Alama is a quantum energy healing technique created in Chile in 2010 which claim that a harmonic connection between soul, mind and spirit can reach healthiness, happiness and any desired outcome. It offers spiritual therapy and workshops to learn the technique.
In 2015, my partner Karen and I were running Saurio, a small creative agency. Alama came to us looking to expand its technique nationwide by redesigning its website.
At that time, Alama was trying to make a name for itself in the local spiritual business but was very difficult to highlight among competitors. We had a series of assumptions mostly related to visual communication but that couldn’t be enough to increase its competitive edge and set it apart. Focusing on the website we state the problem: How might we improve the relationship between Alama and customers by using its website?
Internal Research We took advantage of Alama’s different workshop and its audience to ran different types of internal research. A group was interviewed while others participated in a small activity to help us understand them better and know what they value from Alama. We also made a bit of ethnographic research actively participating in a workshop as well as taking some therapy.
The collected data reflected audience values the received information, considering Alama as a reliable source of spiritual knowledge. To the question “What’s Alama about?” it was common the answer “hard to say, you have to experience it”.
External Research In Chile you can easily find fairs of any topic. We went to a spiritual one and surveyed the audience to understand their preferences. We also interviewed expositors to know how similar businesses communicate with their people.
From this process we learned potential audience tend to be wide open to new spiritual techniques and is keen to learn more when Alama's description is given. They consider the spiritual community communication is not as smooth as it could be.
Similar businesses expressed they usually communicate with their audience by email or Facebook and their websites are mainly informative.
Conclusion & Ideation
People who already knew the technique considered it valuable but couldn't specifically explain what is about while the potential audience seemed to be open to know more. The website with clear and simple information is a real opportunity but not enough.
The information collected confirmed our assumption that if we wanted to boost Alama through a website, it should be more than an informative platform to highlight among competitors. In response to this challenge, we proposed to improve Alama-audience relationship through a clear and well-organized website with original self-penned material and a workshop booking system as a special feature.
Defining the user
The target audience is wide. To create users profile we made an affinity map with main characteristics of Alama's audience and transform the result into 4 personas like this:
After define the user, we took all the information: workshops content, therapy definitions, mostly common concepts… everything! And we re-organized it to help the user to easy understand Alama. We stablished our 5W1H:
- Who is Alama?
- What does Alama offer?
- Where to find Alama's workshops?
- When are the workshops happening?
- Why should the audience participate in the workshops?
- and How can the audience easily have access to Alama’s services?
These questions formed the basis for creating the website, where the audience will be able to easily navigate through Alama’s world and will have the chance to quickly book their attendance to the upcoming workshops.
Wireframe & Prototype
The information architecture was made in compound with Alama's team. We used an online concept map tool to work remotely which helped us to point any ideas, anytime, anywhere.
At the same time, we were creating a new graphic identity, making sure to look different (and better) than competitors through a professional appearance embracing the relevant concepts in a contemporary way, avoiding the spiritual clichés. We defined corporate colours, created imagotype, stationeries and everything related to visual communication which was very interesting but I'm not going to deepen on it on right now, I would like to address it in a special case study in the future.
The home page was strategically designed for telling in brief what’s Alama about. We use the hero/context zone to tell the services through a slider and a few words underneath with a short definition. Scrolling down the audience can find the next workshops dates, testimonials, therapists bio and blog section.
The Booking Challenge
In 2015, in Chile, the only way to have a legal and secure online payment system was connecting the business bank account to Transbank but Alama was small enough to lack of the minimum requirements to have it. To solve this, we implement a custom-made booking system
We conducted usability testing sessions with different users. We needed to make it simple enough to be understandable for people of different ages. After polishing the booking flow and once the solution was defined, we launched the final version.
1) Before this project, Alama had around 1.500 effective contacts on its database. After a year, Alama increased this number to 5.000 active users (Social Media followers, database and web visitors).
2) Before this project, Alama offered one workshop a month, 2 years later this number increase to 8 a month plus they started to give weekly and annual programs, being fully booked most of the time.
Below are some relevant screenshots from the final result.
Homepage full view
Workshop page full view