The last time I wrote one of these was in 2016, and I said that we tend to refresh our website every 2-3 years. As it turns out this was true once again.
We never redesign the website until we decide it's no longer doing its job. We may perform some minor cosmetic tweaks over time, but a general overhaul is due when we feel we're different than how it represents us.
In the past two years there was a lot of change for us. And by the way, when I say "a lot" I mean it in the context of the glacial pace we choose to implement change here at Superawesome. So by normal standards it wasn't turbulent at all, but for us there's a lot of "new".
By far the biggest change is that our team grew. Marija joined us as an account manager/COO/project manager of sorts about a year ago, as I personally stepped down from day-to-day operations. I still sort of feel like I've handed her a hot potato, but she's doing an amazing job of learning as she goes, and we're very happy she's with us. Another addition to our roster is Tomislava who joined us in order to strengthen our design ranks and we're lucky to have her.
The rest of the change was an overhaul of our processes, from the paperwork, to workflows, and the services that we offer and how we offer them. More on this in the future in the newly formed category design business.
Back to the website
The main goal was to take what we have, tone things down, and strip them to the bare minimum. This was not limited to the visual design, but the content as well. Previous website had a main job to be as verbose as possible in order to give the idea to a potential client what they can expect if they were to hire us. This resulted in a lot of content, and the reactions were very polarized — which is in no way a bad thing in my opinion. People either didn't bother reading it and went on (good, it disqualified a client early saving us time), while other hired us exactly because we went to those lengths and put in the effort to minimize the their unknowns.
We are a digital product design agency
What our last website didn't do too well was the positioning. We were designers for anyone and everything. We've learned that this generalist approach sort of no longer works for us. This is why we talked a lot about what we want to do going forward, how we want people to see us, and more importantly who we want to work with.
It was not rare for clients before to come to us saying they need a user interface to be designed, while they actually needed an entire product. Luckily it always worked out because we actually were product designers, we were just misrepresented, and mistook for a UI design shop. With this new website we are consciously representing ourselves as a product design shop, even though we do offer the same services as before.
We tried to emphasize this new "we're actually a product design shop" approach by finally publishing a piece describing our own experience with creating a product from scratch and getting it to market in the hopes to explain that we know the pains of founders, and product owners because we've already been there and done that. All good designers possess empathy, but the best ones also have first-hand experiences.
As far as the aesthetics go, we didn't stray too much from the old website. The color scheme is more-less the same, we kept the gray as our brand color, the purple is there — although in a different shade — and a new accent color for now is the yellow. The entire visual design relies on typography, and this is where we focused the most. Laying out the content in a way that is memorable and inviting — but before all readable — we feel that we are providing a delight to the user, and honestly we don't feel the need to do much more. Simplicity and minimalism were our goals, and that's where we went with it.
The example above illustrates the kind of typographic layout I am talking about.
Portfolio & Case studies
Another interesting thing we noticed is that our leads rarely pay much attention to the portfolio, which is sort of baffling. Often we would get a lead get in touch and later ask for work examples stating that they didn't even look at our portfolio. For this reason — but also because keeping the portfolio up to date is our biggest bottleneck — we decided to go with an overview of our work, by showcasing a list of projects and our contributions we want the potential client to get a solid idea about the work we are interested in doing, and what we have experience with. We found that it's mostly the designers that are interested in the visuals, so we are now posting those on our Behance profile. For the rare person out there actually interested in specifics of our work, we've pre-selected a couple of our flagship projects, and kept them as case studies explaining what were the challenges, and how we overcame them.
Lastly, we're also introducing changes to the blog. The initial idea was to have the blog as a sort of a hub for all our online activity, and use the social networks as content distribution channels… Yeah, that didn't work. It turns out that if you turn your social network profiles into automatized channels you don't get interaction. Who knew! This is why we're changing our strategy a bit, and keeping the long form content on the blog while posting short form bits directly on social media. We also reorganized the blog categories a bit in order for them to make a bit more sense should someone decide to browse the content that way.
I am going to wrap it up for now, if you have any thoughts or comments about the new website — and more importantly if you see any bugs — feel free to get in touch.