Written by Joel Dodd
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08 Aug 2018  |  Culture

Designing A Website For Growth

5 minute read

I’m Joel, Paddle’s first Designer in Marketing. One of the most recent and biggest projects I’ve completed since joining Paddle is re-designing the website, something which was a bit of a mammoth task. It took several months, involved a lot of people and it didn’t solely focus on the performance of the site. So why did we do it?

Why did we redesign the website?

One of the most important plans for our future is growth especially within hiring and inbound marketing; our website had to accommodate this. To achieve those goals, we needed to improve several things on our site.

We had to create a strong visual first impression to potential sellers to stand out amongst our competitors. Our goal was to develop a unique visual language that differentiates us and that could grow, scale and adapt with our company. We needed a blog that had a great user experience that could house in-depth content that was easily readable and accessible. We needed a careers section that gave people an understanding of the culture and teams in Paddle. We needed a clients page to create confidence to potential sellers that Paddle was the right solution. We needed a lot of things… all of which were obvious signs that it was time for a redesign.

How did we do it?

Phase 1: The blog

Unlike most web design projects, we didn’t start with the most visited pages first. We organized the design phases according to Paddle’s business needs. At the time we started this project, it was important to redesign the blog to improve the readability and layout. New articles and guides were being written on a weekly basis and the previous website didn’t have a design which accommodated this. We also wanted to improve the overall user experience. To do this, we developed a design that was more closely aligned to a more typical blog layout and added a new sub navigation that helped users to switch between content categories.

Following several iterations of wireframes, we began introducing new UI elements and several new type styles, which also set the precedent for styling other areas of the site. Typography was a primary focus for the blog section. We did this by expanding on the font family, adding a condensed heading style along with more emphasis styles to attract attention within the content. We also introduced new call-to-actions which we focused on making unobtrusive to the user’s reading experience. The last thing we wanted to do was bombard the user with marketing messages when the content alone could sell itself.

View our Blog here

Blog wireframes

Early design concepts

Final design

“We write a lot of content, using our data and experience of helping software companies run and grow for the last 6 years. Making it comfortable to read, displaying graphs and code in a beautiful way, all of this has had a big impact on engagement with our content and a lot of positive responses with our sellers – without even changing one word we’d written” – Octave, Head of Marketing

Phase 2: Company & Careers

Following the design of the blog, we moved onto creating a new careers and about section. The next business need was to help grow the company from 40 to 140 people in a matter of months. Our previous website was built when we were one big team of 25 people and focussed on company culture as a whole rather than individual departments. The new design has a different approach. We developed new team-focussed pages to display more specific content around the hiring process, values and culture in Paddle. Each page has a different message and gives a much more clear insight into what it’s like working in each department.

During this phase, we consulted with all department managers to gain an understanding of what it meant to be a member of each team and asked them to contribute to the content on the page. We also thought carefully about how we could connect this to the new blog section, linking to relevant culture posts providing an insight into life at Paddle. Designing these pages was also a great opportunity to do a new photoshoot of each growing team in our newly expanded office.

Checkout our Careers page here

Wireframes

Final design

“It’s great to have a website that outlines what it’s like to be a part of Paddle. My favourite part of the new website is that you have a holistic view of each department. You can see how a day or a week would look like for you and how you can grow and develop your career as a part of Paddle” – Georgiana, Talent Acquisition Manager

Phase 3: Illustrations

Following the new two sections, we focussed on restyling the primary pages. In order to assist with growth in inbound marketing we created a new visual language. One of the issues we found with the previous site was that people didn’t initially always understand the scope of what Paddle did. As a business, we have a very unique way of approaching things. For example, we are not payments company that has a list of other features – we bring peace of mind to our sellers and we help them to grow as a business by taking care of everything that happens between their products and their customers. In order to assist with explaining this, we introduced illustrations as a tool to convey emotional benefits of using Paddle.

Our external illustrator Ian Wilson, assisted us in developing a unique character style. A style that distinguishes us from the competition by showcasing our unique brand personality. Elements of the illustrations, such as the cat, helped our brand to present a consistent visual theme across all our marketing collateral whilst opening our image to be more playful and fun. Using illustrations on our website has given us a scalable design language that can explain Paddle’s complex ideas, developing as we iterate on our marketing messages and provide the company with lots of new swag.

Early illustration concepts

Unify illustration

“Our new set of illustrations is the emerged tip of the iceberg: they are conveying the personality of our brand, and offering an alternative way to grasp what our mission and vision are about” – Marion, Marketing Manager

Grow illustration

Optimize illustration

What next?

The next couple of months are going to be quite experimental. We are looking forward to working on sprints, iterating on the new design and focussing on user testing, analytics and the user journey to discover what works best.

We know that the redesign won’t automatically guarantee us huge jumps in conversion rates, newsletter signups or demo requests, but with fine tuning, more iterations and testing, we’ll have a website that has a great user experience, can contribute to hiring more employees and can help us to attract and convince new sellers.