As announced in our official press release, SIMmersion launched a redesigned website early this month. The project was challenging yet rewarding for Web Developer Nicolas LoGiudice, who described his design choices in an interview in advance of the press release.
Here’s the full interview, slightly edited for formatting.
- How would you describe the impression you wanted the new site design to have on users?
In this new age of rapid information exchange,1Y0-256 you only have seconds to engage a new user, and hopefully, keep them interested enough to browse your full site. My goal was to modernize SIMmersion’s web presence, equaling the quality of our technology and products. I wanted it to be extremely clean and easy to navigate and read; nothing should overwhelm or scare the user away. I also wanted the site to translate well to any browser, screen size or device.
- What are some specific technical choices you made to create that user experience?
With so many phones, tablets and other portable devices in the market, responsive design was a must. Taking this into consideration, I wanted to utilize frameworks that would allow me to design for any viewing size – without a loss of resolution or content.
I used Bootstrap 3.0 as my core framework, which includes many common web design schemas/tools/libraries (jQuery, CSS3, HTML5). Starting on this base, I added several libraries to aid other requirements: FontAwesome to assist with scalable iconography, retina.js to help with iPad display, and a myriad of other libraries to help with smooth scrolling, animations and browser fixes. In development, I utilized various programs to assist with the creation and distribution of the new site: Visual Studio, Photoshop, Illustrator, Edge Animate, FireBug and Filezilla just to name a few.
As far as actual design decisions, I went with the modern conceptual choice of large, wide, full-screen sections. This choice was based off of several factors:
- Ability to translate to any browser, screen size or device.
- The common usage of larger and wider screens (the old defacto design scheme was 940px in width, which is just far too small for the average widescreen monitors most people use now.)
- In keeping with newer trends– widescreen design is being used by innovative and modern companies in the newest designs across the web. SIMmersion’s technology is cutting edge, and we need our presence to be cutting-edge as well.
- How does the design relate to SIMmersion’s mission and/or the overall image we want to project to users?
SIMmersion’s technology is complex and sometimes hard to understand at first glance. I wanted to project a simple, clean and easy image with the new design to help compensate for the complexity of the underlying technology. Also, while SIMmersion is a very serious company, we still want our products to be fun and engaging, so that was taken into consideration as well.
- How do people tend to look for information when they visit a site?
Users usually start in the middle to upper left of the page, and then track to the right, unless something else grabs their attention. With the landing page, I used this basic concept to lay out the information in a logical manner. The site navigation is also laid out in such a manner (starts with the most important links on the left.) I also made sure that the user would be able to get to any and all of the site pages easily, so I included a full footer with all of the site links, as well as page-specific navigation to ease the exploration process.
Delving deeper into the design, there is a consistent language across the whole site, starting with a title or heading, then a tagline that acts as a summarization of the content, and then the content itself, in small, easy to read portions. This way the user would be able to get the1Y0-259 message of each section clearly and quickly.
- SIMmersion.com draws a really varied audience, from parents of autistic children to doctors to generals looking us over before a briefing. How did all the different kinds of end-users we serve with our products enter into the design?
This concept was a challenge. Having to design for commercial space and military/government space in the same scheme is extremely difficult. Luckily, as far as language, I had help from the SIMmersion team (COO Laura Boteler Humm and Script Engineer Ben Allen-Kingsland). As far as the design, I tried really hard not to alienate any demographic while still adhering to a firm theme.
I used a strong color palette, but simple colors: whites, blues and gold as an accent. Blue and white are comforting colors, as well as ‘corporate’ colors, so they work well in all fields. A lighter theme with strong, crisp colors lends itself to a clean, modern style, which was one of my main design goals.
- What was the biggest challenge in doing this overhaul? How did you get past it?
As with any overhaul, even deciding where to start is a challenge. The former SIMmersion.com had over 85 separate pages, with extremely dense wording, numerous overlaps in sections – the list goes on and on. Deciding where all the information should “live” was the first big challenge.
I knew I had to really think critically over how to organize all of the disparate information found on the former site, so I began that process before I wrote a single line of code. I have two whiteboards on either side of my office, and I drew the old site, with all of its links and sections on one side, and then the new design on the opposite wall, and spent several days constructing a new, clean hierarchy. I was given the distinct requirement of not removing any information that was found on the old site, so that was another variable which made this process challenging.
- What are you most proud of about the new site?
This project marked my first time creating and publishing animations for the web. While at times extremely difficult to integrate, especially given the responsive nature of the site and the amount of devices that could potentially be viewing the site, the animations were extremely rewarding when finished. Due to their time consuming creation process, there are only several on the site currently. As time permits, I hope to add more to illustrate some of our more technical concepts.
I’m also really proud of the rest of the Technology page in general. I created all of the imagery and iconography from scratch, and I think the flow, color palette and layout make it extremely fluid and easy to follow.
Congratulations to Nick on all his work on the new SIMmersion.com!
Questions for Nick, or thoughts on the new design? Leave a comment below.