Something New

We recently delivered two projects for two totally different companies with very different goals in mind. The first, an E-Commerce Startup and the second, a Product Management Consultancy Firm.

Although you’ll be able to read a quick overview of each on the Projects page, I thought it would be nice to give you a slightly different insight than the usual ‘Who, What, How’. In this first part, we’re going to talk about Subsmart.

Subsmart

Subsmart is an exciting Startup from London who are focused on helping Students find the best deals around. After a year of great results, they asked us to help them improve the performance of their website and in the process, give it a redesign as well.

Subsmart - Redesign

Repurposed

They started off with a simple WordPress/WooCommerce setup, purchased a theme and configured it themselves. They were able to create an MVP and take it to market. It’s exactly what every entrepreneur/startup should do!

We took that setup and rebuilt the layouts, tweaked the performance and gave the site a redesign (more on that later).

First of all, we reused the same theme they originally purchased. Why waste the money and the knowledge the team had already acquired? These themes are usually well supported and have a whole community of people using them.

We then looked into really giving the site a power boost. Now, there are countless articles around the internet discussing tips and tricks for this, but by large the key indicators are:

  • Keep number of plugins to a minimum
  • Optimise Images
  • Minify Code
  • Utilise Caching
  • Limit HTTP Requests

Note: One drawback of purchasing an online theme is that by their very nature, they have to be versatile which means more often than not, they are usually full of scripts and styles that provide functionality that you may not even be using, but are still loading in the background.

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Rethought

After a year of providing subscriptions, the Subsmart team analysed their customers, products and services and realised they needed to expand their offering to students without breaking the bank.

To help them achieve this, we integrated their shop with Amazon Associates. Now they can provide students with a carefully curated selection of items from the tens of thousands on sale at Amazon.

Another idea they wanted to look into was an online Forum. Forums are an excellent way to increase user interaction, in fact; once you generate enough conversation, user’s will come back on their own accord and add their own content.

The more you interact, network and build relationships, the more traffic and sales you’ll get

Redesigned

The final piece of the puzzle was, of course, the redesign. We worked really closely with the in-house design team to create a whole new look for Subsmart. This included:

  • Logo x 2
  • Favicon
  • Font
  • Colour Scheme
  • Website Layout

Subsmart

Unfortunately, I won’t be able to go into detail for all of the aforementioned items (although you can probably expect a post from Subsmart that probably will). However, I will talk about the layout changes.

We had one clear goal: simplify everything as much as possible.

It’s funny, we all strive for design, performance and usability; but more often than not, they all go hand in hand. Designing a clean, simple UI will make it easier for people to use and take less time to load up.

To kick things off, we analysed the current site, established the content hierarchy and created an Information Architecture. This helped us remove a lot of noise and unwanted content that was previously there.

We then put together a layout that was blindingly obvious, easily distinguishable and a treat to navigate through. You’ll know exactly where you are, what the purpose of that section is and how to progress to the next part of the site.

To complement the simplicity, we increased the use of white throughout the site, with bold colours to distinguish sections and finally added a new font to remove any legibility issues.

We thoroughly enjoyed working on this project. The Subsmart team are a bunch of really talented guys and we can’t wait to continue working with them in the future.

The new Subsmart website will be launching at the end of March 2017 so keep an eye out for that.

Don’t forget to check out some of the other Projects we’ve worked on and please get in touch if you think we can help your company in the same way.

Rumman Amin

Senior Project Manager at Government Digital Service