Lab Notes

Launching Your Company Website is a Never-ending Goat Rodeo

Launching a new company website is challenging as hell. Especially at a creative shop where everyone is well-informed and has a strong opinion. Every brainstorm, check-in, and review has the potential to stall the process. Design by committee threatens to dilute the final product through dozens of compromises. It’s hard to be bold and clear when you’re trying to please everyone at the office.

This time around we wanted to skip the goat rodeo and do things differently. We wanted to update the GoKart site to better reflect our brand, our work, and the ways the company is growing. Most importantly, we wanted to change how we thought about the process of keeping our digital touchpoints – the site, the social handles, the content we put out – up to date. We tipped the process upside-down, and started thinking about our site like a digital product. Our new site is not the end, but the beginning of a process to better share with the world who we are. Here’s what we did.

We Shrunk the Team to Start-Up Size

Our last website update was the product of the all-too-typical “who has time to create the website” strategy. This time we created a small Ghostbusters-like product team that will stay committed to continually updating the site. Rather than stalling until every detail was etched in stone, we re-launched the website with a small dedicated team that has created a roadmap of features that we want to build and hone. The team size helped us ignore all of the noise and compromise that tends to sneak into the work. It’s sort of like starting with a garden, instead of a whole farm (maybe you’ve heard us say that before).

We Are Managing it Like a Living Product

We turned our small group into a product team instead of a project team. The product team really unlocked the process, pushing us to launch something small today instead of wading through revisions and launching in another year. The product team is responsible for business results – new candidates, new signups to Lab Notes, generating inquiries – instead of just completing the project. They are set up to do an ongoing series of sprints to continually put new stuff out there. A year from now, the site and our various digital touchpoints should be richer experiences and work even harder for us.

Updating a site is an unwieldy task. We began by choosing “mobile first” as our guiding principle. Our analytics showed a ton of our traffic comes from mobile and we wanted to build our site structure with content in mind. Another kickass fact is that we built all of our responsive breakpoints based off the screen sizes and devices that were most-viewed (sorry Windows phone). Basing the roadmap from data gave us confidence and purpose.

We Built a Structure, Not a Sculpture

Our new site isn’t huge but we built it to grow. The framework we created gives us the power to continually change and build more features into the site. The website architecture was created to be simple and extremely flexible because we know it will have to accommodate more types of content in the future. Said another way, we built a site we could add to without breaking it all to shit.

Launching a new company website is hell, but it doesn’t have to be. Today, we are excited to announce that a new GoKart Labs site has launched. We are even more excited to keep building it into the beautiful creature it will become.

Tate is a master of her craft and has the mindset of a great director, spotting aesthetic opportunities from miles away. She builds bridges internally and with her clients, but won’t hesitate to kick your ass if she needs to: in the boxing ring, on the roller derby track, in a head-to-head design smackdown, just name the time and place.

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