Say hi to Emilia, Krista and Harri!
“Hi, Emilia, Krista and Harri!” In this part of the series, we dive deep into the fascinating and undeniably relevant topics of service design, content, and analytics. These three areas are the absolute key to great digital services. So listen up, as the pros tell you how things are done!
Spoiler alert: You will also learn about their secret ambitions.
HOW DID YOU END UP HERE AND WHAT ARE YOUR MAIN FOCUS AREAS AT EVERMADE?
I joined Evermade in October 2017. The guys at Evermade just had a cool vibe going on, and they were doing pretty awesome things. But I felt something was missing – something I could bring with me. My title is Content Designer, and the work includes many things, from service design to content strategy. I’m on a mission to improve and make people’s lives easier through designing better digital services for the users.
3 BIGGEST MISTAKES RELATED TO DIGITAL SERVICE DESIGN?
There’s only one: the service not being designed for the users. This issue covers everything else. How are the users able to find information, is it well and clearly structured, and so on. Would they actually use the service? How? You can either create a service your users will love, or you can ruin the experience with bad content and decisions that don’t serve the actual users.
WHAT SHOULD PEOPLE FOCUS ON WHEN DESIGNING DIGITAL SERVICES?
Besides putting the users first… The best results are always born from a collaboration of a team with various areas of expertise. That’s also why we have so many different skill sets at Evermade, and why I enjoy working here. It’s also really important to focus on understanding the real problem or challenge that comes from, yes, the users. Love the problem, not the solution. Ask for help and think about the challenge from different perspectives.
WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES AND BEST THINGS ABOUT YOUR WORK?
There simply isn’t time to do all the things I want to. I get excited easily and should learn to keep an arm’s length to some of the things I’ve already gotten involved in. I’m the first person in this role so I get a lot of freedom. Creating something new is the most rewarding part of my job. And meeting talented people and getting to work with them. And solving challenges.
WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO START A DAY?
WHAT DO YOU WISH YOU KNEW MORE ABOUT?
All that tech stuff. Very unrealistic… That’s probably why.
IF YOU WERE GIVEN €1 MILLION, WHAT WOULD YOU BUY FIRST?
A surf van.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE PLACES IN THE WORLD?
In winter, the mountains for example in Norway. In summer, a sweet beach with a small lagoon and the perfect breeze.
IF YOU DIDN’T NEED TO SLEEP, WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH THE EXTRA TIME?
More work of course… I’d run marathons and go kitesurfing and backcountry snowboarding more often.
HOW DID YOU END UP HERE AND WHAT ARE YOUR MAIN FOCUS AREAS AT EVERMADE?
Hi! I’ve worked here as a copywriter since the beginning of 2018. Before joining the team I did part-time and freelance content work, mainly writing blog posts and website content. That’s part of what I do here, too. Here content is just more based on planning and design. I also take part in Evermade’s own content projects and marketing communications.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE CONTENT AS YOUR CREATIVE TOOL?
I’ve studied literature and communications. Fiction/prose is my thing and I have always played with the thought of becoming an author. But you gotta do real work, too. Writing is the thing I do best, and over the years I’ve adopted the identity of a writer. The fact that I’m doing these things in a digital agency is pure coincidence. What interests me the most is how many ways there are for a company to convey their message – and how many to blow it. I want to do things right, without throwing around meaningless buzzwords.
EXPLAIN THE MEANING OF CONTENT. WHAT DOES CONTENT DO AT ITS BEST?
Content is 50% of a website. It matters because however fantastic your digital service is, if you don’t guide people to what they’re looking for, the service won’t provide much value to them nor to you. Also, a big part of the message can come through visuals, but if you don’t pay attention to what is written, the end result won’t be convincing. The bottom line is: never create a service without thinking about the content.
It’s essential to first figure out what you want to say. Often companies just want to get a fresh strike on a new target, but you can’t do it without sharpening the arrowhead first. At its best, content helps produce a pleasant experience and buying environment, as well as makes users want to spend time with the service.
WHAT DO YOU ESPECIALLY NEED TO CONSIDER WHEN CREATING WEB CONTENT?
