Meet the Designers Behind the New CWS Website
In our last post, you got an exclusive look at our newly designed website. Today, we’re going to get the inside scoop straight from the designers behind this project, what their process looked like over the past several months, and why they think this redesign was important. Get ready to meet Kaitlyn Miller and Jake Langford, team captains of project redesign!
Sarah: Kaitlyn, what is your role, both at CWS and concerning this redesign project?
Kaitlyn: I am the graphic designer for the marketing department at Commercial Web Services. I’m in charge of maintaining our brand standards for CWS across all of our communication platforms, including our website. I also work closely with our OEM team to make sure our OEM partners’ brands are represented correctly on the websites we design and the collateral we create. In regards to this redesign project, my role included collaborating with Jake on the design of the website, creating mocks of what each page should look like, and deciding how to best represent our brand in the redesign.
Sarah: Kaitlyn, from a marketing standpoint, what inspired your department to take on this project?
Kaitlyn: We wanted to redesign our website for many reasons. We haven’t redesigned our website since the spring of 2015, which is a long time in the design world. Trends come and go very quickly and websites can become “dated” if you don’t refresh it every so often. We have also spent a lot of time rebranding Commercial Web Services as a business, and we wanted our website to reflect those new brand standards.
The most important reason, though, for redesigning our website was the fact that it wasn’t meeting the needs of our business. I’m sure many people have struggled with getting leads and conversions from their website and often wonder why people aren’t interacting with the site. This is a big red flag that you should take the time to evaluate your entire website, including images, content, forms, etc., and then come up with a plan on how to make it work better for visitors and also give the visitors the information they are looking for.
Sarah: Jake, what is your role, both at CWS and concerning this redesign project?
Jake: My role at Commercial Web Services is web design and development. I have worked collaboratively with Kaitlyn on this redesign project to build and develop the new website for CWS.
Sarah: Jake, from a granular point of view, what did you see missing from the current website’s design that might better convey our business through a refreshed design?
Jake: The current website does not reflect the services offered to prospective clients, and lacks marketable design features that exemplify the high standards of quality work at CWS. Information is presented through an extensive use of text, which ultimately disengages the viewer, and the basic page templates limit continued interest. Improvements needed to be made through composition aesthetics that highlight the services offered at CWS, while conveying our modern and progressive business structure in a clear and enjoyable user interface experience.
Sarah: What has this process looked like for you, Kaitlyn?
Kaitlyn: I came up with an entire plan for my team to follow while we worked on the website. We started by researching our competitors to see how they laid out their information and to also find things we liked and disliked about their sites. Next, our Marketing Coordinator, Sarah, and our Marketing Manager, Lindsey, created customer personas. Customer personas are generalized representations of your customers. They help you narrow down your target audience and determine what designs might work best for your audience. Once we had our customer personas, Sarah and Lindsey rewrote all of the content on our website to better relate to and attract our target audience. We also planned out all the pages we wanted on our new website, including a team page, services page, product pages, and more. After all of that was done, I started designing mockups of how I wanted each page to look and then I would send them to Jake to build.
Sarah: What has this process looked like for you, Jake?
Jake: This has been an enjoyable collaborative process. The marketing team has envisioned this redesign project, and I have relished being able to implement their ideas through a high-quality website which was provided by Kaitlyn in a clean and organized mock design, oriented toward short-term, solution-focused development goals.
Sarah: What influence does your target audience play in this redesign process?
Jake: Our primary target audience includes commercial dealerships and manufacturers who are focused on expanding their business online to attract new customers and increase consumers. Our target audience has influenced this redesign process, as it needs to reflect those ideals by attracting our own new customers and instilling confidence in our potential clientele to entrust us with their online business needs.
Kaitlyn: Our target audience is the biggest influence to our redesign process. You could design a beautiful website, but if it doesn’t attract the right audience, then it becomes useless. We knew we needed to design our website for our audience so that is what we did (and hopefully they like it).
Sarah: what influence do current design trends play in this redesign process?
Jake: Current design trends have greatly influenced this redesign process. The new CWS website is outcome-oriented, with a modern edge that is unique from our competitors.
Kaitlyn: Current design trends were the second biggest influence. Like I said before, websites can become “dated” very quickly. Trends are always changing so it’s a good idea to refresh your website at least once a year.
Sarah: Jake, how do you design with website performance in mind?
Jake: I design around the key elements of website performance. For instance, fast web applications enhance user experience and begin with the planning and design phase, which are then incorporated into the processes and workflows.
Sarah: What challenges have you had with this redesign project, Kaitlyn?
Kaitlyn: I think the biggest challenge has been building out the website on the WordPress platform. Neither Jake nor I have ever used WordPress to the extent we are using it now, so it has definitely been a learning experience.
Sarah: What challenges have you come across Jake?
Jake: I would have to say working so extensively on the WordPress platform has been the toughest challenge I have come across. This entire project has been a great learning experience and I am very proud of the website we have created.
Sarah: What are you hoping to achieve through this redesign, Kaitlyn?
Kaitlyn: I’m hoping we created a website that helps our audience. I want them to see our website as a resource for them to use and to also be able to learn more about CWS. We offer so much to dealers in our industry, but I don’t think the previous design showed that. I believe we have achieved that with the redesign and hopefully, we will start getting more leads.
Thank you, Jake and Kaitlyn, for your hard work on this redesign and for giving us your unique perspective on the process as designers. We are very fortunate to have such talented team members here at CWS. If you’re looking for some design help, you know who to call!