Company: Sony Europe Ltd.
Entry submitted by: Nico Henderijckx (tweety2b) European Forum & Community Manager
Community: Sony Community (http://community.sony.co.uk)
Lithy category: Best Community Design
Brief Company Info:
Sony is one of the world’s leading companies in consumer electronics and entertainment offering state-of-the-art and innovative products, movies, music and much more. With our products and services we provide an incredible entertainment experience for our customers.
In June 2013, we successfully migrated our 12 year-old existing European Sony Electronics forum to Lithium, which is active in 9 languages in 34 different countries.
When we decided to pursue migration to Lithium, our main goal was to create a community where people do not only talk about their technical problems, but also engage with the rest of the community in their passions by reviewing user-generated content, company generated blogs as well as tutorials and workshops to help them get more out of their products and our services.
We aspired to provide a platform where our huge fan base of photo enthusiasts could share their content in galleries participating in monthly photo competitions. In doing so, we could help them increase their photography skills by providing workshops and tutorials as well as our excellent master classes moderated by Sony World Photography Awards winners.
We wanted to keep the community simple and clear, while being easy to navigate. In this context, we radically reduced the number of different boards, and provided an overview on our homepage to help users navigate.
Lithium has provided a robust platform with flexibility to adapt and measure our strategic goals via different content types, developer tools and metrics. Thanks to this flexibility, we were able to create a compelling photo gallery, full integration with other Sony websites and a simple design that follows Sony brand DNA.
After the initial launch of our community with Lithium, we continuously added new functionalities to the platform based on the feedback we received from our volunteer super users. In this context, we initiated a complete redesign of the community to have a cleaner & well-designed look.
The homepage serves as a vitrine to give an initial idea on what type of content can be found. The new design allows visitors to see the whole community structure directly from the homepage in the cleanest way, so that users can directly access their areas of interest.
New homepage design:
This also allowed us to remove “sub-category” pages to reduce the number of steps to access the target destination. Photo gallery preview brings photo gallery submissions based on most recent, while the recent posts module is adapted to bring topics uniquely and display the most basic information in a neat design.
We have simplified the navigation, pages and community structure, hence helping users to find their topics of interest much faster. The big and present search bar helps users to find related content as easy as on Google. By removing the right hand elements and moving them to the bottom of the page we focus clearly on the main message of the page such as banners, galleries and boards.
New navigation structure on homepage:
We re-purposed the whole contest module and use it as a photo/ wallpaper gallery. We really forced the limits of the module to have the most compelling look while following brand DNA. The same module is also used to run monthly Sony World Photography Award competitions which add around 2000-4000 photo submissions per month from users in 15 countries. The galleries incorporate a slideshow function, display the EXIF image information and let users access the original image file. Images can easily manage on user profile pages where album functionality has been integrated.
Lithium platform has been seamlessly integrated into our web presence and has been skinned accordingly to match our global look and feel to offer our customers the best social experience. Most elements have been simplified to provide an excellent customer journey without hassle. In addition big graphics, modern large fonts as well as the light layout give a fresh and innovative look and feel – even if you watch our community on a smartphone or tablet. Thanks to the clear design, customers can easily share their content and discuss products with each other.
The new community design is a big success!
With 7,126,596 searches per month and 6,745 posts for 1,441 new topics, the community is thriving.
Additional design elements from our community
New board design:
New thread design:
New blog design:
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