Holding A Client's Attention with Site-Scapes

Problem: When presenting the discoveries made about a client’s business, we have historically presented documentation that is largely ineffective because it subscribes to the idea that breadth creates value.

Solution: Present large info-graphic boards that communicate the structure of a pertinent narrative. Introducing “Site-Scapes!”


While working with The Groop on a project for the country’s largest employer and one of the top public universities, we took the bulk of our discoveries from three sources and made them come to life with a “Site-Scape”. Our definition of a Site-Scape is a mash-up of user definitions, brand attributes and the service’s value proposition (i.e., a clear statement of the tangible results a customer gets from using the product or service). The original idea for these “design-scapes”, as they were known, began with Henry Min, formerly of The Groop, and Jose Caballer, Chief Creative Whip at The Groop. We’ve now evolved them to add more structure around the Discovery Phase deliverables.

The challenge with any documentation that presents insights is to surface those insights in context. This is where they generate the greatest understanding and ultimately validate why the client hired us. When presented out of context, they fall flat and fail to generate the desired “eureka” moment…

That said, the goal of this Site-Scape was to visually communicate three things:

1. An affirmation that we understand the user (s) and their needs.
2. Provide references to our proposed features- by Phase -and their organizing principles.
3. A suggested visual language we might develop for the design.


Reading from left to right, we first identified our three primary users paired with their needs. We reminded the viewer (client) of the interviews conducted with the program trainers and constituents by using quotes placed to underscore a particular program need. Instead of developing wireframes we expressed their essence: possible features that support the value proposition and the suggested actions each might demand of the user.

The Site-Scape led the viewers eye along a path of visual forms- the same path a user takes as they work through the site and that reflects the real-life experiences the service is designed to address. All of this impresses upon the client our understanding of who this site is intended to serve. Simply put- we get the needs of the end-user.

Phase Two

Lastly, we did provide supporting documentation. In this context it becomes less critical to the story of our vision summarized by the Site-Scape. Ultimately, our goal, is to make the supporting material irrelevant. As Site-Scapes become more symbolic and referential they become more powerful. I don’t foresee these visualizations holding the same symbolism of the paintings of Leonardo Di Vinci or Albrecht Dürer, but it’s something to shoot for!

In one four-hour meeting we accomplished what would have taken much longer in a “traditional” deliverable presentation. I’m factoring in the reality that presentations normally require (1) orientation to the materials; (2) explanation of the materials; and finally, (3) the client’s time spent digesting all of it on their own time.

On a higher level, the goal of any presentation is to create a story the listener engages with no matter their learning style: visual, kinesthetic, or auditory. Our goal is to allow clients to move towards faster, more immediate comprehension of our solution. After all, we are betting that this is exactly what we will deliver as a final user experience.

Phase 3

If you’ve had experience presenting “alternative” documentation to clients, I welcome your comments. I hope to hear from you.


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