The simple joy of receiving a Christmas card is something to which none of us are immune – each one a neatly packaged gift of festive goodwill from friends or family.
For Marie Curie, hosting an eCards service is a valuable way of facilitating these moments of connection while raising brand awareness. It is also a crucial fundraising vehicle, with Christmas eCards generating five-figure income through associated donations. With the charity’s existing eCards platform suffering from fundamental and costly drawbacks, Marie Curie approached long-term partner Yoyo to reimagine the proposition and help develop a new platform that would be fit for the forthcoming festive season and also adaptable for future eCard campaigns.
While the previous eCards platform fulfilled its essential transactional purpose, it did not satisfy Marie Curie’s ambitions. The charity wanted to provide users with a deeply engaging and rewarding experience – it should not simply be a way of sharing individual, one-off messages, but rather a valued, trusted tool for consumers and corporates alike to communicate at scale under the Marie Curie brand. To achieve this vision, the Yoyo team undertook a comprehensive refresh of the microsite’s design and UX. The goal was for senders to feel welcomed into a comforting, beautiful environment where they could create a true digital ‘moment’ that, for recipients, would resonate with their analogue experience in the real world.
With the incumbent eCards platform, a task as simple as changing a card design was fraught with complexity and huge cost. From a back-end perspective, therefore, the two key priorities of the new platform were flexibility and control. Flexibility was about making sure that Marie Curie’s in-house team could manage content and change card designs quickly, simply and without significant investment; control was about making sure that the in-house digital team would have autonomy when it came to development but had the necessary guidance and support from Yoyo. The ultimate result would be to empower Marie Curie with a manageable platform and a sustainable, cost-effective pathway for future iteration and development.
Making the act of giving a gift in itself.
With a fresh, on-brand design that is both visually appealing and user-
friendly, the eCards platform delicately positions Marie Curie in the background of very personal interactions, while encouraging vital donations to support their important work providing end-of-life care.
With the crucial Christmas season presenting a fixed delivery deadline, Yoyo introduced agile working practices to break down the project into sprints of prioritised activity, ensuring the first-phase release would incorporate all essential elements of functionality. Having mapped out core user journeys and purchase flows, the design team began to realise the look and feel of a real-world card-selection process. Great care was taken to reflect the simplicity of the process, with white space allowing card designs to sit harmoniously within Marie Curie-branded pages, whether on desktop or mobile.
Prior to development being undertaken, Yoyo was called upon to help clarify the choice of CMS, putting aside its affiliation for Umbraco to offer an entirely platform- agnostic perspective, with consideration for future-proofing, availability of skills and development timeframes. The decision was made to go with Optimizely (formerly Episerver), providing continuity for the internal team tasked with an accelerated schedule of development, content uploading and QA testing.
With the end of November deadline approaching, Yoyo dovetailed closely with the Marie Curie team to ensure design and development came together as scheduled. The agency was tasked with developing social media video assets and also implementing SEO, working to optimise content and meta descriptions, and ensuring the necessary data insights would be generated from Google Analytics to enhance conversions over time.
Having supported each other to the point of launch after this intensive phase-one development, the partners were able to step back and leave the eCards platform to its purpose of spreading joy under the Marie Curie name, both in time for the valuable Christmas period and in readiness for future campaigning activity, such as the Great Daffodil Appeal in Spring.