Through our meetings with the MS Register team and discussions around user behaviour, it soon became clear that the problems were a result of a failure to engage their audience. We needed to make the messages stronger and clearer, and work on developing an identity for the MS Register that would enable them to build strong relationships with people with MS.
The first stage of the project was to create a visual identity to appeal to the demographic. To give people the confidence to volunteer their personal information, it was essential to make the MS Register look like the credible and professional body that it is. We also wanted to create a community feel to give users a sense of belonging and shared values, and a desire to join together to share their experiences in order to make a difference.
Without alienating our more mature market, we needed to consider the appeal for a younger audience; the design style needed to be modern, fresh and uplifting.
The development of a concept upon which to base our designs was key to creating a meaningful and engaging brand, and as we hit upon the asterisk, we were pretty pleased with ourselves at discovering an existing symbol that implied everything we wanted to say.
An asterisk is used within text to mark an unattested word or phrase – MS is largely undocumented and underrepresented in terms of research and medical knowledge; a situation that the MS Register is seeking to address. The asterisk can also represent access to further information. A fitting symbol to represent the study. The way we’ve positioned the symbol in relation to the type highlights its mathematical connotations, as befits a statistical study.
We selected a bold typeface, offering clarity and easy recognition. The curvature of the lettering gives an air of friendliness and approachability.
The colour palette needed to be very different from the MS Society to visually set the two organisations apart, the first stage in growing awareness of the MS Register.
The combination of a pale grey – which provides a background to present text as clearly as possible, an important consideration when many of our audience experience visual impairment as a result of MS. We’ve applied uplifting teal as an accent colour; it’s bright, visible to visually impaired users, and appealing to both a male and a female audience.
Developing a tone of voice for the MS Register that would emotionally connect with and engage our audience was an integral part of the identity design process. It was vital to deliver strong messages with clarity. To help to make people feel part of a community, the voice had to be friendly and informal, in order to build trust, it had to be knowledgable and reassuring, promoting absolute transparency and data integrity.
Simple language has been used, giving clear instructions to guide cognitively impaired users through the process of registering and completing the series of questionnaires. Key messages repeated across the website. Website content is structured in a way that tells the story of the MS Register, informing and persuading people to get involved.
An email newsletter, informational leaflets, posters and banner stands were designed to prepare the MS Register for their appearance at the MS Life show in April.
Every design is a natural extension of the brand identity, with a carefully selected range of people images to encourage identification across the spectrum of the MS Register’s target market.
Many of our audience suffer from cognitive impairments, so the key objective for our website redesign was the clear presentation of information and the process of completing the series of questionnaires as straightforward as possible.
We designed the website with a single page of text, that readers could either scroll through in its entirety, or jump directly to a section of interest using the conventional navigation.
If you want to encourage people to interact, you have to make it easy for them. Our website design is fully responsive, automatically adapting to a smartphone or tablet display.