People who know me well personally and professionally will attest to my ability to not force things into place. I don’t force my kids to practice their instruments, I don’t force my wife to eat dessert made with peanut butter (more for me!), and I don’t force a design or other project to completion. I picked up this trait a long time ago; generally I let everything sort of take its course and eventually it works out the way it’s supposed to.
In this day and age, everyone in the creative industry knows that our own web presence is just as important as any other aspect of our business. [blockquote type="blockquote_line" align="right"]Typically when I’m finishing the last 10% of a new site, I am obsessing, adjusting, polishing, getting feedback from the team, and making adjustments based on that feedback. But this time, I had nothing![/blockquote]Potential clients typically form their first impression of us by looking at our site. They rightfully have really high expectations–after all, we are the creatives, right? As a result, those of us in the field usually give our sites a massive overhaul, if not a complete rebuild, about every year to year and a half. It’s actually kind of a pain–who has a chance to stop and allocate the time, resources, money, and energy to what is always a big undertaking? Nonetheless, the best in the business make the time and, as a result, have a competitive edge.
So…around late July 2011 my internal calendar slapped me with the yearly “time to redo the site” reminder and it was time to get things swinging.
Now the problem this year was that I really loved the site we launched last year. It had a lot of characteristics and style that proved to be very successful, so I wanted to keep as much of it as I could while still evolving it forward in the areas I felt were lacking.
If you read last year‘s post “Why digital reaction is down with theme based web design (sometimes)…” then you know that I love to base our own site on a “theme”, an existing framework designed by some of the very best developers in the field. This lets us take a huge chunk of the development cycle out of our internal timelines while still allowing us tons of flexibility from a design and content perspective. That is how we make it our own, and that is something we can’t buy elsewhere.
So away we go–I’m working nights and weekends over the past several months, until it finally gets to the point where it’s within the 90% completion range. This is usually about the time we are all really excited, but…this time, not so much…
Designers are a weird bunch–if we don’t keep ourselves in check we can get really stuck in cyclical patterns about the tiniest details. Typically when I’m finishing the last 10% of a new site, I am obsessing, adjusting, polishing, getting feedback from the team, and making adjustments based on that feedback. But this time, I had nothing! I looked at the site, and while it was good, it just didn’t move me. I don’t know what it was or what it wasn’t, I just knew I had no connection to it whatsoever and no amount of polish would change that. This was about early January, so I decided put it aside for a while and see what I thought when I came back to it. Then I’d address the intangibles, launch it, and finally get on with things…
I stepped away from it, took a break, and then went back to see what I thought. And what I thought was “this totally sucks”. Our clients often hear me say that most of the time it is easier to start something over right than try to fix all the things that are wrong. So I did what any other self-respecting designer would do–I dragged the whole damn thing to the trash!
I immediately began researching new developers, found the perfect theme to use as my base (hats off to Dynamix for building a hell of a framework) and away I went…again. What previously took me almost six months to get to the point that I threw away the whole thing now went from concept to completion to live in just under two weeks! Mind you, it was a two-week bender for sure, but that’s the beauty of this whole thing–when something feels right you can just hop on a wave and ride it out and it’s a blast!
[blockquote type="blockquote_line" align="left"]So I did what any other self-respecting designer would do–I dragged the whole damn thing to the trash![/blockquote]This might sound absolutely insane to some people, but to us it’s just a part of the process. It’s how we keep ourselves sharp, not only for us, but for our clients and partners as well. It’s far from the first time we’ve taken such extreme measures and it won’t be the last. Sometimes you have to build the wrong thing to know what’s right, which is why I dragged those six months of progress into the trash without a second’s hesitation. Just like I knew so many times in the past, I knew the answer was on the other side of the trashcan and I couldn’t wait to discover what it was!
We hope you like what we came up with for 2012, and if you want your web presence handled by a team that literally stops at nothing to make sure every project is the best it can be, drop us a quick note and let’s chat.
And yeah, the freaky redhead chick with “d” tat was all me. Stay tuned, because that’s the subject of a whole other post…