Club of Mozambique:
A portal for business
The Club of Mozambique website with a compelling visual design and structured information portrays the nation as an attractive business destination. Our design journey towards the final solution.
The origins of Club of Mozambique
In the 1990s, Adrian Frey, a UK based consultant saw the potential for the small nation of Mozambique to formally bring its services and needs to a portal, via which business could be transacted with greater ease. The website would offer future investors a wide range of prospects by filtering in news for the interested businessman. The idea that people could come together as a Club to engage with a repository of information was appealing and Frey began Club of Mozambique, which by its title collated the associations one had with ‘club’ and ‘country’. Mozambique, not being very big, brings the notion of the nation itself as a club. Club of Mozambique essentially channelized news which came from various sources in the areas of property, economy and agriculture. The original site offered information on how to start a business in Mozambique, news in business and culture, updates on property, ongoing events and a directory.
Lopez Design revamped the site for the present climate. In essence, the Club of Mozambique through its design ambitiously aims to change the outlook of a nation through a portal. It makes information hugely accessible and presenting fantastic opportunities which can be realized into actualities. It is a website that makes the country proud of its achievements.
Engaging through the web
The design team envisaged doing several things simultaneously through website design: creating a user experience, providing information and satisfying the specific purpose for which a user comes to a site. As the website of Club of Mozambique offered a vast territory that could be explored, the designers looked at this additional potential as a way to engage the user to discover what else the site has to offer than he or she came looking for. The primary target audience was identified as all those with business interests in Mozambique. The secondary audience was very simply – everyone else – tourists, visitors and people of Mozambique.
Aligning visual design with information structure
The identity of Club of Mozambique is three squares in red, green and yellow that corresponds to the colors of the national flag of Mozambique. We tweaked the logo to align with the website. The visual design took its cue from the squares and fused it together with the aesthetics of material design. The main bucketed categories on the site were allocated a color each to develop affinity and recall with the section of their interest, for a repeat visitor. NEWS was identified with red as this was the primary and breaking element, BUSINESS information is in blue giving a corporate feel, PROPERTY in brown associates with land and INVESTMENTS in green relates to money and returns. The last category is VISITING MOZAMBIQUE, which was made purple as it is a homogeneous balancing color. If you clicked on any item in the header, you would land up at the page of the selected category.
One of the challenges faced with the user experience was making the site navigation friendly and approachable. As the old website was heavy on text and news, the design team had to find a way to delineate information so that the user would feel comfortable going through vast quantities without being overwhelmed. News came from many different sources and the website team would not have control over the quality of the visual. Therefore, they created a compelling graphic grid with the use of color coding while boxing text and visuals with strong supportive elements. Says designer Ashish Rehani, “Some 19000 people came to the landing page earlier for the NEWS section. While we wanted to retain the large percentage of site visits attracted by news, we also wanted to enhance visits to other sections. Hence, NEWS came up front but the rest of the verticals became important to increase the traffic.”
Given the extensive categories with multiple sub-categories, the designers devised ways by which the user would have a greater control over the information architecture. The left bar acted as an anchor and information is revealed for loading particular content pockets by using expansive columns. This freed the user from the weight of having to ‘travel’ within the site from one page to another and enforces a sense of greater control. Rehani elucidates, “Psychologically, the user does not feel like he has ‘left the page’ giving him a sense of comfort of ‘staying with the space’.”
Widening the website reach
As per the Google analytics of the old website, there was a stark contrast between the time spent on the homepage versus the inner pages. Since the new website was to evolve into not just “better organised and wider coverage of news” but “much more for everyone”, discovery and continuity was critical. Rehani says, “Various sitemap approaches allowed us to figure relevant connections which could induce an infinite loop of surfing experience for the user. It tracks back to the very reason why the internet is called the web!” This was achieved by introducing widgets on the right side column, which are smaller boxes, also colored, which help connect relevant sections with each other. Someone from BUSINESS can connect to INVESTMENTS and to the DIRECTORY.
The actual execution of the website required in-depth co-ordination with the team at Club of Mozambique, especially since this was a news heavy website that is constantly renewed with new information. Anthony Lopez notes, “A lot of effort was made to understand the requirements of the editorial team and the rest of the stakeholders while keeping the adjustments minimal for the client.” Many aspects of the website were also made more user-friendly as per the client requirement to simplify the site as well as modify for team at Mozambique to adapt more easily.
What the website achieves
With its careful construction of information balancing graphic elements, color and composition, the Club of Mozambique website portrays Mozambique as an attractive destination for doing business with healthy future prospects. Principal Anthony Lopez sums up, “The site shows Mozambique in a positive light, projecting how it is conducive to business and holistic growth despite it being a small nation. It also encourages the client’s website team to develop great new content with an outlook to big business.”
Overall, the designers made three major breakthroughs:
- Marketing and Revenue Opportunities were brought to the forefront, by the identification of various spots and ways to plot Promoted content, featured listings and the advertisement banners from sponsors and partners. This gave the client, revenue generation opportunities and promised the sustainability of the venture.
- The website is based on a 7 column grid with pockets of 2 and 4 columns for various listings. The odd column (first column) on the left side was dedicated for the titling and navigation within a section, acting like an Intro. The next 4 columns (2nd-5th column) made the body of the website, holding the primary information. The last two columns lead to relevant sections and accommodate advertisements and secondary information, much like an Outro.
- The 7 column grid allowed for a seamless adaptation to response versions with Tablet landscape retaining 5 column, 4 column for Tablet landscape and 2 column grid for the mobile.
Sujatha Shankar Kumar