T3 Advisors web design process
We’re excited to announce the new T3 Advisors website! This article covers the 16 week collaboration between Design Axl and T3 Advisors. Design Axl, in collaboration with Code Greene Interactive, created a completely new information architecture, visual design, front-end, and back-end system.
T3 Advisors’ focus is on real estate and workplace solutions for the world’s most innovative companies.
Research and Planning
Upon first review of T3’s previous site, it was not clear to us exactly what T3 Advisors did. Real estate brokers? Real estate developers? Interior designers? All of the above? These initial questions seemed like a great starting point to sorting out T3’s new website. We began our research and planning phase by conducting a complete current site audit. We reviewed their Google analytics, site navigation, user experience, site engine optimization (SEO), security gaps, and pros and cons of their current content management system (CMS).
After evaluating the current site we could see that critical content was not being discovered. The about page “Why T3” was #10 on the list of most visited pages and the “Solutions” page came up #23. This research and our discovery sessions with key stakeholders helped us identify some top level goals for the site:
+ Simplify. Simplify. Simplify.
+ Tell the story—Why T3?
+ Showcase the team — It’s all about the people!
+ Outline the T3 Method—Design Thinking for Real Estate
+ New videos and case studies—Show don’t tell
+ Call to action—Get more face to face meetings
After the research and planning phase we were given the green light to blow up the current Information architecture (IA) and start from scratch. T3 stands for Technology, Tenant, and Team. The “3” theme seemed like an interesting opportunity to hang the site architecture on. Could we simplify the site down to three main sections? After some whiteboarding sessions and IA refinement we were able to do just that: “Why T3”, “T3 Solutions”, and “Latest” became the main sections of the new site.
T3 truly practices what they preach. They place companies in very desirable spaces at the center of innovation around the globe and they have their own cool spaces in San Francisco, Palo Alto, NYC, and Boston. We had our meetings in their Boston office and that gave us inspiration for the initial look and feel, color palette, and typography for the new site.
Based on the T3 office space design we crafted multiple mood boards to show how their physical space could translate to a virtual space.
T3 asked us to outline our design philosophy, the design “why”. This is a rare client request but we were more than happy to oblige. They wanted to know—specifically—what goes into the decision making for color, form, typography, and information design? We referenced a few books that support some of our design decisions: Envisioning Information—Edward R. Tufte, Never Use Futura—Douglas Thomas, Visual Thinking for Design—Colin Ware.
Finally, all the research, planning, information architecture, and mood boards went into wireframes and multiple design directions including motion studies—some a little too frenetic 😬. We developed these initial prototype options for T3 to test with key stakeholders and provide regular feedback. Seeing the animations early on was a valuable part of the process.
Design and development worked hand in hand over 16 weeks to create a system where T3 could test wireframes and provide weekly feedback. Front-end design and back-end development happened simultaneously to save time and improve collaboration. The site was built on a WordPress platform with WP engine and WordFence as a security solution. The CMS was customized to fit T3’s needs without overwhelming them with unnecessary features.
Last month we had the honor of launching the new site at T3’s annual company retreat hosted at their San Francisco location. It was slightly nerve-racking finishing and launching in front of a live audience, but in the end everything came off without a hitch.
Some kind words from T3
Once our team at T3 decided to revamp our website, I spent a lot of time researching design and development firms. I wanted to work with someone who was a focused expert in design and could make a beautiful site, as well as make the notoriously painful website redesign process somewhat enjoyable. After talking with about six firms, I received a referral from another design firm to talk to James. I could tell right away that James was not only an expert in design, but he was also an incredibly thoughtful and genuine person I could trust.
James led the entire project and easily managed our team’s many voices and ideas. Throughout the process, every single person on our team who interacted with James would tell me how impressed they were with him and how much they enjoyed working with him. The process and communications were clear from the beginning, and I can honestly say that I look back on the project with fondness. On a personal level, I loved learning more about design through working with James, but our entire team also really appreciated how he communicated his design choices, helping us feel even more proud of our new site.
The site feels so much like “us.” It’s an unbelievably better reflection of our brand, our people, our services, and what it’s like to actually work with us.
As a firm that also works in the professional services industry, we at T3 feel proud when we can make our clients look good. James did that for me — I got the credit of launching a successful new website, but it was all because I chose the right partner. I can’t sing his praises enough and would recommend anyone work with him that wants an enjoyable process and a thoughtful, beautiful end result.
Natalie Taylor, Marketing Director at T3 Advisors
Well, take a look at the new site and let us know if you have any feedback—we’d love to hear what you think. T3 is continuing to build out their case studies and latest updates. We’ll be keeping an eye on traffic and seeing where things can be improved.
A sincere thanks to the team at T3 Advisors, especially, Natalie, Roy, Berge, Morgan, Amy, Tyler, and everyone else who contributed to this project. It has been a great partnership and we look forward to continued collaborations.