A Redesign of Our Own Website

We've had the same website up at voreti.com for around 5 years. To say it looked dated is an understatement. It didn't reflect our best work, nor demonstrate our core beliefs, values, and overall, what we're capable of producing.

That needed to change.

Our Goals

We never start any project without a clear idea of the goals of the project—why does the project exist in the first place. For the original voreti.com, there were two goals:

  1. Generate leads for our design and development services
  2. Establish our "differentiator"—what makes us different from the competition

These goals were met when we first launched the site in 2010 with a fair amount of success, however, whilst the number of unique visitors has remained relatively constant, our conversion rate—the number of visitors that fill in our contact form—has been steadily dropping over the last year or so.

The need for a revamp was clear; iterative changes just weren't going to cut it.

With our re-design, our goals have changed slightly; reflecting how we've grown as a business and as people. Our new goals for the website are:

  1. Generate leads for our design and development services
  2. Differentiate by establishing us as experts in our field
  3. Reduce the amount of input required in converting and on-boarding new customers

The first goal hasn't change. The primary purpose of our website is to generate leads. Our next goals has been tweaked slightly. Rather than trying to sell our differentiator through words, we instead want to show it through action and evidence.

Finally, we've added a new goal. We both do this part-time, and have “day jobs” that we do on top. As such Voreti is run in our evenings, weekends, and annual leave, this means we want to make sure the time we spend is put to its best use. A great deal of that time is spent converting leads from people who fill in our form into customers. If we can automate more of this, that will allow us to allocate more of our time to actually helping customers solve their problems, and not just turning them in to customers.

The Brief

With these three goals in mind, I created four constraints to help us meet them:

  1. Good Design Fundamentals
  2. Outstanding User Experience
  3. On-boarding Automation
  4. Addition of a Blog

We need to expand on these things to define what they actually mean for the end product.

Good Design Fundamentals

A solid use of basic design principles will help us demonstrate our expertise in the field, but also make the website a joy for our visitors to use.

The most fundamental elements of graphic design have been around for a long time—hundreds of years—and are closely related to mathematics and nature, including colour and typography.

I knew I wanted to incorporate these, but which ones? Too many can be confusing, so I limited it to the simplest and strongest:

  1. Typography & Typographic Hierarchy
  2. Rule of Thirds
  3. Simple Colour Scheme

Outstanding User Experience

User Experience Design (sometimes shortened to just UX, or described as HCI as was the case with my undergraduate degree!) has been around for a long time (decades), but it has been undergoing a little bit of a renaissance of late as many developers new to the industry are starting to re-descover it thanks to devices like the iPhone.

The key to good user experience is to remove any barriers caused by the technology or medium so that the user can complete their objective or goals as quickly and painlessly as possible.

Following this process is something that we do on every new project, and is one of the key reasons we want to know your goals up front—so we can remove any obstacles to completing them.

Outstanding UXD will help us achieve all 3 of our goals. We can use it to remove any obstacles from our lead generation process, subtly and subliminally help establish ourselves as experts, and by putting the information people are really looking for front-and-centre, remove the amount of time required to answer basic questions that can often cause people to drop out of our conversion process.

On-boarding Automation

By expanding our lead generation process to include the automation of our on-boarding process we will be able to remove ourselves from this process. By the time we have our first conversation we will have all of the information we require to have a detailed and straight-to-the-point conversation about your needs and goals, and how we can help.

At the moment this process can take a few weeks, and will require at least one face-to-face meeting that takes a day out of our schedule when you take into account the meeting, travel, and preparation.

Addition of a Blog

The main purpose of adding a blog is to establish our credibility without our physical presence being necessary. By reading things that we write (which we can do on our own schedule and as time allows), we will hopefully be able to prove our expertise on the topics that we write about.

There is a massive caveat here though: What we write has to be genuinely useful to our customers. I have searched for and read lots of blogs of other local web design agencies, and none of them actually provide anything of any use. They're all self-serving and self promoting ("look at this cool website we just launched", "we just won this awesome award").

What we write cannot fall into the same trap. Under our constraints of "Outstanding User Experience" everything that we publish has to provide some use to our visitors. It has to be something they actually want to read, and not just be self-serving.

The Process

Once we have the goals and the constraints, the process is relatively straight forward.

The Design

We start with the design, which has our 3 constraints from above:

  1. Typography & Typographic Hierarchy
  2. Rule of Thirds
  3. Simple Colour Scheme

Continue reading the next post to see how we started the design process with typography and how we relate that back to the goals we've highlighted here.