User Experiences of a Company from Varied Contexts

5 Jun 2009 - 4:02pm
1184 reads
Murray Thompson

Does anyone know of, or have experience with, resources or studies
related to how people engage with a parent company and a wide variety
of related brands/entities? I'm looking for information presented
from a user experience perspective, not a branding and marketing

Some of the things I'm looking for are different examples of:
* How people have made distinctions or viewed relationships between a
parent company and its children
* How varied associations people have with different areas of a
company have been addressed in navigation and page elements among a
company's web properties
* How end-user research has been used to promote consistent contexts
between online and offline service delivery

Thanks for any pointers you can provide,


Some background:
Working for a local government, I find some people strongly associate
information from "The City". Others associate the same information
strongly with "Facility X" or "Department Y", sometimes entirely
independent of the city context.

Having a consistent approach across all areas may help those coming
from "The City" perspective, but not be as optimized for people
coming from a more specific context. On the other side, focusing on
individual, sometimes widely-varied business perspectives could help
those coming to each area directly do better, but lose those coming
from a wider context. ("Widely varied" in this case doesn't mean
like the differences between buying books and buying electronics, but
more like the differences between knowing about transportation delays,
finding social services, keeping up with changes to legislation,
finding swimming times, ...and so on)

There is a balance in there somewhere. Branding efforts will have an
influence on what's promoted, but I feel it's likely best to align
that with what people already associate with, instead of trying to
force an artificial view. In the end, people are doing the same
tasks, but how they find information, who they look to for support,
and how they navigate to other areas is affected by where they are
coming from.

We need to do more work to learn directly from people we interact
with. But knowing how others have struck a balance to address the
needs of people coming from widely-varied contexts, even if different
from our situation, would also be useful as we move ahead.

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