The New spatialnetworks.com
Everything needs a little maintenance from time to time. We change our oil, clean the gutters, get our eyes checked, and brush our teeth. Sometimes, things that don’t even exist in the physical sense need a little TLC. The ones and zeros that make up Spatialnetworks.com were looking a bit weathered towards the end of 2012, and after tending to the rest of our flock, we were finally able to launch a refreshed version.
As we began the discovery phase of this new design, we really wanted to slim everything down and focus on the essentials. We didn’t want any sliding image galleries, lengthy, self-affirming dissertations, or redundant content on pages that didn’t need to exist. Getting back to basics means answering a few simple questions: Who is coming to the site? What do we want them to know? What action do we want them to take once they’re ready to move on?
One of the inherent benefits of doing a redesign, as opposed to starting from scratch, is that we need only look at history to answer question number one. Of course, in life, many times when one question is answered, others quickly arise: Are the visitors meeting our demographic expectations, i.e. are these the people we want coming to the site? Are there other markets in which we could be making an impact? Once these and other similar questions are pondered, we can make informed decisions about the next steps instead of just reaching in the dark.
Room For Improvement
While making these evaluations, we realized our previous site fell short when it came to addressing how Spatial Networks fit into industry-specific scenarios. In fact, falling short is putting it mildly, as we barely made mention of any specific industries at all, save “geography”. We quickly decided to add both “Industries” and “Professional Services” sections and developed a near-term and long-term strategy for each. Since we wanted this redesign to move as rapidly as possible, it made more sense to release a bare version of these sections first. Without all the bells, whistles, and underlying features needed at launch, we could focus on other parts of the site, thus resolving the whole project more quickly.
Everything At Your Fingertips
Another departure from the old site - and from traditional website layouts - was to keep the content all available on one longer page, instead of breaking it up between individually navigated pages. When we dissected our previous design it was clear that our messaging became diffused with the addition & modification of different pages over time. Our solution was to keep it all in front of the reader and provide modals (windows appearing in front of the existing content) for additional content like staff bios and product descriptions. This keeps the reader from straying too far from the core messaging and provides an overall sense of cohesion.
Finding The Right Tone
Coming on the heels of the Fulcrum Redesign, the old Spatialnetworks.com was indeed showing its age. We still felt strongly about the logo itself, but its surrounding design assets needed a new look. Drawing from principles of the Fulcrum redesign like simplicity, texture, and a thoughtful use of negative space, we were able to coalesce a strong visual tone for the overall look of the site. One thing we wanted to avoid, however, was the sterile, boilerplate look of the average corporate site. We incorporated a more organic palette and a less ubiquitous set of fonts to help achieve this, but we actually found the initial font choice to be a bit too…fiddly, so we scaled it back to something more sensible.
In terms of designing with a purpose, we decided early on the we wanted something unique, informative, easy to use, and even a little fun. When the visitors are finished browsing, we want them to feel as though they’ve been to the office, had lunch with us, and are leaving with a good sense of who we are and what drives us, both as individuals & as a team.
The SNI Roadmap
Now that the initial pieces are in place, the site will continue to improve as each section matures into its long-term features & goals. We’ll also upload our slide decks from speaking engagements around the world and keep all the news & company info updated in our blog. Feel free to contact us with any questions or comments. We look forward to what the rest of the year has to offer.