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A system of illustration to make accounting software fun and easier to use with Xero

2019

The challenge

Xero were looking for ways to make their product more engaging and asked us to use a design process to improve their product illustrations. They had tried before, but being a large company with a lot of employees, the project struggled to gain momentum internally.
For this reason, Xero asked Today to lead a strategic co-design process and people from across the company were engaged in the process and represented in the final product.

Impact opportunity

We had the opportunity to bring the Xero brand to life within the product. New, better illustrations will help to convey complex concepts and provide an emotional connection to what Xero stands for, and the value they aim to deliver to their customers.

The process

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Co-design

Xero is a big company, and we realised early on that they do a really good job of hiring smart and talented people. Today’s role in this project was to facilitate creative directors and designers to arrive at an answer as a group through respect and encouragement of everyone’s expertise.

Being the creative facilitator, Today was as much of a contributor as the Xero team were, making it a very collaborative creative process.

Reflection

Xero is full of talented and smart people. We developed a collaborative format for the project that allowed everyone’s creative voice to be heard, their ideas included and ultimately shaped into a consistent, beautiful and effective system of illustration that everyone had shared ownership over.

Jacob Zinman-Jeanes
Design Director at Today

Logic behind the illustration

What set this project apart was the ability to arrive at a logic behind the illustration within the product. Through co-design we asked: Why do we have an illustration here, what are we saying and how are we saying it?

Why
Let’s identify the moments in the product where it makes sense and where it doesn't. Where can we add delight to the product? Where can we add clarity to the message? Where can we reassure someone?

What
What is the right message for that moment? How are we making it about Xero being beautiful, easy to use, fun , and a bit different to what everyone else is offering?

How
We designed teams of ‘Xperts’ who bring to life the product in action. They represent the little people in the machine who build your custom invoice – they deliver outputs to you as quickly as possible.

That fun and delight is built into the system so that a message can be sent with clarity—important to have when you’re building a system of illustration to hand over to the client.

We were only able to get there because of the co-design process. We were able to deeply understand Xero the product, but also understand Xero the brand, because we spoke to so many different people across the organisation.

Outcome

We created a system of illustration that celebrates the magic behind Xero and all the experts who work hard to make it easy for the customer.

It’s about bringing the community behind small businesses to life in a tangible way.

Next

Strategic digital platform design for the all new Xero.com

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