Practicing What We Preach

Matthew Smith
C2 Team Member Alumni

Our old website wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great, either. More importantly, it wasn’t us. One of The C2 Group’s founding principles is to create meaningful web experiences, something which shouldn’t be exclusive to our clients alone. After all, if we can’t create a web experience of our own, how can they expect the same in return?

Screen grab: The C2 Group's Old Website Design

While there were several areas needing improvement, our old site still provided some invaluable lessons in moving forward with the new one. For example, it reinforced our belief in a process we’ve established when it comes to our clients and producing meaningful work. As we’ve evolved, so has that process. Making sure we clearly understood the pain points from previous projects goes along way toward more successful ones in the future. This is a big part of our culture at C2. Our teams will learn from the hurdles they’ve overcome, and our process will only keep getting better.

So, when it came to time to begin work on our new site, one of the first steps we took was to gather a team of dedicated employees with no prior experience with the old site. This provided an objective approach to the project. The team was tasked with treating our leadership team as any other client, which meant applying our process and including scheduling a discovery session, setting deadlines and following through until we get the content we needed.

Below, I've detailed some key components to our process:

  1. Discovery
    Just like any other project we take on, we had to start by getting into the heads of the client (C2 leadership) to truly understand their view of the company and their vision for the future. The discovery session included a rehashing of C2's mission, a card-sorting workshop, benchmarking of key ideas and interactions, assessment of target audience and many other processes we use to understand who we’re working for.
  2. User Personas
    This project wan’t just about creating a cool web presence for our company. It needed to be a tool to showcase our expertise and a resource for external users to find exactly what they need to make an informed decision. This required a well-thought-out set of user personas so that we had a solid foundation for making design, user experience and development decisions. We didn’t know it at the time, but this became one of the most important tools for the success of this project. And thanks to our user experience, we had a great set of personas to work with. One reason these were so important is because when you’re ultimately working for yourselves, it pays to have a constant reminder of who the real user is. Sometimes, it's easy to forget it’s not you.
  3. Concepts
    Having pinpointed the major goals and target personas the new site would address, we moved on to the concepting phase. This included mood boards to help develop a style guide and informal use-flow sessions to strategically look at the placement of content to streamline the experience.
  4. Design and Development
    Next was the creation phase, where we utilized an agile approach to design, develop and QA the new site one page at time. This required clear communication within the team so that any issues could be addressed quickly and misunderstanding would be minimal. The other major factor often underappreciated in a team is trust. We had to trust one another to make intuitive decisions and log tickets for things that just didn’t seem right. This is most apparent in the microinteractions that can be seen across the site. These were passed along and expertly implemented by our IP wizard, Jon Cuthbert.
  5. Launch
    After all the hard work and planning, the big day finally arrived. This is when the real rewards kick in: presenting your new site to the company, seeing the reaction from leadership and knowing all the hard work has paid off. And it's no different if it were any of our clients. We’re successful because of our carefully crafted company culture and the expertise of the individuals whom make it up. Having a website accurately represent us and our abilities to our clients was the end goal, because that’s how we deliver meaningful experiences.

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