What do the words "needle", "injection" and "syringe" conjure up for you? For the lucky few of us it is a slight aversion. But, for many it can range from a dull nauseating squeamishness, to fear and panic. Needless to say, our relationship with needles is complicated, even for many of the people that work with them on a regular basis on either side of the pointy end. Telling an engaging story about "syringes" is tricky. It just isn’t a story that most folks will sit still for, you know?
Becton, Dickinson and Company, known simply as BD, began as a business partnership formed in 1897. Over the decades BD has evolved and grown as a company, and is now a medical technology company that manufactures and sells a wide range of medical supplies, devices, laboratory equipment and diagnostic products. BD is a Fortune 500 company that employs nearly 30,000 people in over 50 countries. As a truly modern company, BD is guided by the safety and quality of their products, and also their social and environmental impact.
The syringe is where our client started out. It is a history that goes back for generations. In fact, the first dose of insulin administered to a diabetic patient was done so with a BD syringe, and today approximately 1- in-4 syringes used around the world, each day, is made by BD. For most of us the notion of syringe technology seems relatively unchanged over the years. However the incremental changes and enhancements to "getting a jab" have been quite amazing when looked at in the right light, we just have to get people to look.
Syringes in the world that are made by BD
BD partnered with us to build a website that would showcase their new line of syringes: the BD Emerald. The website was to be part of a global launch and naturally needed to tie in seamlessly with BD’s existing and upcoming print materials. At the same time, BD wanted the site to really stand out from their other product lines, both creatively and technically, to take the opportunity to tell a larger story highlighting:
The emerging creative challenge was to design a website that was "on brand" to fit seamlessly into a global marketing plan while also creating a distinctly unique user experience that stood out from the rest of the corporate collateral. For anyone else this "standing-out- while- fitting- in" challenge may have proven difficult, but we knew it was just another opportunity to show off our talents. Oh! And by the way, did we mention it was about syringes?
We encountered the first major challenge in the initial concept development stage. The client wanted the website to be compatible with older browsers while providing a completely unique and interactive user experience. Finding a technical solution that supported our creative vision took several rounds of refinement, and a lot of creative problem solving on our part. Having the most impact possible in any given environment meant that we had to make various seamlessly automatic fallback versions for older browsers.
Our technical team developed multiple websites, instead of just one, the best version of the design that was suitable for each individual visitor would appear on their screen. This requirement took the project to its budgetary limit, the tradeoff was having to decide to drop making a mobile compatible version of the site as BD had initially hoped. The decision for this was based on a careful consideration of the audience and where they would be while accessing the website. It is not an easy decision to make.
The BD Emerald website is actually one of our favourite sites. While it is not the most "Whiz-bang Awesome" thing that we have ever done, it’s strength is that it showcases a beautiful and effective result under some difficult restrictions. It uses human interest as a way to access information and creating a closer relationship with the company and its values so as to get the opportunity to speak about key features of the product. Bearing in mind that this is a product category that hardly anyone really likes to think about in the first place.
We worked closely with the client, to pass ideas back and forth, making sure that we were on track all the way. The website is a tight intersection of creative story, information design, interactivity and flawless technical execution, brought together to meet the client’s expectations, brand requirements, budget and timeline. And, we think that syringes are actually kind of cool now.
Key design features of the website were: