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.