Drupal7UX – How does Drupal talk? (on brand, personality and tone of voice)

So, there we were, just starting to work through the workflow for Drupal – we got as far as the login screen when we thought ‘let’s write something nice on this screen’, and, pen poised… we were stumped.

We wanted to write something friendly like Moo would. Or Innocent drinks. We wanted to make it visually interesting like Vimeo do. Or Picnik. But… is that Drupal?

We realised we have no idea what Drupal’s personality is. And it would make our lives much easier, and help make a much better User Experience, if we can work out what it is.

Isn’t this completely touchy-feely and a waste of time?

Well no. One way or another, words will go on screens and a personality will emerge. Or, worse still, a few personalities, or a few dozen personalities. Much better that we spend a little time and give a little thought and see what we can come up with.

So, here’s where you come in:

The Personality Exercise:

Take a minute to v quickly answer the following five questions. Go with your gut reaction, don’t over think it. Try not to read everyone elses’ responses first. Don’t worry about being silly! (This is a kind of silly exercise after all, albeit useful)

  • If Drupal was an animal, what would it be?
  • If Drupal was a celebrity, who would it be?
  • If Drupal was a car, what would it be?
  • If Drupal was a profession/career what would it be?

So your answers might look something like this:

Drupal would be a squirrel/Paris Hilton/SS Commodore Ute/Teacher*

Get to it – what do you reckon?

*the opinions expressed above are not those of the author. Except for the SS Commodore one.

Tone of voice matters (show some respect)

I had to share with you this particularly appalling piece of email marketing that hit my inbox the other day. The back story is that somehow I had come across a £25 voucher to use at VirginWines – I went and had a look at the site to see if it was something I was interested in – after all, £25 worth of wine for free is usually something I was interested in. Before I realised that I would have to spend well in excess of my £25 voucher to be able to buy any wine on this site, I registered to ‘redeem my voucher’ and gave them my email address.

Several weeks later, this arrives:

Dear Leisa

I am not a sensitive person by nature, but I have to say that I am feeling a little hurt. We’ve invited you into our Club, but you’ve clearly decided not to.

So, as a one-off attempt at sheer bribery, I‘m offering you your first, trial Club case HALF PRICE at just £47.88 (that‘s a ridiculously low £3.99 a bottle!). Plus, two FREE gifts, worth £30. That‘s an overall saving of nearly £80.

Sound good? Then click here to claim your HALF PRICE case and FREE GIFTS.

But you‘re probably not ready to join yet. You‘re probably thinking…

I can buy the wines anywhere.

Well you can‘t actually. The boutique wines we reserve for our Club Members never appear in the supermarket. And they are always offered to members at a lower price than non-members get them for.

It‘s just like one of those ghastly book clubs.

Er…sorry, not correct on this one either. Quite simply, you have no obligation to take any wine you don‘t want. You don‘t even have to pay us for any wines that don‘t blow your socks right off.

I‘m not the joining type.

If we explained that the reason we have a Club in the first place is because 40,000 people can buy better than 1, perhaps you‘d change your mind? If you join us, 40,001 people will buy better than 40,000.

Or maybe you‘ve just not got around to it. Which is fine. People who buy wine by the case tend to be busy.

So what would be a good reason?

Here‘s one good reason to test us out right now. We‘re keen to recruit new Members. So, for one last time I‘m offering you your first, trial Club case HALF PRICE at just £47.88

Take our HALF PRICE case NOW, and you‘ll receive a complimentary pair of beautiful Dartington Wine Glasses, completely FREE. Plus, a FREE professional lever corkscrew, worth £20.

Still not sure?

What is the worst thing that can happen? If you don‘t like the wines, I promise to refund you instantly, without any fuss whatsoever. If you agree that these wines are a big step better than you can get in the supermarket, you can look forward to a lifetime of feeling superior to non-members.

So why don‘t you join us now and find out what it‘s all about for yourself? Not next week, but right now.


Rowan Gormley
Founder, Virgin Wines

0870 050 0305

The insight that the tone taken in this email gives me to this brand is profound, and frankly, I don’t want anything to do with a company who has this kind of attitude in their customer communications.

We’ve spoken before about positive ways to handle ‘abandonment’ – well, here is the flipside, a combination of guilt-tripping (‘I am not a sensitive person by nature, but I have to say that I am feeling a little hurt. We’ve invited you into our Club, but you’ve clearly decided not to’), cynicism (‘So, as a one-off attempt at sheer bribery…’) and smart talk (‘Er…sorry, not correct on this one either…’). Yes, consumers today are media literate and this level of ‘openness’ could potentially work well, but be nice about it. I’m supposed to enjoy buying wine, with this email VirginWine have put me right off my drink!

Take care with your tone – and of course, this applies to any kind of copy that you’re writing. And know that only *very* few brands can be anything but nice to their customer.

Nike + iPod (almost enough to make me want to run)

Nike + iPod

Every now and then, companies do really smart stuff. Apple are pretty well known for doing smart stuff, and Nike have also done lots of smart (or at least, expensive!) stuff online. And now, hoorah, they’re doing smart stuff together. I feel so proud and happy!

Nike and Apple® today announced a partnership bringing the worlds of sports and music together like never before with the launch of innovative Nike+iPod products. The first product developed through this partnership is the Nike+iPod Sport Kit, a wireless system that allows Nike+ footwear to talk with your iPod® nano to connect you to the ultimate personal running and workout experience. (Apple press release)

Why so? Because the user needs are so obviously at the centre of this product design. Clearly the product designers have thought about what they can do to support the goals that runners have, and they’ve designed a product that supports these goals.

Or, in Apple’s words, they’ve been working with Nike and:

creating meaningful consumer product experiences through design and innovation

Kevin Lim has a nice writeup on why this is more than an expensive pedometer.

If I were to start running, then the features that Kevin points out would be exactly the kinds of gimmicks that I’d quickly become addicted to. I’d love a soothing voice telling me how far I’d run and how far I had to go. Almost like a personal trainer but less annoying. And the breath I save from having no one to moan to will be better spent on helping me run further.

Feeling tired but not quite at the end of your run? Then get some particularly pumpy music and 3-5 minutes of running will magically be behind you before you know it. I *know* this works, because if I get a run of pumpy songs on my walk to work I get there five minutes earlier!

The only thing I’m not sure about is the community… but that’s just because my stats would be so embarrassing! All you fit people out there, you know you’ll love it. Just like those biking people constantly comparing how far and how fast….

Unfortunately, Nike doesn’t seem to realise that there is more to ‘global’ than the US… you get that. I suppose we won’t be able to buy the shoes in Sydney until sometime next year anyway… (and while I’m moaning… I don’t get why chicks can’t buy the black shoes… what’s with that?!)

I’m not sure how many shoes Nike will sell out of it … I reckon it’s just a matter of time before you can buy the sensor separately and put them into whatever shoe you want (at least, whatever Nike shoe you want… or perhaps some new running accessory we didn’t know we needed).

Still. I like it. It’s a partnership and a promotion that will make sense and add value to a lot of people’s lives. (At least, until the sensors start breaking and Apple won’t replace them!)
It’s certainly enough to make me happy to have a Nano, and likely to keep an eye out for the Nike shoes. Who knows… maybe even enough to make me run!

What do you think? Feeling motivated?

Image credit: Pellseer2 @ Flickr