Behind the scenes of our website redesign
All too often, digital creative agency websites suffer from ‘shoes for the cobbler’s children’ syndrome; A case in point was the +rehabstudio site. Busy making things for our clients, the website stood untouched for years while the seismic changes of responsive design, touch devices, the mobile web and the implosion of Flash shook up the internet as we knew it. Our business drastically changed from a boutique digital production studio to a creative technology studio, working for some of the world’s biggest brands. In the winter of 2014, we decided to totally overhaul the way we presented ourselves, and the agency website was a natural starting point.
We began to ask, ‘Who are we?’ , ‘What makes us the same?’, and ‘What makes us different?’. After much debate and deliberation, we established that we are an unruly group of individuals from all places, cultures, beliefs and backgrounds – united by a desire to make things better through creative technology.
Creatively we needed the new website to reflect the business, by showcasing our work, the care we take in it, celebrate our client’s successes, and standout against the plethora of ‘me too’ agency websites. We also wanted it to be a best-in-class example of design and technical craft, from interaction detail to load performance. With all of our requirements distilled into a brief with guiding principles and clear business objectives, we engaged our creatives and technologists to make it happen.
With an invigorated team, we began to explore different design directions and prototyped interactions to expose the flaws in our assumptions early on. Embracing those moments when we got things wrong, we learnt from our mistakes to find better solutions.
Our sprint driven creative process of ideating, designing and prototyping quickly together, combined with high frequency testing with our internal stakeholders to implement feedback rapidly, kept project velocity high.
It’s important to say not everything was plain sailing. One of the things that makes our team effective is that we all hold strong opinions, and everyone is entitled to voice theirs. The constant tension in the team between business requirements, creative ambition, user experience conventions and technical performance, contributed to making the site what it is today.
“The moment you declare a set of ideas to be immune from criticism, satire, derision, or contempt, freedom of thought becomes impossible. ”- Salman Rushdie
Now that it’s been in the wild for a few months, and we’ve all had some time away from the intensity of our rebranding effort, it’s easier to judge whether we achieved what we set out to do. We’ve created a site that the agency is proud of – it expresses our personality, showcases our work, how we think and elegantly responds to whatever device you’re on. Most importantly, we’ve got the metrics to prove it’s delivering on our business objectives.
Like most things digital- our work is never finished. There is still plenty to be done but through gathering user feedback and site metrics we can continue to ‘make it better’.