In July we launched an updated website, and we’re pretty darn proud of it!
Show, Don’t Tell
Our prime directive for the site overhaul was, “Show, don’t tell.” Instead of saying what we do, let’s just do it. This is a guiding principle in our work culture as well: collaborating isn’t talking about it, it’s doing it. So, whenever possible, we tried to be who we say we are — in words, pictures, and code.
What did we want to show?
We follow our own process.
While we can’t actually show this, we managed this project as we do all client projects. We didn’t give it special treatment or cut ourselves any slack. Instead, it was given the time, attention, and structure that it deserved — and that the team needed. We designated two people as our “client” and followed our process methodology (I mean, we wrote a book about it, so we should probably respect our own expertise and advice). We produced the same documentation, followed the same review process, and communicated regularly and professionally as the project evolved. As we progressed through each phase, it was insightful to walk in our clients’ shoes, seeing our process and communication from their perspective. (The good news is, we still love our process!)
We know our stuff.
We design and build websites, applications, and environmental installations all day, every day, so what better way to demonstrate the quality and character of our work than by making our own site awesome? Parallax, insanely fast page loading, responsiveness, and amazingly detailed design aren’t sexy things to talk about (okay, maybe responsive design is a little bit sexy), but it’s those little things that make site interactions more meaningful and engaging. We focused on creating a responsive site that flexed to the needs and contexts of our audience and pared down content to what was relevant and interesting. The final site is a true reflection of who we are and what we do.
It seems that many details are only seen when they don’t work. Take, for example, page load times: if a page loads quickly you don’t blink an eye, but if it takes longer than you expect, you notice. We understand this, which is why despite full-screen imagery, parallax effects, and waypoint animations, our page load times are super-speedy-fast thanks to varnish caching. Keyboard navigation and deferred asset loading mean the site is easy to navigate, while subtle design details, like the rotating gears and menu motions, elevate the experience and make it more enjoyable.
Overall we leveraged several different solutions and cool features to strike the effect we wanted — and then tested the crap out of them. Testing is always a vital part of our process from start-to-finish, but the combination of platform developments, responsive design, and our perfectionism required a rigorous approach that our QA team nailed.
It’s important for us that the sites we build balance ease-of-use and engaging features — you can’t sacrifice performance for the whiz-bang effect. But that balance creates a lot of interdependencies. We lived and breathed this balance throughout every step of the project. Every team member was diligent about how front-end and back-end decisions affected each other and the long-range user experience. To help streamline and take advantage of the elbow grease we put into the site, we used the new theme as the boilerplate for future projects on our CMS, the Active Media Manager
People, the ones who use and the ones who create our products, are at the heart of our work. They are the reason we do things the way we do — from our project process to our coding — and they are why we make the decisions we do. To emphasize this, we decided to show work in the wild — on devices that actual human beings are using — not in flat, two-dimensional renderings. The things that we make are used! Out in the world! And we love that!
Curious about the people in the photos? They’re Clockworkers, the not-so-secret sauce behind our work. The full-screen images reinforce how important people are — not just any people, but our people — to the personality and culture here at Clockwork. We want to put faces to names and humanity into the technology we create.
We try to have at least a little bit of fun in everything we do, including our website. There are a few hidden gems throughout the site. We hope you have as much fun finding them as we did hiding them.