To start, some context
By the time I write this article, Pixelmatters is 5 years and 4 months old. Over this period, we’ve grown from a guy working alone into a team of ~30 (and growing) extraordinary individuals, mostly ranging from Designers to Developers to Managers.
So far, we’ve had 3 websites, including the one that is now online. Our first one looked like this:
Let’s pause here for a second, just to enjoy that sub-headline.
Note that, actually, we changed it later, to… “If you think bacon is delicious, wait until you see our work.” — which makes me so proud to read now. It undoubtedly was the most convincing sentence we could ever have. Most likely, this sentence is the reason why we’re doing well today. 🤣
Anyway, by the beginning of 2016, we decided it was time to change again
With this website, we said to the world that we were no more a bunch of guys working in our basement in pajamas. It was one of our first statements as a team and as an actual company. We even had a video showcasing us and what was, back then, our amazing new office which was located (and still is) in the most central avenue of 🇵🇹 Porto: Aliados.
Looking back, it’s clear that this website was instrumental in helping us to get where we’re today.
Fast forward to 2019
Time goes by pretty fast. When a company grows in double or triple of its size, there’s a change in its dynamics. As a result, the definition of success may change, as well as the company strategy and vision. To an extent, that was our case.
We’re incredibly proud of who we are and where we’re coming from. However, in terms of our positioning as a brand and product, some time ago we came to the realization that our website no longer properly showcased who we are and the type/quality of work that we do.
Over this period we had several moments of frustration. We felt that our Marketing was stalled (and it was), we had an “adolescence crisis”, with a subsequent maturity evolution over time, but specifically, we had to pause the progression of our new website several times considering how busy we use to be with client work. Classic, hum? 🙂
The website that we just launched is then the culmination of a process that we’ve started in early 2018.
During these initial discussions, we spoke about the problems observed in regards to our brand, website and company positioning, such as:
- We were regularly perceived as a design-only company. Although we provide both Design and Development services, the latter wasn’t clear;
- Externally, mostly to candidates, we were viewed as the owners of the products showcased on our website. It wasn’t clear that we’re a company that provides services;
- As stated above, our previous website was online for 3 years now. During that period, we’ve grown and evolved as a company. People left and new people came in. We’ve moved offices. We provide more and different services. We work with different tools, technologies and processes;
- The overall look and feel of our website and brand were a bit “juvenile”. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that we once were young and fun and now we are old and boring — No, not that — we’re just a bit more mature now;
- The previous website was launched with ~6 case studies… and that was it. Over the time it was live, we didn’t actually publish any new case study, because the effort to actually produce and add a case study to the website was a very time-consuming process. Not simplifying this process is a common mistake when creating your own portfolio website.
The list goes on, but these ☝️ are the core problems we felt.
This exercise was the foundation for the solutions we had found. It was key to make this happen and therefore create a solid execution process, transversal to the whole company. Here’s what worked for us:
- By having specific team-members assigned to the project, that are time-blocked and therefore not available for client work for a determined period of time;
- Related with the latter, we’ve also come to the conclusion that it needs to be a collective effort as much as possible. For instance, each case study should be made by the team that was responsible for its execution;
- Created a repeatable and easy to understand process to generate new case studies, specifically the creation of an actual Brief. Includes a kick-off meeting, a brainstorm, and making an initial raw Wireframe so the Designer knows exactly what to do;
- Strategy to simplify the management and maintenance of our Portfolio. The best example of this is the Project detail page that was thought and executed to be an extremely, extremely simple template. Title, description, image, repeat 🔁 . That guarantees we’re able to produce a new project within a very reasonable amount of time.
With all the above in mind, conceptually and from a company strategy perspective, our vision was and is to:
- Showcase quality with simplicity;
- Reflect the growth of Pixelmatters: strength, experience and maturity. Bigger, more challenging projects, with multidisciplinary teams associated with those;
- Total focus on two main goals: converting a potential customer into a Lead, and getting talented people to get interested in working with us;
- Equally balance the Design and Development services exposure, considering we provide both. Specifically, we wanted to bring more clarity not only to the fact that we do Development but also to how we do it: which tools, technologies, frameworks;
- Last but not least, and above everything else, we wanted our website to be a display, allowing to shine as much as possible what really matters: our Work.
Our main goal was and still is to continue to make justice to our own name: Pixelmatters — Every pixel matters. To us, that means doing things right, with top-notch quality and super attention to detail.
Overall, this was what we’ve gone through — It took us 1+ year, but we’ve learned a lot during the process. We’re happy to share it, as hopefully, it will be helpful for other teams going through the same kind of challenges.
As you can tell, this website is a huge milestone for us. We’re hoping it shows the world the company we are today and the quality of the work we do.
Still, we’re more than open to receive any type of feedback. Please send it along and feel free to be brutally honest! 🙂 We’re summing it all up to address in one of the next rounds of iterations.
To conclude, and on a personal note, I couldn’t be more happy to be able to work with the talented team that made this happen. I’m super proud of what we’ve achieved so far, and even more excited about the future! 🔥