We rule. At last.

Final­ly, we are laun­ching our new web­site and two micro­si­tes and a blog. Phew.

And they are real­ly cool. I’m very hap­py.

It has been a long jour­ney full of lear­nings I would like to sha­re in this first blog post.

User Centered Rules

Using Per­so­nas and con­se­quent­ly focus on their needs brings com­ple­xi­ty down. And go out and ask your users. They will have a total­ly dif­fe­rent out­look on your web­site then you. It was in this pro­ject I real­ly star­ted to appre­cia­te our own metho­do­lo­gy.

Prototyping is a must

The power of pro­to­ty­pes: They can show you whe­ther some­thing works – or not. This is true for IT-Sys­tems, GUI-Con­cepts, GUI-Designs, pro­ces­ses, ever­ything. Espe­ci­al­ly becau­se even unskil­led peop­le can talk about it when they have it in front of them.

A concept is not the content

Befo­re you start eva­lua­ting tools or choo­sing image worlds, get your con­tent into a sta­te that is qui­te final. Finetu­ning the text can come later, but it is a very good idea to know not only what you would like to say but also how you say it befo­re defi­ning requi­re­ments for CMS or brie­fing a design agen­cy.

The content is not the text

Wri­ting is hard. Dou­ble so if you are try­ing to descri­be yours­elf. So even if you know exac­t­ly what and how you would like to tell it: Get some pro­fes­sio­nal help. We deci­ded to first eva­lua­te the tona­li­ty and style for the com­pa­ny as a who­le, then spent a few wee­kends pon­de­ring the texts and then gave them to edi­tors to tho­rough­ly exami­ne and trans­la­te them. This not only impro­ved the text qua­li­ty but also hel­ped us to real­ly think about what we have to say.

Pictures break down walls

One of the best ide­as for the web­site was defi­ni­te­ly to hire a pro­fes­sio­nal pho­to­gra­pher. He was able to see things we would never have been able to see about our­sel­ves. And he show­ed us how to show us.

Ajax is not that clean

It’s dir­ty work, despi­te the libra­ries – espe­ci­al­ly cross-brow­ser. But it’s worth it as it brings new pos­si­bi­li­ties to inter­ac­ting on a web­site.

You can do anything with a few good people

The team is the most important part of any pro­ject. It’s important that com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on is good and that all get along. It’s also important that the team mem­bers are mas­ters in their domain. You won’t be able to pull it off in rea­son­ab­le time and bud­gets other­wi­se.

So that’s why I would like to thank: Reto Bür­k­li, Domi­nik Wull­schle­ger and Ste­fan Hun­zi­ker of Büro4 for put­ting up with the same dis­cus­sions on tit­le-hier­ar­chies, sli­der-but­tons and font-size over and over again. Roland Schil­ter for explo­ring new .css fron­tiers ins­tead of working on his mas­ter-the­sis, Noë Flum to enligh­ten us pic­tu­rewi­se, Mathi­as Zim­mer­mann for lear­ning us how to speak and for­cing us to focus, Tom Lyons for making us sound like nati­ve Eng­lish speakers, Chris Wys­sei­er, Chris­ti­an Laue­ner and Simon Raess for try­ing to make Cms­box work for us (still a gre­at tool!), Lukas Kar­rer for fiddling with Squa­respace until that darn hea­der was the­re, Hel­mut Kaz­mai­er and Micha­el Svo­bo­da for fin­ding the Stimmt iden­ti­ty in the pro­cess of reinven­ting the web­site three times, the rest of the Stimmt team for doing what they do best: Fin­ding the sore points and com­ing up with good solu­ti­ons. And Vere­na for spen­ding some Sundays wit­hout me.