Responsive website design and digital brand development for a leader in branded content.
In the fall of 2016, we met to Polar through a mutual acquaintance we’ve worked within the past. At the time, Polar was ramping up for a complete digital rebrand and custom responsive website design and build. We got together at Polar’s downtown Toronto office for an initial discovery session and outlined key project goals from which we could collectively work to achieve.
Establishing Our Design Goals
- A slight refresh of their existing logo – the logo design was functional and recognised within the industry. Our role was to provide some minor alterations to help balance the logo and make it a little more cross-media friendly. We achieved this by scaling back the icon to no longer overshadow the wordmark and adjust the spacing within the elements of the icon to offer a clearer representation and smaller sizes.
- A complete website redesign and development – this was the bulk of the project. Polar has got by for a while using a purchased template on a popular website builder but lacked the flexibility to create a fully branded and controlled experience for their audience. Now ready to break free from the shackles of web builders, we opted for a responsive redesign and custom WordPress website offering Polar unprecedented control over their website and digital brand.
- A complete rebrand of marketing materials – as a key player in the branded content market, Polar is very active in publishing blog articles, downloadable resources, and presentations. Following the successful web design and deployment, we carried the new digital brand and style throughout the marketing assets to create a consistent user experience for the audience.
Our Design Process
Strategy and Research
As with just about every website redesign project, we began our initial strategy and research with a thorough review of the existing website’s Google Analytics. Through this design research, we established a baseline to measure the success of the new website against as well as identified areas of the website that was most popular among visitors and those that were underperforming and creating issues with user flow or conversion. We also measure other metrics like page speed performance and mobile responsiveness to create a complete of the existing website and how people are interacting with it. Once we were able to identify these markers, we began to come up with our website conversion strategy for the new website design and started piecing everything together.
In addition to reviewing the existing website analytics, we also took some time to get acquainted with competitor marketing by examining Polar’s top competitor websites. With a better understanding of the competition, we were able to immerse ourselves in the industry and better understand the search engine marketing and design style we were competing with.
Following our initial research into current website performance and the competitive market, we began our in-depth business analysis and started creating mood boards. Through a series of fun questionnaires we’ve designed, we compiled a database of actionable design and functional feedback from which we drew inspiration for the creative phase. By putting in the legwork early on in the project, we limited the need for multiple design concepts and reduced the number of design revisions necessary later on, saving our client time and money.
Next up was the design of the new site map. In the site map, our goal was to identify all pages within the new website plan, where these pages will live in the overall architecture and how each page will connect and communicate with the others. By this stage, everyone involved had a rock-solid understanding of the direction we were heading, and we quickly moved ahead with the changes to the navigation and into wireframing.
During the wireframing stage, the website began to take shape. Through this exercise, we worked closely with the Polar team to build out the new page architecture and organise page content and information to create an optimal user flow and develop a road map that we could follow throughout the design of the website. We have a nifty prototyping tool that allowed all team members from both Polar and Parachute Design to collaborate, comment, sketch and discuss changes in real-time on the wireframes as well as click-through the wires to understand the new user experience and website interface in context.