My newest blog redesign, DC Rainmaker, launched right before Thanksgiving. I am really excited about this design because first and foremost, I believe it truly represents what the client envisioned.
When Ray initially contacted me he clearly articulated his wants and needs for his blog redesign. I have been fortunate to experience a few of these clients in my time as a designer and it is always such a delight.
After a phone consultation and a few email exchanges, it was clear what core concepts Ray required, including outstanding issues that needed to be remedied. He let me know what he liked of mine and others’ previous work and what he had seen across the web that he did not like at all.
As busy a man as he is professionally, Ray’s job is not what his blog is about. Instead, he blogs about being a triathlete and a runner, his training partner and wife (a.k.a. “The Girl”) and her bakery, and probably most significant to many of his site visitors, Ray writes very extensive product reviews.
Before we imported Ray’s blog from Blogger to WordPress, his reviews were linked from a single page he had to update manually. The redesign and move included automation so Ray’s reviews now populate according to their designated categories (sorted by company and release date of products). Not only did this reduce Ray’s man hours and frustration levels, but also increased searchability and accessibility for those seeking specific product reviews.
The most helpful and interactive new feature on DC Rainmaker is the Product Comparison Calculator. This tool essentially pulls information from a backend database of nearly 3,000+ pieces of data extrapolated from every product comparison chart Ray has ever created.
While he used to maintain this information in Excel and presented screenshot tables at the bottom of his product review blog posts, now all data has been automated and site visitors can customize their comparisons with handy drop down menus or by clicking on specific products. Ray explains the functionality a lot more thoroughly in his “I’ve got new digs!” post if you’re interested in knowing more.
Beyond the Product Comparison Calculator, there were a few other customizations, like the FAQ widget built into the sidebar, his Press Clippings page complete with gallery functionality (above), a Paris sub-blog, and The Queue, which met Ray’s need to provide his readers with a slew of photos, screenshots, etc…about a new product before he was ready to write/post the full review.
Ray is a great example of a blogger who obviously knows what he wants to achieve within the parameters of his blog. At the same time, he keeps an ear tuned to his audience, actively meeting their need to easily navigate and retrieve what information he has to offer.
Accolades All Around
This was an amazingly swift project from design to “go-live” and could not have been possible without Ray’s focus and amazing attention to detail, as well as quick turn-around in all correspondence.
In addition, I have to give a round of applause for the absolutely seamless Blogger to WordPress export/import, custom programming and complete web development provided by Alec Kinnear of Foliovision. In order of appearance the main characters (emphasis on “characters”) were Martin Vicenik, Viktor Klimo and Vladimir Varga. Guys, thanks for keeping your nose-to-the-grind and making this happen to spec and on time!
If you like to run, bike or swim – or heck, all three, be sure to check out Ray Maker over at DC Rainmaker. He’s up and running (no pun intended) with a fresh new design and all the functionality you could ever imagine.
Check out the Case Study of this project over at Foliovision.