Welcome to our new website–version 4.0. This redesign began as an experiment with a new platform, Squarespace, which had been mentioned to us by a colleague. While we have designed sites in CMS's like Wordpress and Concrete 5; coded sites from scratch in HTML an CSS; and designed more complex sites in Photoshop to be built by professional developers, we still at times struggle to find an ideal platform for smaller budget-minded retail clients.
We wanted a platform that provided a clean but flexible foundation to customize smaller sites. Something that would take a lot of the hassle of dealing with hosting and basic site structure setup out of our hands, and allow us to do what we do best: design a clean, appealing visual presentation; develop a smart and well structured content structure; and hand off to the client an easy to understand and manage interface and hosting system. We wanted enough access to the code to be able to finesse the typography, spacing, colors, and graphics, without having to delve deeper into code than we are comfortable with, or have to outsource to a developer.
In short, we wanted a platform that allowed us the hands-on control over every stage of the project that we enjoy with print design.
From that standpoint, we like what we see. There will still be sites for which Wordpress is preferable, and there will still be large, more robust sites for which we will still feel more comfortable handing off the site building duties to a developer. But for a certain segment of the market: smaller businesses, restaurants, visual artist portfolios, and others, Squarespace seems like an ideal fit.
As far as our new design, we went for a very stripped-down look, and spent a lot of time rescanning or resizing our past work samples, to allow for a larger and clearer presentation of our work. We also went for a much less copy-heavy, and more visual home page. While the old home page worked well from an SEO point of view, it was much too busy. We are hopeful that moving the text for each category of work to the individual pages will work just as well for SEO, and will allow for a much cleaner, and more effective home page design.
We also went for scrolling over clicking. We are of the mind that unless you are a business that benefits from encouraging additional clicks, that it is much more of an annoyance to have to click through work than to scroll, especially on mobile platforms. The new design allows potential customers to choose a category of work they are most interested in, and then just scroll through examples at their own pace. They can then click to other categories.
And yes, the site is fully responsive, meaning it automatically resizes to whatever screen its viewed on. This is something else that Squarespace pretty much takes care of without us having to spend time writing css specs for various screen sizes. And its critical in this mobile-centric age that your website be fully compatible with every possible devise a customer could be viewing it on.
Take a look through the new site, and let us know what you think.