I’ve worked for dozens of clients and on hundreds of projects in my career. Below is a cross-section of some of my success stories. I would be happy to walk you through the detail of these and other projects in person.
Head of Design (2013-2016)
Winner, Excellence in Design, 2015 New Zealand International Business Awards
Silver, Business Communication – 2015 Best Awards (Powershop CX Manual)
Finalist, Moving Images, 2015 Best Awards (The Future of Electricity)
Finalist, Applications, 2014 Best Awards (Powershop Mobile App)
Finalist, Best Effect, 2014 Best Awards (Powershop Mobile App)
At Powershop, Zef established and directed an award-winning team of nine designers including customer researchers, product designers and graphic designers. His team boosted the company’s capabilities in design and user experience, improved customer engagement and lead Powershop to win a multi-million licensing deal in the UK.
Product evolution lead by his team included the research and design of an Energy Diary (mobile app), a new product interface (web app), a website refresh and usability enhancements to the CRM suite of tools. In addition his team supported the company’s marketing, social media and communications, enabling campaigns to be created in-house.
Zef was also responsible for Powershop’s edgy brand. His team created an award-winning brand manual, international brand strategy and management plan to pave the way for Powershop’s brand to be licenced in Australia, the UK and Europe.
- 144% growth in customer numbers during Zef’s tenure.
- Built an in-house Design/UX team. Wrote and carried out the design strategy, undertook recruitment, team management and programme management.
- Instrumental in creating a collaborative workplace using Lean UX principles.
- Initiated the production of personas, a pattern library, A/B and user testing.
- His team’s focus on customer engagement boosted product purchases by 10% in 2015.
- Zef’s team contributed to Powershop’s NPS score of +45 (the industry average being -40).
- During his term Powershop achieved a customer satisfaction score of 90% (Consumer NZ independent survey).
- His efforts won Powershop an array of design and business awards, including the NZ International Business Awards.
- Zef was on the strategic team who lead Powershop to win a multi-million licensing deal in the UK.
Hiko: Legends carved in light
Gold, New Zealand’s Best Ngā Aho Design, 2012 Best Awards
Finalist, Exhibition & Temporary Structures, 2012 Best Awards
This tourism initiative for a prominent Māori tribe has attracted and transfixed visitors from all over the world.
After more than 130 years away, Mataatua Wharenui – New Zealand’s most travelled Māori meeting house – was returned to the Ngāti Awa tribe in 2012. The tribe wanted to create an immersive experience to tell the history of the wharenui and Ngāti Awa; in a way that would respect and enhance this ancient building without eclipsing it. The experience would be a key tourist attraction for the region and a major source of income for the tribe.
Zef’s role was to research the history of the tribe and construct a storyline that would engage visitors of any age and from any culture. He meet with tribal leaders who traced their lineage back over a thousand years. Zef and the design team visited sites of historical significance and explored a variety of mechanisms for immersive storytelling.
The team struck on the idea of moving the experience from a tourism centre being built alongside the meeting house, to being directly inside the meeting house itself. Click Suite achieved this ambitious project using ‘digital projection mapping’ and animation – making use of the richly detailed carvings and tukutuku (woven flax panels) which were used as the projection canvas.
The result is that when visitors enter the meeting house they are treated to stories about ancestral artefacts – yet done a way they have never experienced before – thanks to the melding of ancient carvings and modern technology.
The result speaks for itself in the words of the visitors to Mataatua… “Amazing” – “Blown away” – “Outstanding” – “Transfixed”
Sleepy Whakatane is now the talk of the resurgent Māori tourism industry thanks to a few sophisticated tricks of the light and great storytelling.
NZ Ministry of Transport
“Go Discover” Intranet
Winner, 2008 Intranet Design Awards, Nielson Norman Group
Microsoft Partner Solution of the Year Award 2007
In 2007 Provoke Solutions were instrumental in breaking new ground with Sharepoint, Microsoft’s enterprise CMS. The result was a radical new approach to information architecture winning the intranet a prestigious award from one of the world’s top usability experts, Jakob Nielsen.
Following a transport sector review in 2003, the Ministry of Transport increased from 50 to 140 staff, opening extra offices in Wellington, Auckland and Christchurch. An IT strategic review in 2005 revealed a need for an intranet for collaboration, content management, centralised communication and stakeholder management.
Claire Johnstone, GM-corporate at the Ministry, said “We wanted to develop an intranet that was easy to use, something modern and flexible, attractive to use – a communication tool people wanted to use as a first source of information. It also needed to provide information on ministry policies and processes and provide a social forum for staff”, she said.
In a bold move Provoke decided to build the intranet on Sharepoint 2007, which was still in beta. The new platform had never been used to create an intranet and Microsoft took close notice of the project. The outstanding result won Provoke Microsoft’s Partner Solution of the Year.
The project needed a solid understanding of Sharepoint’s capabilities and the needs of the Ministry’s staff, so Zef was was called in as the principal information architect and user experience designer on the project.
