How we fell out of love with our old website

This blog post was written about our old website which we have now replaced with the website you are currently viewing!

In summer 2015 we launched a new website to replace the one we had in place since 2011.

We replaced it for all the sensible reasons: it looked dated, it wasn’t responsive (we were really late on this having been so busy with clients – ‘Cobbler’s shoes syndrome’ we shall call it), and it didn’t really reflect what 1minus1 was as a business any more.

But when we finally updated our website, we got it wrong. We got it spectacularly wrong. We tried to make a website that made our work the main focus; that showed the wide variety of clients we have and the different types of work we do in websites, applications and mobile. We achieved that, but what we also ended up with was a website that looked and felt like everyone else’s. We removed all personality from the equation, and mixed ourselves in with businesses that don’t offer the kind of work that we offer. Most critically, we failed at doing something for ourselves that we succeed again and again at for others.

The difference between our 2015 website and our 2011 website was startling. The 2011 iteration was stock full of ideas – ideas that many companies copied and iterated on in their own new websites. We won awards and we made a name for ourselves. The 2015 one looked quite nice. We let ourselves get away from what made people choose us – personality, difference, inventiveness. Our new website lacked all of those elements and we fell into a trap that I have felt websites have been falling into for years: we made a website that looked like every other website. We no longer stood out, and I hate that we did that to ourselves. I’m so tired of all websites looking the same. It’s not enough. Certainly not for us.

So this year, we decided to replace the website in order to fix all the things that we had got wrong, and we tried to do it within some particular constraints. Our plan was to write a simple business objectives document that made no comment on design itself and only on what we needed to achieve as a business. I wanted the team to run it like a true client project – the kind of project we make a success of all the time. (We may make that requirements document available for anyone to see in our post-launch blog if people show any interest.)

So where are we now? We are a week away from launching a new website, and whilst there is a still a while to go, we believe we have created something that makes our little objectives document a reality. We’ll be doing a few things around social media this week to introduce the site, and then will launch on Monday.

It’s exciting for me to find out whether the new website will mark a new dawn for the 1minus1 brand, and if it can reach out of the crowd and offer something different. As much testing as you do, you only truly know what you have achieved once you launch and get your full audience feedback. What I can say now, is that at the very least when people visit our site they must see that we have something special to offer. Because we know we do.

Jonathan Hill, Founder, 1minus1

Jonathan Hill