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How Starberry won double gold for best websites of the year

WOW! How did Starberry win gold for best website…twice in one year!

Latest-News-Double-Gold-Best-Website-2015-Starberry

Firstly, I must just say a big woohoooo, yes we are still buzzing and extremely proud of the entire team for helping Starberry win the coveted gold awards for our esteemed clients: MyLondonHome in The Times & Sunday Times Lettings Agency of the Year’ in June, & Daniel Cobb in the ‘The Times & Sunday Times Estate Agency of the Year’ in December. This is something no other digital agency has achieved and now we’re about to let you into a few of our secrets on how.

What are your objectives?

Many clients and indeed web agencies put way too much emphasis on pretty pictures and get stuck into designs before they have even planned out the web project and understood exactly what the overall goals are for the website.
It is critical that you commit to writing a brief. It doesn’t need to be particularly technical or creative, it just has to explain in layman’s terms your business needs from the new website. We even suggest a list of bullet points in no particular order. To help facilitate this thought process, we generate simple questionnaires which we request the stakeholders and key team members complete. This delivers results on many accounts – we get a better understanding of all the business’s requirements from a variety of individual perspectives and it also creates a level of engagement that helps kick off the project in a collaborative way.

Don’t forget about the UX

The brief and responses to the questionnaires makes for a great start to the whole user experience (UX) process. This plays a massive part when you are all going for gold. Understanding stakeholders key success matrix, the competitive environment, user journeys and goals, content and media requirements, feed types, tone of voice, not to mention a detailed study of data analytics, is all crucial.

Once we have a handle on requirements and a clear website strategy, we begin planning the project in an agile fashion. By breaking it down into a raft of micro tasks, we can attack each and every element in weekly scrums and sprints with the whole project team involved from the outset, including performing daily standups meetings.

IA shows the way and is about what you want to say

The information architecture can never be underestimated. The words tell your story, they represent your brand, your people and communicate the value you are delivering. Prioritising content and how to navigate it easily from anywhere on the site is the difference between users becoming customers or just another defector added to your website’s bounce rate static.

You can’t beat a good old webtree to help visually demonstrate your website’s architecture, audience workflows, cross selling modules, static and dynamic content and data capture points. We tend to produce these in Google sheets and present various options for feedback under different tabs. We always involve the client, our SEO and content writers, user experience teams, designers and project managers. It is important that everyone buys into this plan in order for the project to proceed in a positive trajectory.

Don’t race on to the pretty pictures

With webtree buttoned down, our teams head off on their various designated tasks. Keyword strategy being developed to assist content writers and to fulfil stakeholder’s goal of topping Google search. Creative team start sketching, before moving on to black and white wireframes. Their aim is to develop the shape of the site with content blocks and ‘lorem ipsum’ in place of words, and to purposely exclude colours or pictures not to distract from the task in hand. In the case of the two gold award winning clients in question, My London Home and Daniel Cobb, both have feedback even at this stage.

High fidelity designs, don’t forget those small screens

So the shape of the site is coming together nicely and you, the client, is finding all this foreplay a little too much. So it’s finally time to give you some pretty pictures, but maybe not quite the ones you were expecting first. Yes, we like to look at the smallest resolution screen first, you know that one that is now bagging over 50% of the eyeballs! It’s all too easy to focus on the 27” iMac, with plenty of room to fit everything in above the fold, but not so easy on a tablet, phablet or phone.

We pride ourselves on our liquid responsive design, and how it adapts so gracefully to the different resolutions and devices. We like to have your mobile responsive website appear like a native app, with clear accessible navigation and search, big floating buttons, swipeable images, quick scroll features, animations and more. It’s this level of attention to detail that wins awards and new business.

Collaborative prototyping

Starberry are renowned for embracing awesome technologies to assist in the entire web design process, we truly practice what we preach. If it isn’t cloud based and effective from the palm of your hand or indeed wrist, we won’t entertain it. In the past few years we have integrated some phenomenal software apps to help us stay connected and work smarter.

Invision app allows us to design and create fully clickable web pages presented in desktop, tablet and smartphone formats with the added benefit of our team and clients to leave fully trackable and audited feedback. This encourages sharing with larger user groups, which ultimately improves overall usability, prior to us laying down one line of code. We are always striving to find more efficient ways of working, to benefit a project both financially and in terms of delivery.

This isn’t even the half of it…

So, if you are ready to go for gold, let’s get it on, Contact Us now, because Starberry have their sights on the “double double” in 2016 😉

Ben Sellers
Mar 17, 2016

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