Some time ago I announced about the redesign of SOSFactory, my corporative web. It was designed 6 years ago, when I still had no idea about web design. The current design (SOSFactory V1) has been profitable but it has restricted me in many aspects. It´s an involuntary but systematic attempt to break every principle of design.
In the meantime, there were some other redesigns, but none of them came out. I made a big mistake: I wasn´t clear about the reasons for the redesign.
But this time it´s definitive, at the beginning of the year SOSFactory V2 will finally see the light. I´ll tell you the main reasons for the redesign:
1.- I didn´t know the clients, I designed for myself.
When I designed SOSFactory my skills were quite limited. So I designed my web considering my tastes as an user. It was created by an artist, not by a designer.
The problem of this philosophy is it attracts one type of clients characterised by their low chances of success in their projects, regardless of their budgets. This kind of client makes decisions with the heart instead of with the head. No ofense, all of them were great to work with but a big percent of these projects never will be even started, obviously it doesn´t help to promote my services.
Now I do know my clients.
However, every corner of this new version is aimed at the client. Moreover, at a very specific type of client. My objective is to recycle my clients educating them, both directly (by articles and tutorials) and indirectly (acting as a model). And maybe to reach some other clients who appreciate communication strategies above visual impact. I mean, clients who put the reason before the heart.
The objective is to get a good portfolio of successful clients vs portfolio of profitable clients.
2.- I didn´t know my own needs.
Since I didn´t know my clients, I didn´t realise my own needs. SOSFactory V1 main page is a reflection of this fact, it´s just useless. I don´t need such a big news area, neither I need a welcome message, nor those links to my tutorials… everything randomly laid out.
Now I do know my own needs.
SOSFactory V2 is hierarchical. All the elements are distributed according to its relevance. My priority was design above illustration. Every decision has been taken in order to reach these 2 main tasks:
Improve my conversion rate:
- Show my work in the most quick and effective way.
- If the client decides to hire me, he has to find a quick way to do it.
- If the client has doubts, I must offer him some reasons to decide.
- It he finally doesn´t, at least he should enjoy the web and remember me.
Attract my target clients:
- I want to attract a medium-high profile client: design agencies, big corporations, enterprising entrepreneurs with successful projects…
3.- I denied the social side of my job.
At first, I thought a blog would only distract the clients from buying. In fact, I had two different webs: On one hand SOSFactory, my portfolio, on the other hand SOSNewbie, which was my blog, rather a personal than a professional project.
Integrating my blog and my porfolio in just one domain is one of the best decisions I have ever taken since it increased my presence in the net.
Now I understand that the social side is the key.
This step made me understand how important the social factor is in the Internet. So I´m currently very active in the following networks:
The new SOSFactory takes social networks into account. The objective is to improve my social support to improve my brand image. These are secondary objectives, but they´re quite important anyway:
- Keep the users (clients or designers) well informed about possible events, thanks to the up-to-date news.
- Offer resources to my users, through my articles, tutorials or my Youtube videos.
- Promote my profile in social networks.
- Promote my passive income by selling stock designs or premium tutorials.
4.- I didn´t have an identity.
Since I didn´t know my market, or my audience, I didn´t understand my needs, so I could´t have a corporative identity.
In time, I know myself better.
Now I know my own identity, I need a web which reflects my way to interact with the world:
- I´m a businessman more than an artist.
- I achieve my goals, in a simple and funny way.
- I´m a perfectionist, practical, modest and open-natured.
- I´m generous, my success depends on my clients´ success, and the success of everyone who interacts honestly with me.
- I offer good quality service which is worth a decent remuneration.
- I´m honest and I demand the same in exchange.
- I don´t need everybody to like me.
- I believe in hard work above talent.
- I believe in intelligence above aesthetics.
- I believe in facts above words.
5.- I was breaking all the basic rules about usability.
This was the weakest point in SOSFactory V1, I have a brilliant set of utterly silly decisions in this area:
- Instead of emphasizing my logo, y gave priority to this kind of "space" button with links to secondary parts of my web.
- Another epic mistake was using Flash for the navigation bar, just to add some animation and sound, because that was cool!
- The container is optimized for 800x600px resolution, so the content looks too compressed and the text is hard to read.
- The texts are corporative texts, quite generic, so they don´t reflect my personality.
- There is no room to display big images.
- … we could go on and on.
Now I know the basics about usability.
Even though I´m not an expert in this area, it´s one of the aspects of design I enjoy the most. I´m following some interesting blogs about usability, and I think I´ve improved quite a lot in this area.
Everything must be where it has to be, and if it´s not, just change it.
6.- I chose the wrong technology.
As a noob I was, I limited to use what I knew. I used plain HTML with some Flash touches. Templates are restrictive about the design, and the management takes quite long. Each change has to be done page by page.
My new web will be flexible and easy to manage.
The key to build a good website is the intentionality, every small choice must be oriented to a goal, in my case it was atrackting a different kind of client. But before you must know yourself and your market, so you can create the right enviroment, with the right tools.
In the next post I will disclose all the reasoning behind my choices.
And hopefully SOSFactory V2 will be online around middle January.
I hope you guys a great holidays, thanks a lot for your support!