SPS EZpay, aka “EZpay,” is a payment technology solution for schools and parents of students. EZpay integrates into school meal, activities, and fee systems allowing parents/caretakers to pay for their students’ food and interests costs online instead of sending cash or a check with their kid to school. For schools, EZpay’s integration into their way of doing business helps schools stay efficient in how they manage themselves. It’s a technology that has a very appealing story to tell.
The creation of the EZpay logo was a genuine treat. When Brand Shepherd creates a new brand identity from scratch we like to give a variety of different ideas, and then variations of each idea we present. Sometimes toward the end of the creation process we have an idea or two we come up with that has nothing to do with the original direction – it’s a take on the general direction that is worth looking at in a “what if…” perspective. Turns out those are logo gold at times! EZpay stunned us when they chose a logo option (above) that was the most fun for us to create because it didn’t scream “this logo belongs in a school.” The EZpay staff took a chance on it, and it has really paid off. All their competitors look like they looked to each other for inspiration, saying “me too!” along the way. Not EZpay. This is a brand identity that is unique to their industry, and it speaks to what EZpay does as a service – they are like no other.
User Interface (UI) Redesign
After years of working with EZpay on creating the work mentioned below (print/digital marketing, etc.), we were called on to help redesign the user interface (UI) for EZpay. When the UI is redesigned, the user experience (UX) is also redesigned because it is reimagined. The processes change, but the destination remains the same, and this can be a jarring experience for users. Everyone can think of a website or app or something they were very comfortable using for a long time, then the maker of that thing redesigned it poorly, and the experience went down the tube. We did not want to be the creators of a bad experience, so we laid out a thorough process for the redesign, ran every step of it by EZpay’s core team, including their in-house developers, and in the end we created something special.
A successful redesign should be one that turns out to be better than the original. The redesign should give an experience where the user thinks, This is much better! We believe this is what we created for EZpay. Take a look for yourself below at some of the BEFORE screens, and then look at all of the AFTER screens. The end result is simple, intuitive, and elevates the EZpay brand in every important way.
Note about BEFORE: As you can see, an EZpay user had a lot of screens to work through in the original UI. We can’t complain too much about these screens because they are what helped EZpay succeed to the point that a new UI was needed. Still, we knew the user experience could be a lot better through simple, smart design.
Notes about AFTER: By using smart design, and presenting information intuitively, most of the user experience is spent on 1 screen where the parent/guardian can get all food and interests/activities fees added to a cart, then the only thing left to do is go through a streamlined checkout process. Simple, easy…EZpay.
After a logo was created we set out to create a branded home for the new identity. Instead of creating a generic ad or brochure cover we always try to design for something real, and we had our opportunity with a simple tri-fold brochure. We have since adapted the EZpay branding and message to a folder as well.
The printed collateral gave us reusable digital assets that we could then turn into advertising. EZpay supplied the copy, we helped edit it with suggestions, and the end result is a series of display ads that are on-message and consistent with the EZpay brand.
Email Marketing Design
Taking the message from display advertising, and adding in links to EZpay’s web site, we worked with Constant Contact to create a series of email marketing templates that EZpay can use over and over just by switching out simple text and a few photos.
We would not have heard of EZpay had it not been for the kind folks at Global Cloud, whom referred us. Using the branding assets we created for print work, advertising and email, Global Cloud created a website on their proprietary CMS platform that is not just consistent with the rest of the branding, but is also easily updated thanks to their user-friendly content management system.
I have found Brand Shepherd to always bring some fresh ideas to our creative processes, yet do so in a way that keeps sight of ROI. I would highly recommend them to any one looking for input/assistance in the design and/or marketing collateral areas.”
David Geers, Managing Director, EZpay™