#5 The roll off

Hello friends,

I hope your week is getting off to a smashing start. Mine is starting a little slower since wrapping up a big project last Friday. The bulk of the work was user experience and wireframing for the largest US mattress manufacturer. My client was their digital agency, who was tasked with an overhaul of their website.

As most people know, overhauls aren't necessary in most cases (In fact, John Peele and I launched a whole service around this premise called Re:work). However, in this instance, a teardown and redo was the right call. Here's why:

  1. The business' goals have changed dramatically
  2. The customer's behaviors have changed
  3. The website's content wasn't consistent with the brand's architecture and standards

These major buckets (plus a dozen subcategories) made the case for investing the immense amount of time and money it costs to do a redesign right.

Rebuilds at this scale are always difficult because so many stakeholders and customers have a vested interest in the website. You have the brand's goals at stake (i.e. sales, leads, awareness). Inside the brand are business groups that have their own KPIs to reach. And let's not forget about channel partners and customers, they have goals too.

Whew! That's a lot of people to please.

My job was to work with the content strategist and account team to align the information architecture with the new brand strategy and build wireframes (desktop and mobile) to improve the user's experience in using the new site. This means making the website easy to use and organized in a way that makes it painless for them to purchase a new mattress or find a retailer.

The biggest challenges were making the customer's complex buying journeys simple and keeping the retail channel partners happy.

Projects like these are challenging and fun, but bittersweet.

One reason is often times when working for another agency, NDAs prevent you from ever sharing the work publicly. As is the case this time. The second reason pertains to almost all wireframing work.

Wireframes get thrown in the trash.

I think about this every time I roll off a project like this.

They are the all-important artifact of every website or application built that doesn't make it to the final product. It's like the mold used to make an amazing tool or piece of art. When the cast is set, the mold is broken up and discarded. But without the mold first, the art wouldn't have been as beautiful or tool as useful.

I think this fact is why I love the process of creative work. Show me your sketches, your outlines and first drafts. Let me hear your demos. They show your thinking and how you solved the problem. This is the hard work, before the work the world sees.

Until next time.


David Horne

P.S. Enjoying Mute Math's new record.
P.P.S Been using f.lux to save my retinas from my screen. My eyes are thanking me.
P.P.P.S. Loving the "Letter to My Younger Self" series.

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