course of action was flying out to the customer service headquarters to sit in on customer calls, chats and emails. I talked with staff members to connect and open up a direct line of communication with the larger brand team. This allowed faster delivery of customer feedback and got everyone closer to the customer.

Customer Demographics:
Fortunately the brand’s parent company had already invested heavily in developing personas for the brand’s target consumers. Reviewing these allowed me to connect and get a better picture of who I was designing for. But just as continual updates to a website are necessary, the same goes for demographics- especially when new tools open up. Thus I eventually lead supplemental research to update these personas off of real CRM data leveraged from the company’s email database.

Analytics and Insight:
While we had weekly reporting in place, I was able to extend these metrics to a larger group and bring in key players from different channels to gain a more holistic pulse on the company. From these discussions we were able to discuss challenges and opportunities for the Sanuk, both on the ecommerce and brick and mortar side of the business.

Storyboarding and Goal Mapping:
I worked with content developers and marketing leads to define campaign goals via a handful of user centered exercises. This helped clarify project briefs and improve overall customer experience within our campaigns.

Best Practices:
I continually attended (and continue to attend) several key conferences (SES, LITMUS, IRCP, Demandware Xchange to name a few) to identify trends as well as new software as service partners. This helped me keep the website up to the latest standards and experiment with exciting new tools. I would present my findings to executive members to guide high impact business decisions. I was also invited to speak at the company sales meetings in order to educate staff on new findings and different ways to leverage a digital presence within all channels of the company.

Site content and Linking structure:
With several online and offline channels working simultaneously it was important to create a solid linking strategy that reinforced the business objectives. I connected these channels and formalized processes for each. This helped improve SEO, execution clarity, as well as overall customer experiences.

Wire Framing:
Wireframes were the key to presenting new features, experiences, product enhancements, landing pages, campaigns and more. I often worked hand in hand with designers and developers to rapidly formulate ideas and feature requests via wireframes. They were also used to map experiences when working with agencies.

Hi-Fi Mockups:
Often times I would put on my designer cap to deliver pixel perfect rendering for developers to implement. This was also done to train other designers best practices in terms of file preparation and execution. On top of this it also helped me win over executive stakeholders in implementing key marketing initiatives or high impact decisions. Below is a shot of a mobile navigation update.

Prototyping and development:
Often I would put on my developer hat and create prototypes to illustrate functionality of designs. Fortunately my development background allows me to communicate needs with other developers. This is incredibly useful when working across multi-functional teams.

A/B and Iterative Usability Testing:
One of my key improvements to Sanuks online strategy was placing a UX focused mindset within the company. On top of rolling A/B and multivariate testing we also brought in real test subjects for more observational feedback on new features and website updates. See the test plan and snapshots below for improving browsability.

Marketing:
When I started at Sanuk its marketing was print focused with little thought about leveraging digital channels. I was able to transform the department into a digital first mindset and deliver rich multimedia experiences.


Sanuk Cross Channel Engagement

Business Challenge:
Sanuk was also facing an issue that many companies struggle with today- Siloed retail channels. They needed a simple way of bridging the gap between its ecommerce and brick and mortar stores in order to pull new customers into the brand’s larger ecosystem.

Solution:
I introduced the Sanuk Email Experience Initiative or SEXI as an ominchannel approach to creating sustained customer relationships on and offline. SEXI incentivized consumers to sign up for email and delivered rewards that could be redeemed online or in-store. This encouraged customers to connect with the brand and return as customers via whatever channel was easiest for them.

Mobile UX design

SEXI Results

500K+

Additional revenues from coupons

+203%

YOY increase in email sign-ups online

+324%

YOY increase in sign-ups in store

412%

Overall email list growth

Process

In-store observational exercises:
In order to address the problem I had to go to the source. First I visited the store incognito from the perspective of a customer and observed everything through checkout. I then returned a second time and got to experience it on the other side of the transaction, helping customers and interviewing the sales staff.

Research and Analysis:
I discovered that Sanuk needed something that took the load off of its busy staff while at the same time incentivized customers to connect with the brand. Even though email was already a powerful performer online, I discovered that in-store they were collecting emails with a physical guestbook and that there was not much drive by the staff to encourage this from customers. Likewise as a customer there was no perceived value for doing so.

Aligning with Business Goals:
With this in mind, I was able to work with the email and finance teams to first place a monetary value on each additional email collected. This would allow me to communicate the value to the staff and then determine what made sense in terms of incentive for customers. What we found out was that each email was worth about $7 which gave us more leeway in terms of the types of incentives the stores could offer. In the end we agreed on an initial sign up offer of 10% and as well as an additional 10% off during the customer’s birth month. This would serve as a little perk to convert a customer on sign up as well as an additional dynamic that could pull customers back into the stores during their birth month.

Cross team collaboration:
A key element was working across teams to align efforts. For the first time I got the retail, development, graphic design, marketing and IT teams together to review the scope of the project and the key objectives. From my notes I developed a detailed customer journey map to guide the conversation and determined the best ways to engage the customer through their pre and post purchase lifecycle. We were able to fine tune the details to make this as streamlined as possible.

Content Development:
The next step was synthesising the notes and developing the wireframes and content briefs to deliver to the designers and developers.

Execution:
This was possibly the most important step of the process because it required an ideology shift, both in the retail staff and with the online teams. First and foremost we had to have the sales staff understand the value of email collection and treat each sign up as if it were a sale (a $7 sale to be exact). Second we had to make sure that both teams were executing with a customer first mindset. We did this by sharing weekly results to both teams so that everyone involved could asses the results on a more channel agnostic level and celebrate combined success.

Post Execution:
Weekly reporting also allowed us to monitor and implement iterative changes. This came in particularly handy online. We made several iterative updates post launch to increase online sign ups and engagement by monitoring analytics, page heat maps and implementing A/B testing.

Contact

nolanplant[at]gmail

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