AlphaZeta Interactive 325 W Huron St., Suite 506 Chicago, IL 60654

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Building A Buzzing Community is a living, breathing forum for MRO (Maintenance Repair Operations) professionals to share expertise, ideas and solutions. AlphaZeta directed the visual and functional relaunch of to attract, support and retain an active professional community.

Our primary focus was creating a social experience that validates attention, interest and participation—supporting a stronger, more vibrant MRO community. The site had to balance solutions-oriented articles and dialog with the business goals of Grainger, who sell products utilized by the MRO audience.

We looked at the site like a beehive: a place where users congregate after collecting information and experience in the world. Pooling knowledge, MRO users gain the ability to create more informed solutions. The more active and vocal our user-base, the better the experience for all users.

To foster and support such a thriving community, users needed to feel at ease locating information, asking questions and submitting their opinion for comment. In short, users needed to believe that their personal investment would be rewarded with useful insights and an expanded professional network.

AlphaZeta conducted extensive round-tables and persona exercises to pinpoint the needs of MRO professionals seeking and contributing information. In the course of our research, we discovered an area of opportunity: the previous site offered no means to search articles or co-relate articles through keywords.

We revamped the site for quicker access to articles and easy reading. We also developed techniques to highlight Grainger products and offer direct links to the Grainger eCommerce portal for interested users.

Today, users can create profiles and set preferences to filter article content. Those with profiles can comment and advance dialog with other users. A modified primary color palette gave users a sense of familiarity while also conveying the vibrancy of the MRO community.

We've given Grainger a platform to create deeper relationships with both the professional community and their customer base. Thousands of new users have registered on the site since launch.

The redesigned interface put a wealth of MRO industry content at the user's fingertips.