Choosing one’s energy supplier. With ease.
In 2007, the French energy market opened to competition. Since then, every one of us has been facing an unusual situation: How do I choose my energy supplier?
Before, it was EDF (the French national energy supplier), or a candle.
The « Médiateur National de l’Énergie » is the state organisation whose mission is to explain this new situation to consumers. They created a website a few time after this law passed, in order to help people address these changes.
But various modifications had occurred on it, and by the time we were asked to work with this organisation, it needed to be redesigned. Deeply. In fact, because of the following changes the website had known, it lacked attractiveness, and the initial content logic had disappeared. You can see the result of our work just there: energie-info.fr
The work we’ve done is way much more than just a restyling. We wanted to help this organisation achieve its goal throughout their website. We wanted them to catch back the coherence and readability they had lost. People do not only deserve to be well informed. They deserve to be helped in their decision-making process.
Raising the notoriety while delivering an impersonal message
The « Méditateur National de l’Energie » aim was twofold. Meanwhile it delivers serious and complex informations, it needed to be reached at the right moment. And just after being reached, how do you manage to convey the good information at the fastest pace?
The energy supplier market is not the kind of topics that catch up the usual internet user attention.
To cope with these challenges, we first worked on the website functionalities. One doesn’t think every week about his energy supplier. If not, there is a problem. Energie-info.fr ought to be there to help you. But what are the core informations you need to encounter at first sight as you enter the website?
Thanks to our observations, we could distinguish three cases: One gathers informations about something he has to do : "I'm working on my relocation, how do I proceed?" - One chooses an energy supplier "I do want to apply to a green energy supplier, how do I find it?" - One wants to change to another supplier " I want to put an end to my subscription, what are the steps to follow?"
We first started by establishing a new way to organize and prioritize the information, following three axis : “A la Une” (“On topics”) - “Les Fiches Pratiques” (“Information Sheets) - “Les Outils” (Tools). And we did this with a main idea: the information need to be explained under the light of everyday life. As a matter of fact, when information is complex, it’s often relevant to contextualize it in order to help people understand it.
Helping the consumer find its way in a complex environment
Of course, working on the information presentation was just a beginning. The website graphical language also had to follow the same path: reachable, specific, almost playful.
Furthermore, the content was now organized in three differents sections. But we thought it was also relevant to give users a new way to be aware of what was presented. We needed to focus on how people were going to use this website. For example, in which case do you sum up informations about your energy supplier? It’s often when you’ve to relocate or when you think about building up your second home on the French Riviera ;)
The website was already becoming a lot nicer. But more than anything, what drives us at User Studio is to make things that we are deeply proud of. And we needed to go further.
When we develop a new service, we love to imagine who are going to be our users: “Barely installed in its new flat, Mister Smith begins to think about how he is going to switch from one energy supplier to another. Because he has not apply to any internet access provider, he can’t access the internet. So, he is compelled to use its mobile phone!” And you know what? Energie-info.fr has been specifically build to give a dedicated answer to user in such a case. In fact, the website is developed in responsive web design, and automatically adjust the content it displays to the size of your screen device.
As it happen often when you work on web projects, before making this new website reachable, every people who work with, on a day-to-day basis or not, had to accept the change we were going to prompt on its working habits. So, we dedicated a lot of our time to understand how they used to work on it. We’ve worked with about ten people from the “Médiateur National de l’Energie” and the “Commission de régulation de l’Énergie”, our two partners on this project, during various workshop.
Because we love gifts and bonuses, at the end of the project we decided to use another set of skills of ours: “creative coding” and “data visualization”. We’ve created a tool which generates graphics automatically for our client's team:
Indeed every month our client team publishes an article which deals with the electricity and gas price variations. A graphic illustrates the article. Thanks to our tool, this graphic is automatically generated, as soon as new prices have been correctly fed to it.