Zef’s process included undertaking a content inventory, interviewing stakeholders and users – and a radical new approach to information architecture that paid off. He achieved this by taking advantage of Sharepoint’s metadata functionality and ‘hacked’ the platform to enable a completely flexible information architecture that was more intuitive for users. Before then the best practice was to locate content within a strict navigation hierarchy, which often hindered the findability of content for users.
On completion of the intranet, the Ministries staff were enjoying its use.
Provoke’s CEO Mason Pratt said “The main thing we did right was to make sure the solution solved the business need and the social need. It’s basically just good to use – it’s modern, flexible and it looks good. It’s about people and that’s what works for our customers”.
The Ministry of Transport said the intranet was a “far cry from what might expected from a government intranet”.
“It supports around 200 central government workers enabling them to post their own news content with a sound information architecture and fun style which all contribute to the MoT intranet being ‘the’ place to be — and no travel required,” the Ministry said in a press statement.
In 2008 the Ministry of Transport’s intranet was named as among the best in the world, being listed in the Top 10 in an international competition. It was the first New Zealand organisation to have ever won the award. Other winners were world heavyweights such as The Bank of America, Barnes & Noble, British Airways and IKEA.
San Francisco-based Nielsen Norman Group, who had organised the event since 2000, said “The New Zealand Ministry of Transport intranet makes it effortless to communicate research work and news across the organisation. The design team achieved this effortless communication by applying sound information architecture and considering user tasks and simplicity. And they were able to do this while still promoting the transportation theme in subtle and pleasant ways across the site.”
Scienceworks, Museum Victoria
Think Ahead Exhibition, Future Cities
Gold (Communication Design), 2014 Premier’s Design Awards
Bronze, 2014 Muse Awards (American Alliance of Museums)
Finalist, Applications, 2014 Best Awards
Zef was the UX Lead for the creation of a hero piece in the new exhibition space at Scienceworks which allows young visitors, in groups, to create a future city. The result is something out of science fiction.
Think Ahead is a long term (7+years) exhibition aimed at children 8-12 years-old. It invites visitors to imagine the future, presenting advances in science and technology that affect the way we live, communicate travel and play. The exhibition has ten interconnected themes – communication, sound, medicine/health, food, natural systems/environments, transport, space, money, daily life, cities – as well a ‘future ideas’ demonstration area.
The idea was to challenge visitors to co-create a physical city with building blocks on a large table – but make it magical. Give them blocks that light up when you put them on the table, and that generate a corresponding 3D building on a 6 metre high screen behind the table. The 3D buildings also respond to changes in the way the block is positioned, so twisting a tall building 90 degrees can change it from a skyscraper apartment block to a vertical farm.
Click Suite did everything from detailing the concept through to installation. We built the actual digital table (a unique combination of augmented reality glyphs, infrared lights, toughened glass, and projectors) and created all the software, including the 3-D modelling used in the game.
Zef worked closely with the team from Museums Victoria to develop the experience and to tackle the intense innovation this project required while still delivering a reliable and engaging experience that can be played continuously all day, every day.
The result is that visitors are given a challenge (e.g. to create an environmentally friendly city) to complete within a time frame. It’s typical to sense the growing excitement as they get close to their goals and there’s always lots of yelling between the visitors about what’s needed. The end result is a high energy activity that presents a lovely mixture of tactile play and slick technology.
Fast, Fresh & Tasty
Fast, Fresh & Tasty Mobile App
Distinction, Mobile, 2012 Communicator Awards
This popular recipe app was created to help food brands get a deeper connection with consumers; and to help New Zealanders expand their repertoire of weeknight meals using local products. It has been an ongoing success.
Research revealed that Kiwis have between five and seven dishes they regularly cook for weeknight meals. The app store at the time was crammed with international recipe apps, but none that reflected New Zealand’s local market. In New Zealand searches on recipes from mobile devices were growing, which helped demonstrate that there was a desire from consumers to find new ideas.
The idea was born to create the only recipe app that celebrated local products and flavours. Adding a seasonal aspect to the app was part of the strategy to keep the app current, and get over the common scenario that apps are downloaded, used for a bit, then abandoned.
Acting as the UX Lead, Zef ran collaborative design workshops with target customers where they explored features such as shopping lists (that you can text or email to someone else) as well as social media sharing of what you’re cooking. These insights informed the design of paper prototypes which were tested on the target audience. A working prototype was then released to a limited audience and their behaviours tracked via analytics and user diaries.
The result was an app that immediately hit the mark with the target audience. The app reached number one in the app store within hours of release, knocking down Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson and Epicurious – and has reappeared there many times since. And engagement is high. Users are accessing the app an average of 13 times a month to decide what’s for dinner tonight, and the use of the app has not waned since it has been in the market.
Here’s what users have said:
“I love the app! Honestly one of the best recipe apps around!” Jane
“Yours is a great app and have used it many times. Love the seasonal updates. Keep up the great work!” Eunice
“Easy to use, fantastic with local ingredients. You can add NZ local products to your shopping list!” Richard