Website Relaunch Case Studies (1)
Two consumer-centric product-based website relaunches are profiled below — one for a gaming company, Klei Entertainment, and another for Slack Technology's website. For each, we provided as much information as was publicly available regarding how their relaunch was communicated to customers (though such information was not available for Klei Entertainment), any media buzz surrounding their relaunch, the specific improvements that were a part of their relaunch, and any available metrics surrounding the response to their relaunch (largely based on user reviews, where available). Although some information was not publicly available, we have profiled these two companies due to their close relevance to the gaming industry (in the case of Klei Entertainment) or due to the information available about a redesign effort that was initially perceived negatively (in the case of Slack).
- Klei Entertainment is an indie game development studio based in Vancouver, CA that creates video games for the PC and consoles.
- Most information about the redesign/relaunch of Klei.com's website comes from a report from The Jibe, a website development agency that managed the redesign of the website. According to the report, Klei Entertainment was searching for a new website that could be easy to access/use across multiple devices (tablets, desktops, mobile phones), easy to update and maintain, integrated the ability to purchase games, and had a strong brand image.
- In order to address these challenges, an open-source Content Management System (CMS) that was integrated with an eCommerce platform needed to be added to the website, and a theme/brand identity needed to be incorporated onto each page. The CMS that was chosen was Drupal, which allowed for "a flexible and customizable back end," allowing control over layout and styling, with an extended theming system for the game micro sites to allow for deep customization. Their online store was also completely integrated within the CMS to create a shopping experience that worked across all devices.
- Although a previous redesign (in 2011, by the design company Fully Illustrated) was communicated via Twitter from the company in charge of that redesign, Fully Illustrated (and not Klei Entertainment), the more recent website design did not have any announcements directly from Klei Entertainment. We were able to find some tweets and a single brief article regarding the store's launch (in 2014). Similarly, metrics regarding the success of the relaunch were not publicly available.
- Slack is proprietary instant messaging platform developed by Slack Technologies, that was initially released in 2013. They worked with Ueno, a website development agency. According to information provided by Ueno, Slack’s team wanted to redesign their website to improve conversion and better communicate the brand.
- The redesign was focused on feature- and image-rich pages and descriptions; the images on landing pages were meant to attract clicks to 'deeper' pages that contained more verbose content. Overall, they made the website more comprehensive, easy to navigate, and focused on prospects (both business prospects and potential employees).
- Slack also launched a new logo design in January 2019 (designed by Pentagram), which they announced via a blog post on their website. In their announcement post, they explained the reasoning behind the new logo -- in sum, that it was difficult to work with if not precisely correct. "It was 11 different colors—and if placed on any color other than white, or at the wrong angle (instead of the precisely prescribed 18º rotation), or with the colors tweaked wrong, it looked terrible." They had to use different versions of their logo in different places due to the nature of their previous logo, which caused a lack of brand recognizeability and cohesion.
- In sum, they communicated that their logo change was about recognizeability and consistency: "Over the next few months, you’ll see all the other visuals around Slack aligning around this new direction...We’re still Slack. But more consistent and, we hope, more instantly recognizable." This rebranding went hand-in-hand with Slack's filing for an IPO in February 2019. The response to the rebranding (and the new logo) was largely negative, with users on digital and social media (and particularly Twitter) comparing the new logo to a swastika, male genitalia, and other generally negatively-received images. However, Slack has changed nothing about their new logo/branding efforts, and the negative reactions have largely ended.
We spent our research time searching through databases, published case studies, and social media channels for several companies that were within the gaming industry space, looking for indications of website redesign.
While we did find one gaming company, Klei Entertainment, that went through a significant website redesign/re-launch, some information (particularly regarding metrics) was not publicly available. However, given the relevance of Klei Entertainment to the gaming space, and the presence of the other information that was requested, we felt that profiling this company would provide useful. In the case of Slack, while it is not within the gaming space, it recently went through a significant rebranding/redesign of both its website and its brand that had plentiful media and social media coverage. Given that the overall response to the rebranding/redesign was negative, we felt that profiling this company would provide useful and interesting data regarding how a company can respond to immediate negative 'backlash' and yet still maintain changes as they felt they were overall useful to the brand.