Thuiscomfort is an inspirational platform initiated by Technische Unie, the largest technical wholeseller in the Netherlands. Traditionally they only sell and market their products and services to other businesses and act solely as a supplier of technical products. In order to expand their influence in a changing market they stated their ambition to reach and communicate directly to end-users (e.g. home-owners) and focus more on complete solutions instead of just technical products. The main target group for this platform are home-owners with an interest in life-sustainable living. Most of the technical solutions offered are about dealing with getting older and a decline physical ability to take care for yourself. Although highly relevant, it is not a fun topic to talk about, let alone to get inspired by. The main challenge for the design of the platform was to present the brand ‘Thuiscomfort’ and it’s solutions in a positive manner, without the context of medical or physical impairments.
When i joined the team there already was a rough concept outlined and an initial set of user stories in the backlog. The first challenge to tackle was to translate the newly developed brandmark to a working design system. After exploring different variations in colour and styling, we decided to stick with three main colors and use them to highlight specific features of the platform, leaving the presented content as clean and neutral as possible.
With the branding in place i started working through the given requirements, prioritizing features and translating the first concept into a working design system. One of the design challenges in this process was to combine all the different types of content (articles, tools, bannering, etc.) and to present them in a flexible and responsive layout. I choose for a rigid but adaptive grid in which all those types of content would be presented in a consistent and recognizable way, wether viewed on a desktop, tablet or smartphone.
After the first design phase the platform had a solid base on which we could expand further. Besides all of the inspirational content, there was a huge potential for tooling, both for consumers as for partners of the platform. For the consumer part i designed a variety of inspirational tools, ranging from step-by-step guidebooks to fully interactive lookbooks in which the best home-solutions are put in the spotlight.
For the business partners of the platform we wanted to create a separate set of tools. In order to attract business partners is was important that they could present their best cases and solutions in creating a sustainable home. In addition to the ‘open’-part of the plaftorm, i also designed a personal dashboard environment to specifically service the business partners. In this dashboard partners can publish and track their content as well as communicate with end-users about their personal wishes and requests, thus creating a closed-loop in terms of flow and businesscase.
The Thuiscomfort platform went live mid 2014 and has since gained a steady growth of monthly visitors and pageviews. New inspirational content is being published on a daily basis, and the platform has gained over 700 business partners since launch.