Behind the Redesign: Newfangled Turns its Best Practices on its New Website

The folks behind Newfangled have been around the web for a long time—18 years, to be exact. And in that time, they’ve cycled through 10 or 12 different site designs. Those numbers may sound high, but it’s crucial to stay current when you build websites for a living.

Newfangled principals Christopher Butler and Mark O’Brien will both be sharing their expertise on creating effective and engaging websites at HOW Design Live, June 22–26 in San Francisco. HDLlogo

Their most recent redesign, however, needed to address some troubling user feedback. “The previous version of the site was not doing a great job of articulating clearly what it is we actually do,” says Chris Butler, chief operating officer. “Numerous times we had people who believed we weren’t doing any development work.”

Instead, there was a perception that Newfangled had morphed into a publishing company. And while you can easily lose hours exploring blog posts and webinars on the firm’s site, all these goodies exist in the name of content strategy. The insights and advice are there to generate business leads for web development work

To understand and fix this misperception, Newfangled took a usability study approach based on the goals for the site. They led volunteers through an exercise that focused on different objectives. Could they tell what Newfangled actually does? Many couldn’t. Others struggled to sign up for an upcoming webinar. Thankfully, no one had trouble subscribing to the e-mail newsletter.

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These and other insights guided the firm’s new responsive site design. Visit the homepage, and you’ll find yourself face-to-face with a brief description of what the company does: We work with marketing agencies to build conversion-focused websites for their clients. It’s the very first thing you read, and it’s present throughout the site.

Scroll down and there’s a colorful grid that allows you to explore a wide range of content. Click through to watch a webinar on the business development process or read a blog post about effective e-mail marketing messages.

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“Every time you load the page, you get a different display of content across the grid and you continue to delve deeper and deeper,” says Mark O’Brien, chief executive officer (and a workshop presenter at the upcoming Creative Freelancer Conference, June 22–24 in San Francisco). “And explore the wide breadth of content that exists from years and years of creation.”

It’s just one smart way the website responds to user behavior. If you’ve already signed up for Newfangled’s e-mail newsletter, you’ll never be asked to do so again. “We’re going to instantly swap out that form for the next thing we want them to do in their journey with us,” says O’Brien. “We’re always putting options to deepen the relationship with us.”

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This progressive profiling allows the firm to ask for new information from prospects and figure out who might be a good business lead. So when it’s time for that first conversation with a potential client, it’s an informed one. Because just like they do for clients, Newfangled built a conversion-focused website for themselves.

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More Online Learning for Web Designers

Learn more about web design and development with a series of online design tutorials that Christopher Butler and Mark O’Brien of Newfangled have presented for HOW, including:

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