The original Henry & James website was designed more than seven years ago. It has stood the test of time, but it was time for a refresh. The new website went through many stages until it was officially unveiled earlier this month. Nitesh Mody, founder of Moot Design, was the driving force behind the new, fully-responsive site. Here he describes his design inspirations and advice for anyone planning to re-launch their own website in 2018.
Q: Tell us a little about yourself and Moot Design?
A: I founded Moot in 2001 to bring all my knowledge and passion into one place. We set out to be an ideas-based agency, specialising in design, marketing and advertising. So we ensure that our clients’ brands are at the centre of everything we do.
We have had the privilege to work with many luxurious and prestigious brands over the years, including the NHS, EMI records, Vivienne Westwood, Investec and Nokia.
That is how we first started working with Henry & James, nine years ago, and have worked with them ever since.
My partner, Dee, joined in 2010 as our New Business Director and together we have grown our in-house team of designers, developers and strategists.
Q: What are you most proud of on the new site?
A: It has the combination of beauty, elegance, motion and most importantly functionality. I feel that the new website reflects the clients’ lifestyles and encourages them to take a look around.
Q: How has the website changed?
A: The original website has served Henry & James well, but we felt that change was needed. It was designed about seven years ago. The new site is fully-responsive and makes good use of beautiful, high-res imagery. It allows the user to explore the areas that Henry & James specialise in.
We expect 70% of people to visit the site from their mobile devices, so it was very important that the site gave the same experience on phones/tablets and was simple to navigate.
Q: How important were visuals?
A: When we work with clients, our visuals are very close to the final product created. It was of the upmost importance to find the right imagery to convey the correct look and feel for the site.
Q: How long did the site take to design?
A: From the initial brief – to going live, it took six months.
Q: What was the biggest challenge?
A: There was one major challenge: getting the right balance between design and technology. We succeeded thanks to getting the early visuals right and using the newest technology to enhance the user experience.
Q: Any design inspirations?
A: We looked at many premium websites and vitally where the web is going in the future. We wanted the new site to stay fresh and current for as long as possible. We are particularly proud of the completely new slideshow, showcasing Henry and James’s services.
Q: What were the priorities?
A: Usability was one of the main objectives. We assessed the online estate agency market, looking at the big players online. Yet, the overriding priority was to create a clean and simple design. That was the brief from James Bailey, Chief Executive of Henry & James. This simplicity flows through from the navigation menu, to the individual property pages; quality and imagery go hand in hand. Another factor that was at the forefront, was how the website could grow.
Q: For anyone thinking about launching a new website, what are the two signs it is time to invest in a new site?
A: Generally, you can tell if you need a new website by how it is responding on mobile devices, speed is crucial. Another is if the look and feel is in line with the company’s current brand positioning. If the site is not ticking those boxes, it is time for change.
Q: How should people plan a new website?
A: It sounds obvious, but use a good agency from day one. It is worth the investment and they will be taken through a process that delivers the best outcome.
It is key that users get the same experience from a website as they would if they met you in person.
Q: Any advice to anyone thinking of re-launching their website?
A: Ask why? Don’t just re-launch a site because everyone else is doing the same. There needs to be a compelling reason. The key is to refresh the technology and create a site that moves with the times. Consumers’ needs are changing all the time. The role of the agency is to stay up-to date, balancing style, inspiration and performance.
- Moot Design is an award winning creative agency, specialising in design, print and new media. They offer free consultations, to help improve brand image across all media. For more information, visit mootdesign.com.