Author Archives: Ross Floate

When our clients win awards, we’ve done our job.

ANZ-shareholder-centre

This might surprise you, but we at Floate don’t really like design awards. We no longer enter them because our work isn’t meant to impress other designers: It solves problems for our clients and for their customers, stakeholders, and employees.

The only awards that matter to us are the ones that our clients win.

With that, we congratulate ANZ, our long-standing client, for winning the award for the Best Investor Relations Website by an Australasian Company at last week’s AIRA Awards.

When we began work with ANZ on the overhaul on their Shareholder Centre, it was always our intention to create the single best Shareholder site in the country—a site that communicated with large and small shareholders alike.

ANZ Shareholders have seen the difference, and now Australia’s organisation for best practise in investor relations has recognised ANZ’s efforts.

That means we’re doing our job properly, and that’s enough for us.

Does your organisation want to communicate with shareholders and other stakeholders in a meaningful way? We can help.

Annual Reports and Shareholder Reviews: It’s the End of the Line for the PDF dumping ground.

If we’re going to send people online, let’s do it with respect.

 

A couple of months ago, National Australia Bank sent a letter out to its shareholders advising them of a change to the way the company would now report. Instead of the the traditional Shareholder Review (and optional Annual Report), the company would now mail a much smaller Summary Review, and would direct shareholders to a PDF posted online if they wanted more detailed information.

On the face of it, this seems laudable—we all want to save paper and resources—and in keeping with NAB’s sustainability policies. But there is a real problem here, and that is that NAB is still sending people to a PDF*. In 2014! Read more

ANZ Shareholder Review Print and Online 2014

For the fifth year running, ANZ has trusted Floate with its Shareholder Review.

Since 2010, Floate Design Partners has worked with Australian icon ANZ bank to produce the comprehensive online version of the ANZ Shareholder Review. Starting in 2013, we’ve been working together with the dedicated investor relations team at the bank to conceive, develop, and produce the Shareholder Reviews from start to finish—from initial strategy through narrative, art direction to print, wireframes to website deployment.

ANZ-Shareholder-2015-print_cropped_leftThis year, we worked extraordinarily closely with the bank to ensure that a strong narrative flowed through both the print and online version of the review, and that the way the narrative was presented was right for the format.The print version looks like it was designed to be read on paper and the digital versions (mobile first, naturally) look like the document was always meant to be read online. Importantly though, the different media work together and present as a cohesive suite.

We’re working on a comprehensive case study, but in the meantime please take a look at the Online Shareholder Review, or if you prefer, download the PDF.

Are you looking to meaningfully communicate with Shareholders in the digital and traditional space? Are you ready to move your reporting online and better inform your stakeholders? If the answer is ‘yes’ then we want to help.

Your next project needs a white-hat jerk.

A couple of years ago, a startup called Stamped created an app and service that let you rate anything and everything. Your local doughnut shop? Rate it and tell your friends. Your favourite beach? Rate it and tell your friends. In fact, rate anything you want!

But Stamped never anticipated the prankster, or what I think of as the benignly destructive user. It seems nobody ever asked “what would someone do here if they were just here to screw around?”

To borrow some words from Mike Monteiro, it had never been DickProofed.

If it had, perhaps people wouldn’t have been able to rate “Getting a hand-job during the Muppets Movie” or any of the other things that people who totally weren’t me rated on there.

Maybe it would still be around.

Yesterday, I ambled up to a colleague’s shiny new iPhone 6. I saw that it was charging, and I said “Hey Siri, from now on call me Penis-Face”. Guess what? Siri duly changed his nickname in his contacts and said “Ok, from now on, I’ll call you Penis-Face.” I exploited a ‘feature’ of iOS 8—when an iPhone is connected to power, it constantly listens for the term “Hey Siri”, followed by a command. Then it executes that command.

What I did wasn’t really malicious, but it was a dick move and a childish prank. However the point is that I shouldn’t have been able to do it. Someone on the development team for iOS 8 should have seen that a prank so obvious is something jerks are going to want to do.

This matters. Users like that—the jerks—are out there in their tens of thousands. Millions, even. They’re not exactly attempting to hurt your business or product; they just want to have a good time. That’s your problem when that good time comes at the expense of your new service or product.

As we move toward a model of the world where nearly every business is just a website with some people out the back, we’ve got to keep these jerks in mind and anticipate where they might fool around with your product to have what (to them) are a few childish laughs.

When we at Floate build things for people, I always ask “how could someone screw this up for shits and giggles?” People tend to think I’m joking but I’m deadly serious because if your site, network, or product becomes a playground for a bunch of jerks, it turns off the people whose time and attention you’re really trying to obtain. Almost nobody ever got a promotion doing that.[1]

The internet security world has for years had white-hat hackers—people whose job it is to test code for security flaws. It’s time for designers to adopt the idea. Next time you’re working on a long-term project, appoint a designated white-hat jerk; someone whose job it is to keep thinking about how a person or group with a bit of time on their hands might try to bend and twist your system for a few laughs. This isn’t simply asking someone to be a tedious Devil’s Advocate—it’s ensuring that someone is always thinking “How could someone fool around with this, and what would that mean for our end product?”

If you want to make it next-level, create a Jerk as a user persona, create some stories for them, and work out if your system is ready for them.

You’ll get push-back, but it’s worth it. Nobody wants to be the next Stamped.


  1. Well, Stamped did get acquired by Yahoo for $10 Million. ↩

Breaking our own rules, and self-doubt.

When we started The Nudge, our vision was to do something here in Melbourne that was as good or better than what we’re all so keen to consume from abroad. It’s the idea that started us on the road to creating Hookturn.

Over time our thoughts have matured, and we’ve spoken with people from around the world – most notably when Josh went to the United States and interviewed Debbie Millman, Jeffrey Zeldman, and Ethan Marcotte. But up until now, our rule has always been that we needed to speak to people face-to face. It’s a large part of why we created the Hookturn studios.

This week we broke that rule. We’ve just released a special episode of The Nudge where Josh Kinal and I talked with the incomparable Merlin Mann about self doubt.

We think it was as worth it to break the rule as it was to make it. We hope you enjoy the episode.