Robert Granoff, an interior design, architecture, and aerial photographer based in Rossville, Indiana, approached Wonderful Machine to help with a web template customization. Robert wanted a fresh, modern template to fit his minimalist style. As Wonderful Machine’s lead designer and an experienced photo editor, I was excited to take on this project.
When Robert first came to us, he was looking for help updating his marketing materials – in particular, he felt that his website needed a fresh look. To kickstart the project, we reviewed all of Robert’s existing marketing materials, paying close attention to how they worked for or against his business goals.
During this time, the thing that stood out to me the most was that Robert had a great sense of photographic style that was modern and minimalist. However, his website just wasn’t doing his images any justice. After taking a closer look at it, I also noted that it wasn’t connecting well with his business goals or his clients and that there were a few issues with the flow/layout of his website.
We decided that a new template would address all these concerns. We needed a website with a fresh look that matched his photographic style and that would appeal to his high-profile clients. While his original website used Wix, we decided to switch to Squarespace to accommodate all his needs.
The first thing you saw when landing on Robert’s old website was a big cover photo. While seeing one of Robert’s beautiful images in a large format was nice, we decided that having an overview gallery is more useful to his clients. Also, his homepage had his logo and a navigation/menu bar below the cover photo. For the new template, we placed the navigation bar at the top of his page so that it is easier to find what you’re looking for.
For his online portfolio, Robert worked with our experienced photo editor Honore Brown on a web edit to tighten his photo selections. We then discussed the fact that the old website didn’t have a thumbnail viewing option, so we included this in his new template. We played around with sizing the thumbnails until we worked out the best size so that users can explore an entire project at a glance and click to enlarge particular images if they want to.
Another aspect of Robert’s photography that we wanted to incorporate into his website was the incredible 360 images he takes for some projects. Previously, he was only able to share these with clients by sending them a link to view the image. However, we wanted these 360s to become a feature on his website and be viewed seamlessly from within his portfolio. We achieved this by building custom code to include them in a grid view and made them fully interactive on his website.
Lastly, we talked about spacing, layout, and text. The spacing on his info page was problematic. We redesigned it so that the “about” section and his clients’ names would be front-and-center as soon as you land on the page. Next, we created a dropdown section with testimonials so that they weren’t taking up a significant portion of his info page but were still readily available. Also, Robert’s contact info on his original site was only visible on the info page. We wanted to make sure that this crucial information was easily accessible, so we added a footer to his new template that had his details at the bottom of every page on the site.
While we had a few hurdles to overcome when it came to creating an immersive experience to showcase his 360-degree images, we achieved a great outcome in the end. Robert and I worked very closely to make sure that my ideas/suggestions aligned with his needs. He was great to work with as he was very open to all the changes we made. In the end, I think that the project was a huge success, especially since Robert was very happy with the end result. He says,
In addition to the well-thought-out aesthetic design, I was impressed with the custom coding that José figured out to make my interactive “view studies” functional without having to use pop-up windows. I love the new site and we’ve gotten such a great response from it!