After solidifying the branding and collateral we were finally ready to focus on our website. There were a lot of things that were working well on our old site so we didn’t need to start from scratch. But two years of tweaking, amending and altering a site definitely highlighted some issues that needed to be addressed.
Thinking Through the Organization
There are three distinct audiences we wanted to appeal to with the new site: existing and potential clients, the digital community and potential talent. This led us to organize the site into three sections that speak to each of these audiences: Work, Think and Connect.
FIG. 1 - The homepage gives visitors a small taste of what they can expect to find within the site.
We used this on the homepage as well, which you’ll notice separates the homepage into three clear sections. The top section highlights mostly work, but some other important stuff as well. For example, because our peeps section has always been the most visited section of the site, we have included a callout that highlights that. Beneath the feature is the Think section, which pulls out different content pieces from our Blog, upcoming speaking events or guides that we’re offering. And then at the very bottom of the homepage, we’re showing off some photography from the office to allow people to get to know us a little better.
So when you look at the homepage, you’re really getting a good sense of the content that lies behind it throughout the site.
Showcasing Our Work
On the old site we started out anti-case study, then quickly crammed them in as an afterthought. We also didn’t have a great way to showcase work that wasn’t visual. All strategy, consulting, media and development may not have a visual component to them, so the typical portfolio just didn’t work. (For those types of projects, and to see individual pieces of work, you can still check out our Blog and filter by work.)
We knew we wanted to present less work, but also wanted to present it better. The result is the Stories section. These really do a good job at showcasing a client and all the tools we utilized over the course of several years while working with them. It really takes us away from a typical portfolio and allows visitors to the site get a better sense of the suite of services we offer our clients.
Sharing What We’ve Learned
We’ve been pushing hard to create content over the past year. We wanted a home for our guides and also a place to highlight our speaking engagements, both new to the site. The blog has been updated with popular topics and a cleaner, more-easy-to-digest design that places an emphasis on typography, legibility and (of course) content.
There are a few nice touches on this section that make for a good experience. Notice the Related Topics tags on the right side of the article page. There is a nice animation effect going on there that visually communicates the frequency of each of the tags.
FIG. 4 - Be sure to catch the animation right after the page loads for some super-subtle jQuery animation.
We also leveraged Twitter for our commenting. We (along with many other major blogs) started experiencing a decline in comments as social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook began to rise. Websites just can’t remain the stand-alone islands that they have always been. Driving toward this, we integrated Twitter into our blog to allow the conversations that take place there to be opened up to the community and hopefully drive traffic around to our social presence. So far it has worked out pretty well.
FIG. 5 - Twitter commenting has been a good way to drive traffic to the blog.
Getting to Know Us
Our peeps photos have always been the highest-trafficked part of our site, all the way back to v1. We’ve always thought of ways to reinvent this section, and photography is always important. Kris D’amico helped us out with top-notch photos of our people, dogs and our space. We think it does a great job at capturing the vibe of the office.
And because social has taken such a stand in the digital world, we wanted to fully integrate it into our new website. So you’ll find a full social page that pulls in content from our different networks.
It’s been a long time coming, and thanks for being patient with us. I think the biggest learning from this redesign was how to listen to many different people and incorporate that feedback into a design. With so many different personalities and tastes, this had to be a collaborative effort. At the end of the day, I’ve never been more proud to work with such bright, energetic and passionate people.Share Article