Crunching Numbers: Tips for Building Calculator Tools

In late 2009/early 2010, interactive agency This Is Red built a calculator tool for eyeglass lens maker Transitions Optical. The Transitions online tool would let employers figure potential healthcare costs and productivity savings through their employee vision plans. When is it time to think about creating such a tool for your organization? “When there are complex stories to be told,” says Kristin Ronca, account supervisor at This Is Red. Here are three points to think about if you’re considering building such a tool:

• Have good numbers. In any situation where you’re using data, you want to make sure that it is useful. In the case of Transitions Optical, a number of research studies validated the numbers, says Ronca.

• Determine what you want the tool users to know. “Often companies focus on what color a button should be rather than what the objective is,” says Ronca.

• Perform a usability test. “If you have the budget to do this, it helps,” says Ronca. For Transitions, This Is Red built a prototype of the tool and had 15 targeted audience users test it.

PR News subscribers can read more about Transitions Optical's PR efforts in the the case study: "Double Vision: PR Brings Eye Health Benefits to Forefront While Touting the Benefits of Transitions Lenses."