This is the (very belated) second installment in the retrospective project.
Scottish Power wanted, for the first time, to offer the sale of domestic appliances on their site. Couple this with the ability to switch energy suppliers and view and pay your account online, it was a pretty powerful proposition.
Some of the initial design concept work was done while I was still working on jamjar.com but I had the opportunity to design and artwork the flash movie on the home page and some of the product illustrations throughout the site.
The concept was the ‘Scottish Powered Community’. By creating a small village on the home page consisting of residential, commercial and small business premises it created both a means of navigation and communicating who the site was for. Some, for the time, creative Flash development tied it in to the user’s PC clock allowing the sun to set on the village and it become dark – complete with street lighting, drawn curtains in the bungalow and lights going out in the office block.
The illustrative style of the village was carried through to product illustrations on the shop pages which really lent the site a personality. The initial intention was to create interactive rooms within the house to both shop for appliances and fact-find about energy usage. Looking back at the kitchen illustration for the first time in 6+ years, it looks beautifully naive. Unfortunately, however, the budgets didn’t stretch to such involved interaction design and flash development. Shame.
The copywriter on the site was ex-Saatchi. A good thing you might think. But the fact he had spent his entire career up to that point writing tag lines and end lines he struggled when it came to writing compelling passages of copy to sell products and services. Hence such shockingly bad lines as “Welcome to our ohm page”, “We’ve got watt you want” and “Come windows shopping”. I kid you not!
The site had a very short shelf life. Scottish Power repositioned their business in 2001 which involved the closure of all their retail shops and, as such, the e-commerce part of the site. Couple this with some poor maintenance and brand guardianship by the client and the polished, slick look of the site started to wane, looking a shadow of its former self within 12 months and becoming virtually unrecognisable by the end of 2001.
Here’s what it looked like at launch though…
Energy landing page
Product sub category browse page
Village designs – day and night
Domestic appliance illustrations
Kitchen illustration – first draft