After a superhuman effort and many hours spent buffing every pixel until it shines, it’s finally time for our new web site to go live…
There is always a “but”, especially if you are working on an internal project inside your firm or on something for your firm, your brand, your portfolio, your hobby or similar things. You are never completely satisfied. First you want to create a simple and usable structure, then you turn that into “nice-looking shapes and colors”, and after that you have a hard time implementing it and you are pushing the limits of poor old WordPress.
Of course, by that time you realize that you’ve spent twice as much time as you’d initially planned and because of that there is a bunch of client work which must be done before continuing on the website for the firm. Then you realize that you are really late with the website. But, you are thinking out loud – why stop at a simple and usable website?
If you are in a UX-related business, I guess that you can continue this story with various scenarios that you’ve faced internally in your company…
Just a few days ago we realized that we already have a nice and usable website in good shape, with great content including very nice illustrations and visual design, and we asked ourselves once again – why is this thing not already online? Anybody? Well, the answer was obvious: “Because that’s our little baby and we want to be extremely proud of it once it steps outside to face the world“.
But we forget one thing, maybe the most important thing: the baby’s childhood. That’s the period when your website is growing together with your business, but also based on live feedback from your customers and clients. So obviously, you cannot have the perfect website prior to that.
That’s the thing that most designers and creative digital agencies forget when they are working on an internal portfolio or a personal virtual presentation. Just think about it – how many design agencies websites have you stumbled upon, and how many of them had a “website under construction” thing on their websites?
Of course, believe it or not, you can run a successful business without having a website and we are living proof of that. In the beginning we had, in our opinion, a pretty poor website while we were a franchise of a bigger group, and we felt that caused us more harm than good.
That was the main reason we decided to go it alone: as designers, as people who are driven to create a nicer and better world, we could not settle for compromises of that kind. Freedom was the only option for us. After that, we were working for a year on this thing you are looking at right now. For the first time ever, in our own agency, we had to create a web presence for our firm.
But, the firm has now grown to 8 full-time employees and 3 associates. We mostly have similar opinions when it comes to creating great UX for our customers, but when it comes to designing something for ourselves – things are a bit different.
Our design tastes are not the same. Each of us has different views on how our agency should be presented online. Our creative minds are fully overloaded, since there are a bunch of things you can’t experiment with on clients’ projects, but you want them badly on your website.
However, you need to stop at some point, and this is that point. The point after which we are ready to let our baby face for the first time the big, bold world, and to let it grow.
We are aware that this website can be improved a lot. We are aware that we should move that pixel here and there to fit into the grid more nicely. We are aware that there is some hidden typo and that some hover state is probably missing on some mysterious UI element on our website.
But, in the end – we are generally happy with the look and feel of our website. We are extremely proud that we got to this point where I can write you a few words about our website and why you have been waiting for so long. Our baby has been born.
Now we have to be good parents to this website and continue developing and designing it through the coming days, months and years. We have big plans for our agency and we know that this site, after thousands of working hours spent on it, will help us get there.
Of course, the website is not the only thing that will take the credit when our plans are one day realized. Our whole team is responsible for this site and for each and every project created for our clients. Let me introduce you to the passionate people who were working on our website.
Everything starts with Information Architecture and the guy in charge of that was Darko Čenglija. He, together with our CEO, Vibor Cipan, who was the man behind our initial content ideas, concepts and strategy, created several key screens on which we based everything later.
After the IA work was done, we started to work with our UX Passion associate Alen Cvitković on the visual design. Together we had a number of ideas regarding which design approach we would use, but we chose the “swiss-look” design direction which we thought suited everyone here best. It took us months to create mockups for all key screens, since we had a lot of client work in that period and Alen was available for just a small fraction of the time for this project. However, we made it and we finalized the initial design idea, which was then ready for development.
We love WordPress and many of our projects are built on it, so we decided to go with it for our website as well, but we needed a really good guy who would be able to implement all of our crazy ideas. That guy was Mladen Panić who did a really fantastic customization of WordPress and who implemented (almost) all of our ideas. Since we loved working with him, we made him an offer he could not refuse – to join our UX Passion team.
Once all the development was done, we needed a person who could help us turn all our thoughts and ideas into great and vibrant content, who could write down all of our ideas. We already had her in our team (almost exactly for a year now) and she did a great job on our website with fabulously written content. She is Nataly Marinović, our in-house content magician / strategist.
After all that work, we had to look handsome and pretty on our team page, so we chose Elvir Tabaković, a very nice friend of ours, to take a few pictures of us and to make us look professional (without having to play around in Photoshop). Also, David Lovrić created the beautiful illustrations you’ll see on our “Services” pages and through the rest of the website, based on our inputs.
Last of all, there is me. Antun Debak, I’m in charge of the all things creative (well, and not so creative) over here at UX Passion. I’m the one who was spending a lot of the time (sometimes too much) on various details. From the additional IA work, visual design work, interaction design, additional concepts and ideas, the whole project management thing, to client work on a daily basis, and lots of stress and pressure caused by being one of the three founders of a UX design startup. All of that, plus a few more private projects makes me wonder how we ever published our website.
However, we did it. Or at least we think it’s ready to go public, since otherwise we would be celebrating the second anniversary of our independence very soon without having a proper online presence. Our team is proud of what you are looking at right now and what we managed to do with it in the given circumstances. We will not brag about some of the nifty details we’ve created to give our website that special, hand-crafted feel – we will let you discover them on your own.
We are making new deals, growing nicely and carefully by delivering wonderful user experiences worldwide, and we believe that this is one of them. At the end, huge thanks are due to our whole crew, our dear customers and all of you supporting us. This is the new beginning, so let’s see what’s out there. Engage!