N-ERGIE is one of the biggest electricity providers and supplies large parts of Middle Franconia and adjacent regions with electricity and gas as well as Nuremberg with water and district heating. The public limited company N-ERGIE is also one of the major investors in the region and is committed to sustainable, energy-efficient solutions.
Both private and business customers can find detailed information on energy topics and individual electricity, natural gas, thermal and water products on the website. Existing customers also have the option to use various services (e.g. enter meter reading or report errors).
The N-ERGIE website was to be redesigned from scratch in order to give it a contemporary and modern look and feel and also optimize it for mobile devices (responsive). One major requirement was to conform to users’ needs and to learn about useful usability methods for the beginning of a relaunch project. In order to reach this goal, internal requirements of the departments Private Customers, Business Customers, Human Resources and Public Relations were analyzed first of all. Additionally, it was our task to convey how early user research can also reveal users’ needs and wishes.
For the four largest sections of the website, we held a half-day workshop with stakeholders. First of all, the department's business goals and current challenges were identified. Subsequently, participants got the task to put themselves in the user's shoes and to develop proto personas which represent the target group of the website. These proto personas were used to compile user requirements into so-called user stories and to collect new ideas for information and functions which would support users with their tasks. Participants quickly realized that there was a lack of knowledge about users of their website and that they had different assumptions about them in their team.
The user requirements and ideas developed in the stakeholder workshops were then written into concrete requirements for the website redesign. This enabled us to define which contents and features were to be implemented from the perspective of the departments. However, the perspective of potential users was not yet considered. The workshops made participants realize how important it is to involve real users at an early stage and that user research plays a key role in a relaunch.