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How We Did Redesign of Our Website

The process of site redesign was very long, it took us about a year, as we were doing it when we were not overloaded with projects and had some free time.

Maybe this process must have been build in other way, we must have planned a team for a couple of weeks, that would be working on the corporate website and launch it quickly. But we chose another way, with little blood as we say in Russia.

It also had some advantages:

  • We filled the gaps working on the corporate website;
  • We had enough time to think about different ideas;
  • Everyone had a chance to take part in development of corporate website (this site has input of thee designers).

Old Website Look

old design of USWebStyle.com site

As you can see the design of the old website is clean and pleasant but contains too much unnecessary information, that nobody is actually reading, and it didn’t complete its functions to attract new customers and create the correct idea of company identity.

I cannot say that I didn’t like the design on our old website developed in 2005, but now it looked old-fashioned and to Boss’s opinion didn’t reflect the real identity of the company.

We aimed to create a quality design and user-friendly interface where users could find answers to all the questions they have.

Step 1. Analysis & Prototype Development

Paper prototypeThere is always room for perfection and you can never create a website that meets everyone’s needs 100%, but no one prevents you from trying.

We started with analysis of our current clients and were trying to think about them during the whole process of project prototyping always asking ourselves what they would say on this or that.

The old website was addressed mostly to individuals and we were planning to cover another niche – IT companies interested in opening Offshore Dedicated Centers and looking for reliable partners offshore.

At first we outlined the most important areas that must be present on the website. After making up a list of what we should have on home page, we started prototyping on paper.

The next step was creation of more detailed prototype based on the paper one:

website prototype

We created detailed specification on look and feel of the website, described each object on the page.  For the home page we outlined 4 main aspects that we wanted to attract users attention to.

Works of any webdesign company speak louder than words, so the first tab in our promo block was devoted to showcase of our major projects – portfolio.

On the dynamic tabs we also represented list of services we render in brief.

As we are an outsourcing company we tried to make the process of outsourcing to us as transparent as possible, and at the same time we wanted companies interested in outsourcing services to have easy access to this information, that’s why we included Offshore Dedicated Center information in promo block on home page.

For anyone interested in website development who doesn’t know much in this industry would be interesting to know how the process of web development (workflow) looks like and what they should expect from it. This section is created for non-technical clients.

Corporate website is a business card of a company, so we considered that index page should contain basic description of the company.

There are constantly some announcements to be made to the public (some special offerings or new products developed, affiliate programs, activeCollab modules etc. ), that’s why the promo block ton index page was a relevant feature. As information  in this block is being changed from time to time we manage it using CMS.

Other information that we thought would be useful for clients to find on the home page is how to contact us and what our clients say about us.

Some would say that testimonials are not relevant nowadays, and they all are written by copywriters, so people don’t trust them. Let me disagree on this. Our main objective is clients satisfaction and quality work, and the most pleasant compensation for hard work is warm words of gratefulness from happy customers, that’s why a separate page on our website is devoted to testimonials from our customers.

Step 2. Logo Rebranding

USWebStyle old logoWe didn’t plan to do redesign, but it was designer’s initiative to do redesign of the logo. At first opinion of almost everyone in the company was that the old logo was better and we didn’t want any radical changes in corporate logo design.

But at the stage of improvement of the changes to the design we decided to leave the new logo, and after certain time this actually became a part of our new corporate identity. The new logo is more clean and has more Web 2.0 feel:

Step 3. Designing Home Page and Inner Pages

We prepared a detailed design specification requirements document that covered all the aspects starting from fonts, button styles and to overall look and fill of the website, and wrote the texts for home page.

All the hope was for taste and experience of our talented designer to put all our requirements together so that it looks and feels like an entire quality design.

While the design of home page was being made we were working on each page design requirements and content of the inner pages.

We tried to cover all the necessary information: brief information about company (history, size, and staff), brief information about services we provide, described our workflow, products we provide for sale, gathered testimonials from our customers. As we are looking for outsourcing partners we created a separate page to describe the work of Offshore Dedicated Center. Special attention was paid to portfolio section.

Some may say that site contains too much unnecessary information, and that there is a trend in development of simple one-page corporate website. But I think that it refers more to design agencies, but not full-service development companies.

Step 4. Testing by Steve Krug Method

The usability testing was based on Rocket Surgery Made Easy by Steve Krug. We chose three participants, and asked them to assist us in usability testing. Special thanks to our HR Manager Olga, and our new bee  Oleg who kindly agreed to participate. I also conducted remote testing with Dale, who also suggested us a couple interesting ideas.

I felt that there are some week places in usability, so I created the following scenarios basing on main objectives of potential customers:

Task1. Need to order website development

Scenario: You are a realtor from Alberta. In order to increase sales you would like to order website development. Try to think of what you would be interested to know about the company before you order the development (portfolio, testimonials, workflow, etc.), and send request to USWebStyle using their website.

Task 2. Buy activeCollab modules.

Scenario: You are an owner of a small company in Canada. Your company uses activeCollab software to manage their projects. You would like to order the following activeCollab modules from USWebStyle: aC Chat and HR Manager.

As you are purchasing two modules you are interested in possibility of getting some discounts and bonuses.

Task 3. Sent request for Offshore Dedicated Team

Scenario: You are owner of an IT company in New York doing websites. Your company is rapidly growing and you do not manage with the stream of projects. You would like to find an outsourcing team that would be helping you with projects. Try to find some information about their Offshore Dedicated Center services.

As a result of testing we made up a list of things that need to be changed or improved on the website on which we are working at the moment.

Would be great to hear your ideas and thoughts on our work.

5 Oct 2010
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