Website Q&A

The folks at Net Magazine asked us a few short questions about our recent website redesign. Here’s what we said.

1. What considerations did you make when starting this redesign?

Our last redesign was in 2012, so we’ve been itching to create something that better represents us as a company going forward. Our goals were simplicity and maintainability, and we decided early on to stick to the simple elements of typography and color to tell our story.

Creating something for yourself is always a challenge, so we decided to set an internal deadline and do it all in one sprint. Over the course of a couple weeks, we designed, wrote content, and coded everything. Having a deadline kept us on track, knowing that we’d have to launch something and hopefully be proud of it.

2. What technology and design tools did you use?

We kicked off the project using Dropmark to create mood boards, compare typefaces, and brainstorm ideas as a team. From there, we jumped into Sketch and created a few mockups to define the layout. After a few revisions, we had a basic direction we were happy with, and moved right to code.

The site was developed with Jekyll, a static website generator that uses Liquid templates and Markdown files. For content management, we’re using Siteleaf which lets us edit content and write blog posts in the cloud while still retaining all the benefits and speed of a static site.

To add a little life to the site, we used a bit of JavaScript to write a fun loading effect and pull in weather conditions from the Dark Sky API (a small easter egg on our about page).

3. What was an obstacle you faced during the creation process?

Probably the toughest challenge on the site was deciding on the color palette. We went through dozens of iterations, comparing options, discussing accessibility, and choosing favorites. The final result was decided at the 11th hour, but seems to be holding up several weeks later. Of course, the best part of designing for the web is you can always make changes.

4. Any other insights you’d like to include?

In the process of creating the site, we also spent some time thinking about content. Writing about yourself is tough, but we found Bernadette Jiwa’s “30 Questions Every Startup And Entrepreneur Should Answer” as a great starting place to workshop ideas.

A version of this interview appeared in the October 2016 issue of Net Magazine.

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