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M-tel Website: Working with Bulgaria's Largest Telecom

Redesigning the website of M-Tel, Bulgaria’s largest telecom was one of the greatest challenges we have ever encountered. A test for our creativity, process and expertise, the new website generated high user satisfaction and won an industry award. Simultaneously with our redesign and restructuring work, M-tel was introducing a new visual identity and switching to a new billing system.

project type

Enterprise, Web, UI/UX

client

MobilTel

engagement model

Fixed Price

technology

HTML, CSS

 

Project

Redesigning the site of Bulgaria’s largest telecom was one of the greatest challenges we have ever encountered. It was both a great chance and great responsibility – to test our creativity, process and skills and to meet high expectations.

A poll conducted by M-tel shows 93 percent user satisfactions. Sixty percent of the participants said the new site exceeded their expectations. The site was rated 5.20 on a 1 to 6 scale. Not surprisingly the site won “Website of the Year” Award (Technology and Communications category) in the prestigious Bulgarian Web Awards organized by the Bulgarian Web Association.

Challenges

In hindsight, we can see we have managed to achieve our primary goal: introduce substantial improvements while taking care not to change any of the website’s existing advantages – a balance not easy to maintain. 

The project was multilayered: a big telecom site with a ten-year history like M-tel.bg had tons of content to dig and requirements to keep in mind. We had to analyze the current site, identify all user needs it meets and those it does not, design new site architecture and optimize user experience/flows. This was just to start with. Then we benchmarked against the industry’s finest examples, created a prototype, developed a new web identity, implemented, tested and fine-tuned it, then tested it again. 

Balancing act

In addition, two complex internal processes ran simultaneously with our work – M-tel were in the process of introducing a new visual identity system, and at the same time switching to a new billing system. As a result, we had to make decisions based on work in progress.

Last but not least, even though not directly stated, the new website was expected to act both as a vanguard channel for the introduction of the new visual identity and a spectacular web interface for a vast array of extras meant to boost customer satisfaction.

Renewed structure

Having several competing user experiences to serve made the task quite tricky. On one hand, there was the "core" experience which served as a global overview and guide to the assortment of telco services. On the other there was a separate "store" experience for those who wished to check latest offerings and buy online. Then we had the “entertainment” experience where users could view and download entertainment content. The challenge was to combine all these into a natural navigation flow, and still preserve the unique identities of the individual navigation streams.

Web design

The key design goals were to facilitate the new structure and navigation and make the site simpler and cleaner. M-tel had a well-established brand solidified by years of heavy campaigning. However, at that particular moment, we were working on the edge of both the current and the new visual identity. Not to dilute the user experience was yet another test for our creativity. For a period of six months we created, tested with focus-groups and refined a number of look, feel and manner concepts to extract the finest ideas.

While the front-end was completely re-architected by Melon, M-tel had to integrate with their existing back-end to complete the build. 

Information architecture

A project of enormous scale such as this one was an excellent chance to put to test not only our production but also our project management capabilities. Working with agile project management, we kept track of all site-related needs in scrum meetings with all M-tel departments. When the requirements were set, we documented everything in black and white wireframes, a technique we use in all our projects. It allows focusing the discussion on structure and strategy without distracting visual elements. This technique also helps identify weaknesses in flows and thinking.

Learning opportunity

Working with M-tel was a great learning experience. For one, we greatly improved our approach to analyzing, evaluating and systemizing user data which greatly impacts the overall strategy and approach. We learned how to work with huge amounts of content and leverage swift navigation and loading HTML techniques to ensure the user feels a distinct sense of performance. We were able to design some tricky features such as the myriad of product and plan calculators and came up with innovative ways to market multiple product and service lines.

Results

Our work was subsequently awarded Website of the Year in Technology and Communications category at the Bulgarian Web Awards 2011 (page is in Bulgarian) organized by the Bulgarian Web Association.