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AEP Launches Redesigned Operating Company Websites

by on March 17, 2021
The new sites' design and voice reflect AEP's repositioned brand.

On March 2, AEP's seven operating companies launched newly redesigned websites for customers.

Visitors often look to these sites with diverse needs in mind. Keeping those needs top of mind and providing visitors with quality digital experiences are key priorities for AEP.

The new sites provide visitors with a clean and modernized experience. Completed by in-house resources, three guiding principles drove the project:

  • Make it easy
  • Make it relevant
  • Make it findable

“We always place an emphasis on understanding user goals and behavior,” said Jared Utley, Internet Strategy manager. “This includes several rounds of user research, behavioral analytics, and usability testing. Rigor in those areas helps us confirm that our decisions are based on how people visiting the sites really perceive and behave.”

Visitors can expect an engaging experience and a heightened focus on storytelling.

Operating Company and AEP communicators will have enhanced access to the sites, streamlining the content publishing process to allow for timelier storytelling.

“Our websites are an important part of how we tell AEP’s story and build relationships with our customers and other stakeholders. We want to help customers easily complete the key tasks they need to do on the sites, such as paying their bill or reporting an outage,” Utley said.

“At the same time, we can enhance AEP’s reputation by highlighting our involvement in our communities, our transition to cleaner energy, the benefits of our products and services, or other topics that are important for our customers.”

The new design and voice reflect AEP’s brand, which has been repositioned since the previous redesign of the sites in 2015.

Several stakeholders worked alongside the project team to bring the redesign to fruition.

“We worked with the team for more than a year on the redesign, and an important part of that work was identifying who needs to be responsible for each piece of information on the site,” said Jeri Matheney, director of communications, Appalachian Power. “Armed with that, we’re setting up regular page reviews to keep the whole site fresh, clean and up to date.”

Keenan Sanders, who was key to the project’s completion, also shared his thoughts on the importance of collaboration.

"This work takes a tremendous amount of partnership with various teams across the operating companies and centrally, including Communications, Marketing, Customer Services and Information Technology," said Sanders, digital communications consultant principal. "This collaboration is key to providing value to our business and our audiences."

Historically, the J.D. Power Utility Digital Experience Study has served as an indicator of user value and satisfaction. In previous years, AEP has scored well. Utley believes the redesign work will lead to more positive digital experiences for users.

"Putting the audience first ultimately leads to the most effective product in terms of ease, satisfaction and engagement. As a result, we expect an increase in scores in those areas over time."

 

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