A space of trust: how great working relationships make for great websites
A new-generation telecoms company asked us to reimagine their online presence, and the result was rather special.
People often ask us what our perfect project would be. It’s a hard question to answer, but one part is easy: for us, the best missions always involve a client that trusts us to do a great job and has the confidence not to micromanage. And in Ringba, a global telecommunications platform whose website we’re currently creating, we found just such a client.
The guys reached out in search of a partner who would be able to take full charge of the website’s creative development, and within 24 hours of receiving an email from Adam at Ringba we found ourselves in San Diego, sipping sumptuous espresso, mulling over what so far existed of the project’s roadmap, and discussing where, together, we would take it.
Besides being a thoroughly delightful encounter, that meeting gave us a clear insight into precisely where the project needed to go, and what Ringba’s needs were from their online presence in the long term: that it must relax the jaw muscles of a high-end potential customer base, while soberly making sense of the offering. Not an easy task — but Adam’s zeal was contagious.
Just what was the product, though? Well, Ringba is an inbound call tracking and analytics platform for marketers, with no less a mission than to change how businesses connect with consumers. In this lively sector, simply being forward-looking doesn’t cut it — any company wanting to stand out needs to be radically progressive. Naturally, it also needs a website to match.
All in all, it was stacking up to be an ambitious, exhilarating project — the challenges were substantial, but we felt assured of having the time, support, resources, and freedom to meet them in a way that combined complexity with simplicity in just the way we think are most satisfying. It was clear from the off that this would be no standard mission. Rather, this was something really cool: something to get our teeth into. And needless to say, it was not an opportunity to miss.
Let’s be honest: in this life, as it usually goes, nobody wants to have to do more than they have to. For most of us, there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done, and we instinctively reach for the easiest and fasted solutions on offer. In our business, that often means using tried and trusted technologies. And of course, there’s nothing wrong with that — done is better than perfect, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, etc. etc.
But it’s also true that many of the best things in our world have been the result of abandoning this cautious mindset and insisting on something new, different, better. And in this project, that was just what we wanted to do: we wanted to outdo ourselves. And if we say so ourselves, we think we’ve done so. This is a project in which we have had the scope and freedom to institute a truly strategic mindset — and the result is consistency and smoothness that dovetail seamlessly with unexpectedness and originality.
Here’s a bit more about what we’ve done…
In line with our objective of thinking through things afresh and creating an original design solution, we said no to all those standard approaches that infest the Internet these days — like, say, device mockups (actually, stuff like that is rarely our bag anyway, but we rejected it with particular vehemence this time). Nor did we want any part of the motifs or concepts around which telecoms websites are usually arranged. Instead, we dug deeper, presenting the product through a metaphor: an iridescent orb ringed by satellites. The former represents Ringba itself, the latter, its constellation of add-on products: Call Tracking, Interactive Voice Response and Ping Tree (with a number more coming soon). A dark palette speaks of deep space, while soundwaves subtly remind us of the medium with which Ringba exists to work.
Our aim was to create a consistent and well-structured website with its own behavior and its own visual and service components: all told, the component-based approach seemed the way forward. Although this way of doing things demands more time for setup, it lets settings be dialled more precisely — and also helps us change them more easily later on, which makes the product easier to maintain. We poured in a fair amount of time and attention to making sure the architecture we were developing was smart in every way, and would allow everything to be set up just the way the clients wanted it. And our efforts were rewarded: everything works like a charm.
Another important feature in terms of development was massive use of the mechanism-based on ‘lazy loading’ approach, a way of managing the order in which assets load: each asset is assigned its own ‘turn’ for downloading, making for a better user experience by showing users the right way through the website. It was the first time we’d applied this as a fundamental, fine-tuned and comprehensive approach, aimed at giving users a beautifully soft and cushioned landing on the website. On top of this, we carefully shaved every kilobyte we could off each asset — we knew that because there were so many, this could really make a difference. Finally, we trialled different approaches to animation, using SVG animations and Canvas where possible.
And what were we left with at the end of all this? A website characterized by smart architecture, smooth-running and easy to maintain, futuristic in feel, storytelling in approach, and intuitive by design. For us, it represents a sort of digital outer-space world where Ringba, the biggest celestial body, along with its coterie of satellites, facilitates the best possible quality of communication for all inhabitants. We believe we’ve helped the platform’s potential customers see that Ringba is not just an ordinary telecom solution for large and medium-sized companies — it’s an entire system that can completely change and dramatically elevate the way businesses connect with consumers. And, yes: it can help them take down their competition.
The cool thing about working with Ringba was that we had challenges only where we needed them: we were challenged to create a top-level design and then code it in a way that would work as smoothly as it was meant to. And part of what helped us focus on this challenge was that other challenges were absent: those of communication and trust. We’re deeply grateful to Adam for that: he and his team shared their ideas, vision, and passion, always pointed in the right direction — but then trusted us to do our job.
Ivan, CTO at Zajno.
To sum it up: understanding + trust + time = a result everybody loves.
Zajno is currently redoing our website, and the results are stunning. I’ve been mostly hands-off, refusing to micromanage the process, and we’re accomplishing my goals.
The more clearly you can articulate your goals and vision in a ‘result’-based framework, without trying to dictate the artistic details, the greater chance you’ll have of getting something amazing. They think differently about design than most people — in a way I agree with — but that requires trust. If you plan to make a slightly better iteration of a web2.0 website, I think you’ll find resistance in their process. If you’re looking to create something extraordinary, they can do it. It all depends on what you want.
Our project is a risk, it will be very different than the status quo — aggressively different. But that’s our personality, defined as an artistic body of work.
Professionally speaking, they’re responsive, thorough enough, and love what they do. Artistically, they deeply care about their work. Technically, they’re sophisticated enough to do whatever is needed — well.
Adam Young, Founder of Ringba
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