Our Website ReDesign: a Study in Problem Solving
managing change is a critical skill in the investment management industry, but we’re hardly alone in that.
Perched as we are on the edge of Silicon Valley, we have a terrific vantage point into the technology changes engineered there. Like us, the very creative web design industry must continuously innovate and modify the status quo in a thoughtful way.
Toward that end, we recently redesigned our website with some very specific design goals in mind:
- Provide a cleaner and faster path to content;
- Show the breadth of our work (case studies) in an organized, engaging, and easily digestible way;
- Develop a platform to deliver useful and valuable thought leadership;
- Support the ReGroup brand as a multi-disciplinary and experienced consultancy to the investment management industry; and
- Connect with ways to distribute our thought-leadership (which will start in the form of a monthly newsletter populated by our blog posts).
We approached our redesign in a similar way to all our client work—we clarified and prioritized our needs and assets, then analyzed which web design trends would serve our goals.
After you read our process, check out our website and let us know what you think.
The following web design trends inspired our website redesign:
1. Minimalism Rules
The minimalist web design trend, which focuses on performance, speed, and uncluttered elements, lends an understated flow to websites. The shift toward responsive websites drove this need for clean, scrollable interfaces while simultaneously discouraging too much stuff (words, images, etc.) in one place. Typography, contrast, and white space all are important elements of minimal website design.
We incorporated bold colors, large font, and only a handful of words at the beginning of each page to catch your attention and provide just enough context and incentive to keep you scrolling. We gradually introduce more content as you move down the page to prevent information overload.
2. Less Navigation is More
Fewer navigation choices help users find exactly what they’re looking for without unnecessary detours. The trend toward fewer main navigation options—dropping from 7+ to four or less—will likely increase in 2017 as smartphones continue to influence social, professional, and financial interactions.
The complexity and diversity of our industry and subject matter necessitated simple, user-friendly navigation so we could communicate in a meaningful way and so you could focus on finding what you need. We pared down our navigation menu from three levels to one, embedded cross-references to relevant content, and created topic-level links to information housed on the same page so you could quickly jump to your specific interest.
Microinteractions create a shift in appearance or trigger some other change when the user’s cursor or finger hovers over, clicks on, or scrolls past a specific area. This effect might seem superficial at first glance, but it’s key to redirecting and focusing a user’s attention while navigating a website. Microinteractions are a refined yet authoritative way to interact with a website—so long as they are subtle, informative, and seamlessly integrated into the visitor’s experience.
If you’ve worked with ReGroup, then you know how important it is to us to use your time (and attention) well. It was critical that we feature our prior client work in a readily accessible way without competing against equally essential content. We used a small microinteraction to curtail distraction and push content center stage at a specific moment: the visual reference attached to each case study blends into the background as a black-and-white image, then pops with color as you scroll over it to pique your interest at exactly the right moment.
4. More Focus on Content-Based Websites
Web designers have spent years introducing different elements to business websites such as banners, headers, ads, calls-to-action, popups, social media buttons, signup forms, etc. All of these efforts have cluttered websites, reduced white space, and diverted users’ attention away from the main purpose—content. In 2017, website designs will likely return to the basics and a greater emphasis on content, eliminating all unnecessary elements so content can dominate.
We already had a ton of content and hoped to add more (in the form of blog posts and case studies), so we welcomed this shift back to substance with open arms. While we recognize the critical role design plays, we also know that “bells and whistles” are only as impressive as their practical applications.
5. The Use of Hand Drawn Elements
The increased use of handwritten typography will be a unique web design trend for 2017. These elements include fonts, icons, graphics, buttons and certain other elements that bring a unique yet creative touch to your website. Introducing the hand drawn elements will be a nice change for web design industry, giving more options for calls-to-action and providing great contrast to clean and uniform typography.
We customize our processes, advice, and guidance to fit each client and wanted to carry that tailor-made approach into our design while still upholding our commitment to minimalism. We hope the resulting illustrated icon set by the talented Jonathan Michael James delights and inspires you to take similar care and attention to detail when managing your day-to-day.
6. Flat Designs Have Become Flat
The web design industry has reached the point in flat trends where every design has started to look the same, and creativity has gone…well, flat. In order to stand out, web designers are depicting branding and improving functionality with visually appealing and bold styles.
We used larger text, a limited color palette, hand-drawn icons, and parallax functionality to distinguish the ReGroup brand and make scrolling down the page more engaging for users.
7. Rise in Landing Pages
As the web design industry refocuses on content-based websites in 2017, we will likely see increased emphasis on landing pages in addition to homepage design so users can share and click-through to specific content.
Each ReGroup service area has a dedicated landing page that allows us to direct our subscribers and readers to the specific content they want. Once again, we’re committed to using your time well: links in our blog postings, LinkedIn articles, case studies, and email newsletters will cross-reference relevant information and take you directly to the intended destination—no pit stops or detours required.