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As a bit of freelance work, we took on a project to redesign an local businesses website that was in dire need of a redesign. They were looking to start fresh and garner a better online presence to go along with their physical move to a new location that was more centrally located downtown. It was a chance to rebrand the website and the business as a whole.

What we had to work with initially was something made by the owner themselves. They were not familiar with design and had used a basic WYSIWYG web-template editor to setup their own site. They had received feedback from various sources (customers, family, friends, etc.) and wanted to change it as soon as possible. We were also in a race with their upcoming domain host renewal.

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The very first thing we did was sit down with the owner and conduct a more thorough stakeholder interview. From this we were able to ascertain the nature and history of their business, their clients, and what their vision for the future was. It was very important to be contextually aware that this physical move not only put them in a more prime location, but it also was going to incur them greater costs. Because of this, ensuring they raised their client count was essential.

With a better understanding of the circumstances and the overall scope of the project we started putting our plans into motion. We instructed the owner to not renew their web host nor their domain, as we had alternatives in the mix and did not want them to waste their funds on something we would ultimately abandon. In the meantime, we knew we would have to throw together a quick site to stand in its place and recommended a new business name and domain as part of our marketing strategy.

We felt the existing name, "Spa Complexions", was a bit misleading. This business was not a spa despite offering some services you might find at a spa and the name itself was a bit generic. The owner explained the original name was a compromise with business partners combined with a difficulty finding an available domain name.

 

We sat down with them and had a brainstorming session to generate ideas for a new name. After getting to know the owner as an individual, we felt the business needed to reflect them more. We presented the suggestion of "Lovely L" and they adored it. The word "Lovely" worked with the intent of the business, to make someone look and feel lovely, and "L" could stand for numerous things - ladies, lads, the owners name - It made it personal yet also was applicable to clients as well. With the business and domain name decided, we could move forward.

The owner was very pleased with our efforts, but we did not stop there. After getting past the first hurdle of needing a site immediately, we moved on to doing research by contacting her clientele that had agreed to provide feedback on their experiences with the business and conducted roughly 15-minute contextual interviews. We also gathered feedback from her friends and family she had previously mentioned.

From these interviews we learned several key pieces of information:

  • Most of their new clients came from doing a Google search.

  • Most users searched and accessed the site via their phone.

  • Clients preferred to make appoints online.

Our competitive analysis also helped us a great deal with the overall design. Building off of the quick design we came up with, we expanded on it with a more dynamic hero image, maintained the single page design, and designed a more appealing and intuitive service menu from a mobile first design method. We also incorporated a gallery that syncs from their Instagram account (something the stakeholder already had and maintained) as clients noted they liked seeing examples of the business's work before being sure they wanted to schedule an appointment.

To help combat the lack of visibility of the road – and to even address customer confusion on arrival – we made sure to add a photo of the staircase once the customer opened the door to the second floor. We felt this was a crucial piece of helping the user experience not just from a digital perspective, but in person as well. We feel it is always essential to remember -

User Experience is not just digital.

In the end our client was left with a beautiful website that they loved. They were no longer embarrassed by their website and were proud to display it on their advertising materials (brochures we suggested they display prominently at the entrance to the floor for all the businesses). Since implementation of the new site they have received great feedback from the clients, new and old. Over the course of 2 years the website traffic increased by 5x and their revenue over 3x. They reached the point of having to turn new clients away.

Esthetician Site Redesign

Site Mapping

Stakeholder Interviews

Contextual Interviews

Competitive Analysis

Surveys

Usertesting.com

Optimal Workshop

Survey Monkey

Abstract

Sketch

Invision

Axure RP

Design System

Tools:

Wireframing

Prototyping

Design

Usability Testing

Skills:

The Problem

The Process

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We also took a road trip to the city just to see what the new space was, get a sense of the location, environment, atmosphere, and overall vibe. While the building itself was impressive and the business was complemented by two other businesses also moving into this space, it was all located on the second floor and had zero noticeably from the street. Part of our recommendations were they fix this as soon as possible, but it was out of the scope of our abilities, both physically and legally. Because of this constraint, the main drivers to the business could only be word of mouth and their website.

Up against the clock we had to make a quick MVP that would act as a placeholder site for a few weeks so that the business would not lose its online presence. This way the location, information, services, and scheduling via phone could all still be accessed online. Without any good stock photos to go off of, we settled on a shot of some flora that we felt resembled eye lashes. We went to a single page design. The navigation was rooted to anchors throughout the site. Instead of each service and price list living on an individual page, we used a grid widget so the users could find all the information in one central location.

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While carrying out the interviews we also conducted competitive analysis of local competitors in the area. Many of the competitors had rudimentary sites with limited information, features, and were just as aesthetically challenged as our stakeholders site was when we first assessed it. We decided to expand our scope to look at competitors in the same and related industries from cities with higher population density and in more affluent areas. We saw that many sites allow you to view a calendar, select a service, date and time, and confirm the appointment all online without having to contact the business directly.

We then looked into what other tools and platforms the business used to see if any of them already had this feature and could be integrated. Luckily, their payment provider did have a plug-in for online scheduling, and we incorporated it into the site. Instead of a generic contact form and hitting submit (and it sending an email), appointments could now be generated in an automated process and both the business and client could be notified and reminded. This helped reduce the burden on the stakeholder and take advantage of assets they were already paying for at no additional cost, so a huge win!

The Results

As of late 2022, they have moved to a neighboring city and are facing the challenge of rebuilding their clientele as the majority of clients will be unable to make the commute. We have already assisted them with maintaining their SEO positions, and transferring their google reviews to the new address. They have moved to the Wix platform so they can more easily make changes to their website on their own when needed, and we look to give it a refresh soon.

New Developments

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