In September, we published a new Admind website that was prepared entirely in-house. Read an interview with Łukasz Ciesielski, our Head of Marketing, and Dorota Surdej, Senior Experiential Graphic Designer. They talk about the creative process, how to help your branding, as well as advice on what mistakes not to make when creating a new website.
It might be long road from conception to rollout. What to think about before building a new website from a marketing perspective?
Łukasz Ciesielski: First of all, you need to think about the goals of your new website and why you want to change it at all. These goals can vary but most often companies want to offer their products or services to people who need them at the moment and to attract the attention of others. Setting the goals gives you an idea of how to design the structure of the site. It has to be done before you start coding or designing it.
You also need a well-prepared content strategy. People don’t just visit your home page without any purpose. They rather come to your blog post, case study, or landing page guided by their specific need (and sometimes by your ads). So, you should think about how to design the user experience on these pages to minimize user’s distractions. Such as by having as few clicks or transitions from one page to another as possible. This will increase your chances of further interactions.
What did the creative process of building the Admind new web design look like?
Dorota Surdej: We started with a series of workshops with the main stakeholders to understand the main objectives and what they wanted to keep from the existing website design. Then we conducted interviews with our target audience and with the people in our company. The goal was to identify blind spots and capture the essence and character of our organization.
The next steps were to look at our content in detail and to design new information architecture with simple site maps. Having it done, we analyzed the website structure and followed up with wireframes. Once we were happy with the user flow, we began the process of creating a compelling visual design and refining the concept. Of course, we also tested the website internally and externally at different stages of the project, tweaked, and performed several modifications. We made it to ensure that the experience and usability were up to the highest standards.
Brand consistency is crucial to ensuring that a brand is easily recognizable. How do you create a new website design that represents the brand in this way?
Dorota: Brand consistency is important, but so is user experience. When creating a design for the new website, you need to look at these two sides and study how the brand can be used. It is to enhance the user experience and achieve the specific goals that the website is intended for.
The core elements of the brand will always be the same. But each instance of the brand needs to adapt to the different demands and requirements of a specific channel. If changing the web design is a part of the rebranding process, we need to think about whether the new branding will work in a ‘digital first’ approach. If so, look critically at the new core brand elements (visual, target audience, brand goals, and values, etc.). Then, we should make calculated decisions on how everything should work in a digital environment.
How to increase your audience engagement through the new website?
Łukasz: The key takeaway is that in blog posts, case studies, surveys, and all sorts of lead magnets (e.g. e-books), you need to give your audience some value. So first try to understand what is important to your customers and website users to get to know them better. Don’t rely on the “I think my customer would like this” approach. Focus more on the principle of: “let’s build a persona, research the customer’s needs, and put together an offer, our knowledge packages or values in the context of that persona”.
So, it seems to me that the best way to increase engagement on the website is to understand the needs of customers, users, or future employees and by providing them with valuable content.
Was creating a design for a new website at a branding agency specific in any way?
Łukasz: At a branding agency, we have plenty of design experts on board who have good taste. So, I was assured that the new design of our website would be very attractive. When working on such a project, however, always keep the micro and macro scale in mind. Agencies (not ours, fortunately) often employ people who think that because they have already done many projects, they always know the best solution. They rely on assumptions.
Unfortunately, following this approach, you can crash and burn, because a macroscale is essential. The customer information that is validated by research (who are they, what do they need, why do they interact with our website, social media, and so on?). The key is to combine internal expertise with an appropriate research process. It helps you understand exactly what’s outside your company’s perspective. That was our approach.
What are the biggest mistakes companies make when they approach a new website?
Łukasz: First, companies don’t always define why they’re doing a new website. Often, it’s just that the CEO doesn’t like the old website and wants to change it for the new one, but without any idea behind it. It’s always necessary to take into account the intentions of users and engage them in a relevant way.
It’s also a huge mistake to announce the website is finished when it goes live. In fact, releasing the website is just the beginning of the next stage of work. Because it’s the moment when you have real users, real traffic, real footage of how people use the site. Then you can do research on what works and what doesn’t. Based on that you can make changes and constantly improve your new site. It’s a pity that companies don’t do that. It’s because they often don’t have any budget left, the project team is often gone, and there are no resources for improvements. Besides, why change something when there was an announcement of a new website launch success at the company meeting?
But that won’t be our case?
Łukasz: Well, no (laugh). We’ll keep going!