Mini Case Study: FanFood Voice + Tone
This mini case study more deeply explores the creation of FanFood's voice and tone and how this influenced the redesign of key user flows for the project.
Product: FanFood offers affordable, commission-free mobile ordering tools to help food and beverage businesses increase and retain revenue, reach new audiences, and elevate their customer experience.
Role: UX Writer, UX Researcher
Contributions: Tone map, voice + tone principles, voice + tone guide, website personality test, usability testing
Tools: Figma, Zoom, Otter, G Suite, Usability Hub
Team: 2 UX Designers
Platform: Desktop web
Type: Client project
How might we better engage with FanFood's new target audience through website language and content?
Due to COVID-19, FanFood needed our help to increase engagement with a more diverse target audience. Prior to the pandemic, the company was primarily focused on partnering with sporting and event venues, which were unable to maintain operations during COVID-19. To pivot, the company turned its focus towards providing contactless solutions that could be used at any food and beverage venue, but it needed help with product messaging that resonated with both current and new customers.
Engaging with Annie
Through previous UX research, my teammate and I determined that Annie, a food truck owner, represented FanFood's primary audience - non-traditional food and beverage business owners. Annie views mobile ordering and contactless pickup and delivery as essential business needs, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Having a product that provides these services would help keep her food truck open, her employees safe and healthy, and her customers happy. To continue operating under state restrictions related to the coronavirus, she needs to find a solution quickly, and to do this, she needs to understand what a company like FanFood offers and trust that it can help her business.
Illustrations from undraw.com
I listened closely to the language that current and potential FanFood customers used when describing their companies and when they shared their business needs and goals. From these conversations and throughout our discovery research, themes began to emerge about the needs of FanFood's customers.
We discovered that FanFood's audience wants to partner with a company that provides:
Information should be clear and professional, fact-driven, and confirmed by industry professionals.
Solutions should help them stay open and keep their staff and customers safe.
Support should give them confidence that someone will be available to help if they encounter any problems or have any questions.
I suggested using a tool like Usability Hub to gather insight into users' perceptions of the current FanFood website, with a focus on the home screen - one of the key screens we were redesigning. Due to time restrictions with this project, we only received responses from 10 test participants, but even this small pool revealed information that was helpful for our designs.
Results from website personality test
Overall, users found the current home screen to be primarily straight-forward, approachable/friendly, and informative. However, they didn't see FanFood as being credible, confident, or trustworthy - key principles that inspire faith in a company. It was clear that we would need to incorporate these principles into our redesign through messaging and content strategy.
Only 20% of respondents said that FanFood seemed confident or trustworthy.
Since we were tasked with developing FanFood's voice and tone to make sure the site's messaging would speak to both current (sporting and event venues) and new target customers (non-traditional and traditional food and beverage business owners), I knew that the company's voice and tone would need to resonate with a wide and diverse group of customers. To supplement the website personality test results, my teammate and I created a tone map to better gauge FanFood's branding and personality.
FanFood tone map
We wanted to maintain the company's overall branding, so having a clearer idea of the website's personality and how the company wanted to be perceived helped us understand how we could better align FanFood's voice and tone with the needs of its audience.
Writing Goals + Principles
Armed with this understanding, my teammate and I developed a set of voice and tone principles that FanFood could use to inform its content strategy and messaging:
FanFood aims to:
• Empower: Help people understand how our products and services can assist their business to achieve its goals. Use language that is encouraging, uplifting, and inspires confidence.
• Guide: Provide helpful context and relevant information to lead people to find what they are looking for.
• Excite: Use engaging and upbeat language to motivate people to learn more about our products and feel eager to reach out to our team.
• Support: Use language that conveys helpfulness throughout the entire customer experience and approach every touchpoint with openness and empathy.
• Inspire Trust: Reinforce our content with accurate statistics and data points that are relevant to our audience. Use customer testimonials where appropriate to support our value proposition and product offerings.
To accomplish these goals, we want our content and language to be:
• Clear: Keep language plain and simple, without the use of informal idioms, slang, or technical jargon.
• Approachable: Messaging should be conversational and friendly. Keep language relaxed and less formal, but still professional, open, and welcoming.
• Informative: Ensure that the content we create is valuable and useful by understanding who our audience is and their needs and goals. Keep messaging straightforward and concise, providing only the information that is relevant and necessary.
Voice + Tone
We then defined FanFood's voice and tone and provided the company with a written guide to inform future content strategy and messaging.
The voice, which should remain consistent throughout all interactions, uses relaxed, conversational, and supportive language to speak to customers as friends:
At FanFood, our voice is an easy and warm conversation as someone who understands and wants to help.
While voice remains constant, tone changes to fit the context and customers' emotional state.
My teammate and I incorporated FanFood's voice, tone, and writing principles into our mid-fidelity wireframes and then conducted usability testing to gauge the usability and desirability of our designs. The main objective was to test the effectiveness of the UX writing in meeting the success metrics for this project, which include increasing the amount of users who request a product demo and who refer a venue. Insights from testing with four users provided several opportunities for improvement. If you'd like to see how we used feedback from testing to make iterations to our designs, check out my full FanFood case study.
This was my first time doing a deep-dive into defining the voice and tone for a company. I did a lot of research about how customers respond to voice and tone and how that can influence their perceptions of a product or service (either positively or negatively). I also studied the voice, tone, and writing principles of other large companies, like Microsoft, MailChimp, and DuoLingo, to see how they approached messaging for their users.
Having a solid understanding of what a particular audience wants, how they speak, and what they look for in a company provides a foundation for content strategy and UX Writing, which helps me to design products that speak directly to user needs and in a way that resonates with them. I think UX Writing is a key element in crafting delightful user experiences and can be the difference between good and great design.