The Amazee Labs Redesign: Part II
In part one of this three-part series about our website redesign I talked a bit about why we chose to change it up and how we decided on a new design direction. In part two, I’ll dissect the first few designs I put up on the wall and tell you a story about how a thief helped us right the ship.
Before I got involved, a lot of careful planning by Daniel Truninger and Gregory Gerhardt resulted in a set of wireframes that profiled the entire website and its content. I designed each page according to the wireframe, and then sent my work to Daniel and Greg for feedback. After careful consideration of their comments, I would design another version of the page and send it again. This iteration continued until we settled on a solution we agreed was best.
I don’t have an exact count, but I believe iteration on the start page alone was in excess of 30 designs — five unique designs and at least 25 versions of design number five.
Fresh from the excitement of choosing a design direction, I busted out the first start page.
Whereas our original design was flat in nature, I made this tiled polygon background as means to add depth to Amazee Labs 2.0. And in the spirit of Amazee Duo (some old, some new) I used the background color from our original design and tried to run with the same dusty palette.
While there was constructive feedback from the first design, my directive was design a second start page from scratch, so we’d have two to compare.
Design two was a lighter, brighter approach that centered around two objectives — 1) put more emphasis on our claim in order to more quickly clarify what we do, and 2) design a page that exudes the same playful sophistication as the (then) new Amazee Labs office. You’ll notice in the photo we have eight TVs mounted on what we call the, “video wall,” which I used quite literally in the header of design two.
Again my directive was to come up with a third design, this time, encouraged to do something completely different, “whatever you want,” they said.
For this “blank canvas” design, I really focused on what I thought could make our site truly unique — typography and illustration. And what could be more unique than members of our own team? Enter the illustration of Dagmar at her desk and bobble-head Boris (yes, I intended to draw everyone’s head for the team page.)
You might notice a couple of elements above that actually made it, in one form or another, into our finished design. This custom script I crafted for design three is a good example of how, in the end, we picked and pulled what we liked from the iterative process.
I actually developed design four in parallel with three, as another do-what-you-want design.
To be honest, I don’t recall what led me down this path, but I know I wanted to again approach the design from a fresh perspective, a bit bolder perhaps. Although “fresh websites” is pictured above, in design three, I actually developed what would eventually become our new tagline here in four. That’s about all we kept from this one :)
The Prague Incident
Four months passed between my first design and my fourth. The consensus to this point was that we hadn’t quite hit the nail on the head. While there were elements from each design that were universally liked, no one concept stood out as a winner.
About this time, September of 2013, our team headed to Prague, Czech Republic for the European installment of Drupalcon, an event for which Amazee Labs was a platinum sponsor. In preparation for the conference, Sascha and Daniel worked tirelessly to design our booth and lots of cool Amazee Labs’ swag to give away to the community.
As fate would have it, the night before Drupalcon began, a dastardly street bandit broke into our car and stole nearly everything. We were left with little-to-nothing, our booth was hit particularly hard.
Lemonade from lemons
With nothing to work with but a few roles of tape and our imagination, the next morning we resorted to the unorthodox media to outfit our booth.
To our surprise and delight, it was overwhelmingly well received by the Drupal community, and admittedly, we were pretty proud of it too. It’s amazing where a little ingenuity will get you, isn’t it?
That morning, a young lady by the name of Emma readily volunteered her time to help us tape our booth. Legend has it she taped, “We are hiring a frontend developer,” a position she was destined to fill.
Taping it all together
So — we don’t have a design we’re in love with, we want something unique to Amazee Labs that’s not represented elsewhere on the web, and our tape art was a hit at DrupalCon Prague. Don’t you see now where this is headed? I’m sure you’re way ahead of me.
In part three of Amazee Labs 2.0, I’ll explain how we brought the tape phenomenon to the web, including design five, iteration, tape-tastic techniques, and our final execution.