Brainstorming A New Primate Site

05 Nov 2012 by Gordon
4 Comments
Primate mind map

The best ideas always start with scribbles... right?

We’re so busy right now that when Espen announced he was having ideas about redesigning the Primate site, I almost choked on my own tears. Bart just laughed in his face. Once the initial hysteria wore off though we got excited, very excited, and discovered that updating our company site is something we all have a strong desire to do. But why?

Although there have always been a few aspects of the site that we were never completely happy with, it is only a mere 18 months old and still in good nick. It’s also something we’ve received a lot of praise for and the phrase “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is a pretty good motto for these things. Plus, I’ve always personally held the secret fear that by trying to be too clever and improve the site, we’ll royally arse it up by mistake.

But like an embarrassing infection, the itch is there and doesn’t seem to be subsiding. We’ve grown tremendously as a company since the current Primate site was built (both figuratively and literally) and part of the motivation of revamping it is so our online presence can reflect that. That’s a good reason, for sure, but if I’m honest I think part of our urge also stems from having the chance to do what we enjoy the most, try out new techniques and ideas and generally try to keep the site up-to-date as a showcase of everything we love and believe in.

So here’s some of the thoughts we’ve been having.

Content

I very rarely write anything that I can come back to and read a few months later without cringing and some of the copy on the Primate site is no exception. Whilst I’m happy enough with the general tone of voice and style of delivery, there’s a lot of content there that either doesn’t work for me or is somewhat irrelevant now. For instance, the approach we take to projects now (particularly the larger ones) has changed to follow the agile methodology and that isn’t reflected at all. Likewise, the whole ‘what are you looking for’ area on the homepage has never sat right with me – I want something bolder, direct and more explicit about exactly what we do and what we offer.

Video is also something I’m keen to introduce although time, money and how camera friendly our beautiful faces are will ultimately influence if it happens or not. The idea of being of having a medium to truly show some of the people behind business is very appealing as I’m particularly keen on giving our site a real sense of personality and reflecting the passion that drives it forward every day.

Design

I’d love to be able to crawl inside the brain of our Norwegian Head of Design and see what makes him tick as he keeps letting slip some pretty radical suggestions for a site update. I know something’s brewing about stripping back our brand, updating the colour scheme (?!) and fonts, replacing the imagery and getting rid of those fancy ribbons that got him into so much trouble a few months ago. Lots of ideas flying about.

Our case studies section is an area that we have talked about a lot though and one that we’ve decided we’re keen to put more emphasis and focus on, particularly as it just came about as an addition to the very original design. Right now, as much as we want to showcase all of our work, we’re thinking along the lines of picking three or four projects to really explore in detail and dig into the processes, client relationships and mechanics behind them.

Overall, Espen’s been pretty tight lipped about his ideas, not so much brainstorming them aloud as internally maturing them like some sort of design pregnancy. Can’t wait to see the results.

Development

Development wise, Bart’s keen to rebuild the entire site from the ground up in order to rewrite the CSS and markup behind it with some new techniques and tools he’s discovered since we first built it. He’s even thrown around the idea of completely embracing the HTML 5 route which, whilst it would no doubt throw up a lot of backward browser compatibility challenges, is a really cool idea.

Making the site fully responsive is also an idea we’ve been brainstorming, something that we’re so keen on that I’d be surprised if it didn’t make it into our final development plan. Likely it will increase the build time by quite a bit but given how important the mobile and tablet experience is these days, it’s hard to dismiss the notion. Likewise, we also want to find an elegant solution to serving high quality imagery to retina displays as I know Bart just chokes every time he views the site on an iPad 3.

When’s it going to happen?

So, all very grand, exciting and ambitious ideas but when exactly are we going to get time accomplish this site revamp? We’re only in the early stages of brainstorming ideas, coming up with concepts and writing copy now so it’s likely going to be a couple of months. Worst come to the worst though, we always have Christmas holidays to work on it.

(I bet Espen regrets bringing up the subject now.)

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Author: Gordon McLachlan

Gordon is uncomfortably good looking.

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  1. Callum Hopkins 05 Nov 2012 at 11:15 pm

    Good luck guys! It can be a long, hard, emotional or moral destorying journey, but as soon as you launch the site, you realise it’s all worth it in the end. Just got the blog back after a WHOLE YEAR offline! Very difficult but there’s no better feeling than launching a new design for your own site. :)

  2. Vanessa 06 Nov 2012 at 12:21 pm

    OH it’s *hard* designing when you’re so close to the product. I find designing for clients FAR easier than designing for myself. I suppose it’s because with a client, you know to ‘limit their options’ and sell the design you see working the best, but we’re way too clever (or not as the case may be) with ourselves where EVERY options is doable.

    Decisions decisions…

    I wish you luck!

    • Gordon 11 Nov 2012 at 5:21 pm

      Absolutely. At least the decision process can be quicker… sometimes :)

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