In the Beginning
Our origin story is quite a logical one. Take two people who, after spending a long time in the industry as employees, finally make the decision to become employers. We cover this story in more detail on our about page but the primary catalyst was a mutual belief between us, there had to be a better solution for business owners.
Fast-forward a couple of years and we had greatly underestimated just how broken the website industry was and still is today. This quickly formed our mission statement and quest to provide an honest and experienced service to everyone, not just those with deep pockets. I would never name-drop them, but early in my career, I worked for a website studio who put a lot of value in a high-end office, company cars and other indulgences. I was left less than inspired when I witnessed their common practices to extract maximum value out of the unsuspecting customer. They had a lot of toys to finance after all.
Naturally, our approach was an instant hit. It’s only now, as of 2022, in our third office space and a room full of people working here that we have finally put aside the time to address the need of a website of our own. For years we have been the best kept secret in town, growing from word of mouth alone. We want to help more businesses and do our part to fix our industry, so it’s only natural we open the doors to the public properly.
So without further ado, welcome to Nimbl. Our team and office can be found in the heart of Albany, Auckland. We have large international corporate clients, down to local mum & pop businesses. Here’s how we went about building a website for ourselves all this time.
Having built websites of every size, style and complexity over the years, when you become the client yourself, the options can seem limitless. So, it’s only logical to apply the same rules to ourselves that we do with our clients. This brings us to step one: What’s out in the market right now?
I’ve written about the state of our industry before. With advancements in website technologies, the number of website studios have also increased significantly. Developers, designers, marketers, copywriters and even virtual assistants have now added website creation to their repertoire. This begs the question, what does one need to do to stand out from the crowd?
If Nimbl had a mantra, it would be “make decisions based on data, not guesses”. Leading with “I think” doesn’t fly here. If someone in our team wants to make a call on something, they need to be able to back it up. It comes from a term in our industry called the “closed vacuum environment”. As the owner of a product or service, you become too close to your offering. This makes it more and more difficult to accurately relate to how your users will interact with your product/service. Thus making it more and more unlikely that the decisions you make are the wrong ones.
It’s far better to launch something as an MVP (minimal viable product) and improve it whilst it’s in the field, based on market/user feedback.
Ok, I’m getting off-track. We were talking about competitor research.
There’s no shortage of website agencies/freelancers, so there was no shortage of research for us to conduct.
The key to sifting through large volumes of data (in this case, competitor websites), is to identify common patterns. Whether we think it’s a good pattern or a bad one, it gives us a clear indicator to what the market currently deems as important as far as potential clients go.
The most frequent pattern identified from our audit of competitor websites was content overload. It was the same sales pitch every time.
Like a bad car salesman, it doesn’t matter how much you talk at me, telling me how good the car is and why I should buy it, why would I believe any of it on your word alone? I’m going to want to see the car myself, test drive it, take it to a non-biased 3rd party and get their opinion to do everything in my power to not rely on the guy just after my money.
With that logic, it doesn’t matter how many service pages you make, you aren’t going to sway me. It’s the same spiel on everyone’s website. Why you should buy from them, why they think they’re the best and probably some fake reviews to top it off. As a potential customer, I want to see results, I want proof that you know what you’re doing. All the talking in the world isn’t going to sway me.
That’s why you won’t find any service pages on Nimbl. You know we build websites, we know you want to be assured that you’re in the right place, so let’s not beat around the bush. You can view our work, you can read case studies like this one on our thought processes and you can also read articles where we openly and freely share information to provide you with the proof that you are after.
This philosophy isn’t new to us, we’ve gone years and strength to strength from word of mouth alone. We don’t want to wait in the queue of cold pitches with everyone else. We want to work with you, we want you to work with us, it’s that simple. Our work does the talking and when you’re ready, we’ll be here, ready to get started with you.
There were two primary objectives when we approached the look and feel of our website:
- How do we avoid looking like everyone else?
- How can we be creative in a way that isn’t overkill?
We’ve already established we didn’t want to follow the common traits of virtually every other web company. That’s not to say we think we’re right and they’re wrong either. We’re simply comfortable to do our own thing and enjoy our individuality.
One of the other patterns we identified was the current design trend for agency websites. Designed to impress with lots going on but it’s a bit too much in our opinion. Yes it all looks very good and there’s movement and interaction going on in every direction, but I often find myself feeling lost. I wouldn’t want customers on our website to feel lost so, the showing off trend we witnessed seems a bit OTT in our minds.
For our design, we wanted to achieve the following goals:
- Do something the user wasn’t expecting
- Engage with the user right from the get-go
- Show off our playful but professional personality
- Showcase an example of how we can tell stories with your brand
The Parallax Scene
We wanted to acknowledge our lives here in New Zealand and our appreciation for the amazing country we are fortunate to live and work in. We created a parallax scene that will change based on the time of the day that the user visits the website. If it’s night time, the scene will be dark, if it’s morning, you’ll see a sunrise and so on.
We love this kind of storytelling that allows us to engage with our users at all times. The Call to Action also changes based on the time of day and speaks to the frame of mind the user is in, based on the time. If it’s lunch time, maybe you’ll be hungry for a website.
Behind the Scenes
In total, we spent several weeks in the R&D, and design stages of this project. Including multiple rounds of A/B testing with select groups before we committed to the development stage. Here are a few snaps of our journey; from ideation to creation.