Web content requires simplicity above all. The number one job of a digital service is to make people’s lives easier, which calls for content that is quick and easy to read and understand. This doesn’t mean it should be dull. If you can hook the users and surprise them with a little twist here and there, job well done! Overall, the content absolutely needs to serve the user first – not the people in your own bubble. It’s not easy. You need to be able to let go of many things that are close to your heart.
WHAT ARE THE MAJOR PITFALLS TO AVOID WHEN CREATING COPY?
Forgetting about the users. Not seeing the forest from the trees (or vice versa). Ignoring the amount of work that great content requires.
WHEN ARE YOU MOST CREATIVE?
When I’ve been lazy for long enough. Creativity requires space.
NAME SOME OF THE LITERATURE THAT HAS HAD THE BIGGEST IMPACT ON YOU
Finnish literature. There’s something about the language that just goes straight to the bones. Eeva-Liisa Manner’s work. She’s the greatest Finnish modernist. The best, most intelligent and versatile.
DO YOU HAVE A WORD OR PHRASE YOU REALLY LIKE?
“Van voe.” An expression from Kainuu (North-Eastern Finland) that you can use for any purpose. It’s raining. –Oh, van voe. There’s ice cream in the freezer. –Van voe!
WHAT’S YOUR STORY WITH EVERMADE?
In a way my story with Evermade started already in elementary school, where I was friends with Mikke (Mikael Toivio). We were both into all things computers. One day out of curiosity I patched together my first website and called Mikke if he wanted to come over and try out building websites, after which we built several hobby related websites together in the following years. At some point we parted ways, but reconnected during my studies, when Mikke asked for help with some code in an early Evermade project. I stayed for a while as a part-time developer, then moved on to finish my studies and to work on my own business.
About a year ago I returned to the role of Growth Hacker, to bring in the analytics and business design thinking that was missing, and which I had learned from my years of creating digital businesses. My job is to optimize sites and services we create for our clients. In conjunction to this, I’ve gotten to develop many other things as well that affect the performance of websites, for example improve our content services. It all ties together.
WHY DO YOU FIND ANALYTICS INTERESTING?
I have a tech background, but after running my own business, I’ve learned to understand the big picture of what makes digital services thrive. The success depends on multiple factors, but data allows us to make smart and justifiable decisions when designing or developing a service. There lies my interest in all of this – being able to create better services that provide true value to the users and the businesses, and not just creating services for the sake of doing something new.
EXPLAIN THE IMPORTANCE OF ANALYTICS
Well, analytics is the only way to really know how a web service is performing and what kind of value it creates for the business. It’s also the best way to find out if people are finding your website, how users behave while using the service, and whether they are performing actions we want them to. With analytics, you can keep an eye out for problems, which allows improving the performance of the service, as well as the experience for the users.
WHAT ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT WEBSITE METRICS TO MONITOR?
It always depends on the site, who, and what it is for. Each business or organization should find their own north star metric – the most important figure that needs to grow continuously. Many people understand the basics of analytics, but fall in the trap of looking at so-called vanity metrics, and base their decisions on a gut feeling. Playing by the metrics that matter brings real value to the picture. These are usually linked to a conversion – it makes drawing conclusions simpler.
WHAT METRICS OF YOUR LIFE WOULD YOU HAVE ON YOUR ANALYTICS DASHBOARD?
That’s broad… I already have quite a lot of activity metrics and so on, as I’m currently training to do a half-ironman distance triathlon in August, so I think those would be up there. And I do find that seeing progress keeps me motivated, so keeping track of personal development and performance on every level would be optimal.
BEST THINGS ABOUT WORKING AT EVERMADE?
Workmates, clients, different and challenging projects.
WHAT IS YOUR SPECIAL INTEREST?
Maps. Their ability to present so much information in graphical format fascinates me. And I like discovering new places.
WHAT KIND OF PEOPLE INSPIRE YOU?
Even though they are a bit of clichés in this industry, I do admire the visionaries and people who have achieved a great deal, so for example your usual Steves and Elons.