Website Relaunches

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Part
01

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

  • 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

  • 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.

Research Strategy

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.
Part
02
of two
Part
02

Website Relaunch Case Studies (2)

Two website relaunches in the gaming space are profiled below — one for Zynga Inc., and one for Games Finder (gameslikefinder.com). For each, we provided as much information as was publicly available regarding how their relaunch was communicated to customers (though, in the case of Zynga, the web page containing their relaunch announcement is no longer functional), any media buzz surrounding their relaunch, the specific improvements/goals that were a part of their relaunch, and any available metrics surrounding the response or success of their relaunch. Although some information was not publicly available, we have profiled these two companies due to their close relevance to the gaming industry.

Zynga Inc.

  • Zynga Inc. is an American social game developer that primarily focuses on mobile and social networking platforms. In 2013, they launched a major website redesign in which they made connecting via Facebook (which had previously been a requirement) optional, and allowed individuals to play games via their website instead of only via Facebook. It appears that they had announced this redesign via their blog on March 21, 2013, although the page is no longer available.
  • Their relaunch was met with significant media coverage at the time, largely related to speculation regarding how cutting ties with Facebook would affect the company financially. Previous to this redesign, Zynga Inc. had a special agreement with Facebook regarding access to popular games (such as FarmVille); however, this redesign signaled a divide between the two entities.
  • After the redesign, which was largely aimed at this separation, Zynga Inc. began to post losses across the board, including decreases in both average monthly and daily users. Zynga's revenues were below the levels reached in 2012 until the fourth quarter of 2019, when they finally surpassed those numbers. While data specific to the website redesign in terms of traffic statistics and reviews are not publicly available, these data do suggest that the redesign, intended to allow people more access to their games (and hopefully drive more users) was not successful.

Games Finder

  • Games Finder is a website dedicated to curated video game recommendations -- that is, to finding games that are similar to other games (that a given user prefers) in some way (e.g. theme, mechanics, genre etc.).
  • In 2019, Games Finder announced the relaunch of their new website, which was changed in order to add "even more ways to find similar games with both price and platform filtering" in order to provide players with games only on platforms they can use, and the addition of "over 350 Editorial Lists...carefully curated by humans rather than recycled from the same auto-generated lists like so many other websites." They announced, specifically, their Editorial Lists in a Facebook post, as well.
  • There are currently no publicly available metrics regarding web traffic in response to their relaunch, though there are some user reviews since the 2019 relaunch specifically praising the new interface.

Research Strategy

We spent our research time searching through databases, published case studies, and social media channels for companies that were within the gaming industry space, looking for indications of website redesign.

While we did find two companies in the gaming space -- Zynga Inc. and Games Finder -- some information (particularly regarding specific metrics, such as increased traffic) was not publicly available. However, given the relevance of Zynga Inc.'s redesign (and their change in business direction) to their reported revenues, and the presence of the other information that was requested, we felt that profiling this company would provide useful, despite the redesign happening in 2013. In the case of Games Finder, their website redesign was aimed towards providing more specifically curated content for users, lending it a very customer-centric purpose. While no data regarding their website traffic was publicly available, we felt that this website relaunch, being relatively recent, would provide value if included, and a small number of user reviews regarding the interface were noted to be positive.
Sources
Sources