OK, we know, it's a bit self-regarding to write a blog post about our own new website, but these things don't come along every week!
I think if you asked anyone who develops websites if they're happy with their own website, they'd probably pull a slightly pained expression and say that the new one will be along soon. Unless their new one was launched less than a couple of months ago, in which case they probably still love it.
Things move so fast in our world that we'd all ideally have a new website every six months, but it never makes sense in a small agency to commit the necessary resources to a new website that frequency, when clients' needs are always a higher priority.
So, what generally happens is that there's an ongoing occasional dialogue in the office about how our next website should be, and notes are made and recorded. But every time it's mentioned, there's also a wry smile about the likely delivery date. (I'm sure this is very familiar to the other agency guys reading this!)
What did it take to kick us into getting the latest generation of www.webreality.co.uk into an acceptable state for live? A real, hard deadline - namely, our appointment to speak at IRX2013 last week.
The previous version had always been a temporary measure, conceived specifically to make sure that we were practising what we were preaching in terms of embracing responsive design. It was the first responsive digital agency website in Jersey, but - ironically - came after we'd already built several responsive websites for clients. But, despite its perpetual temporary status, it received a lot of praise for its simplicity.
Priorities in the brief for the new website?
1. Push responsive design even further.
2. Add colour.
3. Keep it simple, but add more and friendlier detail about what we do and examples of our work.
4. Get our faces on there, despite what they look like. (Sorry Lindsey, not you.)
5. For those readers of a technical bent, make sure that our tech tools and skills are obvious, especially the wonderful Umbraco CMS.
6. Sort out the blog, and do more blogging.
The overall aim was to open up a bit more. We are often told that what people like best about us is the relationships they build with us. We wanted the new website to let those human relationships start sooner - the moment someone visits our site for the first time. Because our typical website user isn't really interested in whether we can do good technical work - we wouldn't still be here if we couldn't. We know they're more interested in the kind of work we've done, for whom, and what we're like to work with. I think the new site is a big step forward in that respect.
Two days after it went live, Dave, Mark and I had a meeting with a new client in Birmingham. To our absolute delight, he told us how helpful our brand new "What we do" page had been to him in determining his next steps in his web strategy. Instant positive feedback - perfect.
Now we have to hope that it continues to be fit for purpose until we can muster the time and resources to do it all again. Which will probably be too long after we fall out of love with it!
So if you see one of us in three months time, ask us what we think of our website...
(Incidentally - photo credit to the awesome Andy Le Gresley for making us all look human!)