Website redesign with a more clear message.
Amanda Neff is a Chicago-based model and MUHA (makeup and hair artist) that was having difficulty attaining better jobs in her career, mostly due to potential client interest being lost when they arrived at her website. I was recommended to her by industry colleagues as not only someone who could design and code a new site, but also bring in better branding and UX.
I started the project with a competitive analysis, pouring over websites of local models and MUHA’s. With some initial thoughts on what might be the issues, I then reached out to a handful of photographers through social media, showing them the current website and asking them questions on their impressions of Amanda’s brand, and how easily they could find the information they desired.
With the key findings, I created an information architecture for Amanda’s old site, and spoke with her about each section, using collected Google Analytics data to show what areas were being visited the most, and what areas barely saw anything.
We collaborated and whittled down much of what was on the old site into five simple sections on her new site. Wireframes were created using a panel layout to build a hierarchy of information that would allow a user to quickly scan over a page and get the what they’re looking for with little effort. I wanted each page to be a series of simple sections:
After creating the high-fidelity designs, I took the layouts and showed them not only to Amanda, but to the same group of industry colleagues I had spoken to before. I asked them again to look at the pages and tell me what they felt each page was telling them, as well as any other thoughts.
The feedback was very positive, but one big change that came though was to add in the means to sort photos on her Modeling page. I had initially placed fifteen photos with no means to sort, but most of her industry colleagues told me they needed to see twice as much and would love to be able to quickly sort them based on subject matter, so they can end up seeing 8-11 photos per subject.
Changes were made, and the final layout was created and the site coded.
I’m happy to say that ever since the launch of Amanda’s new website, she’s seen a 50% increase in her bookings, was signed to two agencies, and is even being flown to other cities for shoots.
The biggest takeaway I had with this project is to always try to talk to those who would be the end users when solving these design and UX problems. Granted I could have just looked at websites for models and made assumptions, but then I would be doing a disservice. I liked that I was crafting this site purely for those who would be looking at it the most.
Beyond that, I would still wholeheartedly agree with famous architect Mies van der Rohe when he said “less is more”, as I felt it’s very relevant when taking on site projects like this where there might be too much information spread out all over. I think a portfolio site should simply be a means to see one’s talents and offered services, and then it’s up to the client to make the sale and provide the rest.