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New, improved Zopa: Now washes whiter!

As you may know, we’ve been working away on a new look and feel for the Zopa website – and we thought it was about time we invited you in to give your views on where we’re ending up.

Below are a couple of mock ups of what the Zopa homepage and Lending homepage might look like – have a click through to see the full size images.

Zopa home page

Lending home page

We’d love your comments, but hopefully you might find it interesting to read a little about where these designs have come from first.

Although we love the existing Zopa site, there are a lot of problems with it. We’ve found the graphical language and layout very constraining – for example the silhouettes are hard to bring to life. They’re supposed to represent our members, and the human side of Zopa, but they don’t do it very well – which means we have to use lots of copy to convey the humanity and warmth of Zopa. And no one reads copy online 🙂

Also, we only really have a way to represent data in a tabular format – and for many people that is hard to interpret – we need a way to show lots of data in a graphical format.

Another problem, familar to many weary lenders in particular, is that the site has had more and more crammed into it as we’ve added functionality over the last year or so – and it’s creaking at the seems. We’re simultaneously looking at making a lot of the site simpler and more useful – but it’s hard to do that inside the current, sprawling, design. (There’s a post coming on this soon!)

Finally, we wanted to remove the barrier between the active (transactional) pages, and the non active (brochureware) pages…and to make it easier for non members to see ‘inside’ Zopa.

So, when we sat down to come up with something better, we had a series of requirements. The new site would have to be:

  • Open and transparent – allow anyone who visited Zopa to immidiately understand what was going on and what Zopa was about

  • Simple

  • More engaging and human, and something that showed our members better than the silouettes we’ve been using to date

  • Expandable – it would have to work in the UK and the US, and allow for future expansion of the Zopa proposition

So what are the main changes we’re making?

Well, most obviously there’s a new look and feel to the site – hopefully it feels a bit more modern and grown up, and also makes it more obvious what we’re about – money and people. We’re introducing new colours to be able to distinguish different areas of the site: a purple for the (new) community area (blog, discussion board etc.) and blue for the signed in transactional area (We’re told blue is a credible financial services colour… 🙂 )

The space at the top will be an interactive area where it will be possible to see what’s going on in the markets directly from the homepage – without joining or logging in – breaking down the barriers and letting visitors ‘play’ with Zopa before they join up.

We also have a new system for visualising our members – the little characters at the top of the home page are avatars that represent each and every one of our members, and will evolve to allow us to show specific groups and communities within Zopa.

Overall, we hope the new layout will be simpler to navigate, have less copy, fewer routes for people to travel down and generally be a worthy sucessor to the design that has seen us through our first 15 months.

What do you think?

EDIT: You can also join in the discussion over on the, very well named, Zopa discussion boards. Ta.