At the end of February, an exciting event occurred: the new Motion Source website went live! Before then, small updates to the site had generally occurred on a monthly basis, but the last time the website was fully overhauled was back in 2014. Over the last four years, we have evolved significantly as a company, and our site no longer felt like an accurate representation of our team, our work, and our capabilities. This project didn’t happen overnight; to be honest, it didn’t even happen over the course of a year either. But it did take a good deal of self-reflection, dedication, and patience to produce a better suited platform and a successful project.
Deciding that we needed a new website was a harsh truth, but Creative Director, Craig Bass, took notice and sprung into action.
“By the time we decided to overhaul the website, our brand had evolved beyond our marketing. I hate to admit it, but our personal marketing materials were no longer anywhere near as sophisticated as those that we were creating for our clients. We realized that we had to approach this like we would a project for one of our clients, through a focused effort of time and brainpower. That was, honestly, the biggest key to completing this project: treating ourselves as the client. It's easy to put off your own marketing when you are focusing on other people’s, but you run the risk, as we did, of one day realizing that the materials that you use to represent yourself no longer mirror your growth.”
So, we teamed up with DJ Esquivel and his crew at DIESELHAUS, a full-service web and app development company. Pro tip: Hire professionals for projects like these. We tell this to our clients about video production too. High-quality marketing materials are key to representing your company well. DIESELHAUS was an invaluable partner for us on this project.
“Our process is simple. We listened to Craig's ideas about what he hoped to have in a new site. Then, we brainstormed on a new look, a new direction. From there, I churned out some initial design concepts. Those went over well and we followed up with a full set of mockups for all of the major page layouts, for desktop and mobile displays. Then, we started building the site within Squarespace. We utilized the Squarespace Developer Platform, creating a custom Squarespace site from scratch with all of the backend CMS functionality they offer. There were some limitations using Squarespace, compared to building a CMS from scratch, but all in all, the pros heavily outweighed the cons.”
Building out a brand new website can be a daunting task. I asked DJ to offer some insight into what companies should consider when wanting to rework their website.
“Start by listing out your goals for the site. Depending on the type of site you're building, these goals could be anything from growing a community to attracting new clients to selling more stuff. Once your goals are established, flesh out a sitemap. Take an early inventory of the content and other assets you'll need. Great content takes time to produce. The sooner you start on this the better. Next, design some mockups for major page layouts. Hone in on the look and feel you're after. Once you nail that down, create a prototype from those mockups."
Even with a great partner and plan in place, we faced some challenges along the way. The biggest challenge was simply finding the time to do it. It's not enough to just decide, "Yes, we are going to have a new website made," and, "We'll work on it whenever we get the chance." You have to set deadlines for yourself and your team--you have to hold yourself accountable. Admittedly, we didn't do a very good job of this at first, resulting in our internal launch date being postponed. But, we learned from our mistake, and began to schedule dedicated, and frequent, website work sessions. With this new approach and mindset, we were able to push through the remaining workload fairly efficiently.
And our favorite parts of the website:
"That's a hard one, possibly too tough to answer! More than anything, I am a fan of the imagery on the site. I love how large the thumbnails are, and am a big fan of the header imagery. A massive part of what we do is create visual content; therefore, being able to showcase this content on the website in such a direct and attractive manner is a major selling point for me. Additionally, I am very proud of the functionality of the site, which is in large part due to the amazing folks over at DIESELHAUS. A pretty website is a must, but if a visitor can't move through the site fluidly, the entire enterprise is sunk. I am constantly coming across websites that look very cool, but leave me uncertain how to perform very simple functions, like find the navigation bar! This is a classic example of form undermining function--a cardinal sin."
"The look and feel of it. As a designer, it's very rare to have the finished product look so close to the original concept. When we hit a riff that rocks, when the look and feel of the site is off the charts amazing, you would think it would end up that way. But, many clients end up butchering a great concept to appease the opinions of too many stakeholders. That didn't happen here. In fact, the exact opposite happened. We arrived at the final destination together and we were all on the same page of how the site should look and feel. Not surprisingly, it still looks and feels as great as the day we agreed on the final design. That's my favorite part!"
And my favorite part? That it’s completed! But in all seriousness, that it feels genuine and true to who we are as a company at this point in our evolution. It took a team to accomplish this project, and it was a very satisfying moment to see it go live. And now, to share with you! We hope you enjoy the new site and keep in mind a few of these insights when planning your next marketing initiative, whether it be a website or video.