While her name not be familiar in the hosting industry, Bri Emery is a well-known lifestyle blogger based in Los Angeles. Between her blog, Designlovefest, the Photoshop and blogging workshop she teaches around the world, BLOGSHOP, and her work as an art director, she wears many hats. Like many creative businesses, her website, hosted by Media Temple, is an important reflection of her work and her brand.
“Bri’s website is a vehicle for her to do all the other things she wants to do. It’s a platform. Hosting is such an interesting industry because it can be such a commodity for people and at Media Temple we don’t feel like the website is what defines the customer. The customer is defined by so many other things,” Jon Setzen, creative director at Media Temple said. “We try to think of it less as what is the website they are putting up to who is the person and what are all the things they are connected to.”
While Emery is just one customer at Media Temple, she represents a larger portion of its customers who consider design an important part of their business. And while Media Temple’s brand is often thought of as more “designy” than other web hosts, Setzen said its website wasn’t necessarily representative of these clients prior to its redesign, which launched in the first week of January.
“I think the Media Temple redesign is the best representation of the brand that there ever has been. People meet us at conferences and various events we’re apart of and they say various things to us that this website now says,” Setzen said. “We’re modern, we get it, we’re helpful, we’re a company that exists to try and help people make websites and do creative things online.”
Setzen joined Media Temple two years ago, and said it felt like he started working on the website redesign the day he arrived, even though that wasn’t necessarily his project at the time.
“I’ve been a customer here for a long time. When I heard they were looking for a creative director I jumped at the opportunity because I’ve always been such a huge fan of the company,” he said. “It wasn’t until a few months into working here that we started talking about redoing the site for a number of reasons, we needed to update the code base and things like that. It seemed like a good time. I put together my future vision decks for the company as far as the brand representation side of it because I’ve been doing that kind of work for a long time in the agency realm. I still felt like I had an outside perspective on the company being that I was pretty new and someone who was a customer.”
The old Media Temple website featured server renderings, which Setzen said he loved from a “macro-design perspective” but didn’t feel like it was representative of the services it provides.
“There was some inconsistency between the service we provide, and I’m talking about support, versus how the company is being portrayed on the website, which is obviously the main marketing tool and the face of the company. It’s a very personable company and there were no people on the site,” he said.
The first step in the process of redesigning the website, as is with most redesign projects, was profiling its customers.
“I hired a video producer who was actually one of our customer support guys, I moved him over to my team, and we started profiling our customers with a series called Made on (mt). In these videos we just wanted to showcase our customers; we didn’t ask them to talk about MediaTemple at all because I just feel like those videos where you showcase the customer and then the last half they’re talking about your product becomes really sort of disingenuous,” Setzen said. “We just wanted to tell stories and let our customers speak for us by explaining what we do. Those did really, really well for us, we got some nice awards and recognition and that sort of pushed this sort of idea of showcasing our people and our customers as the focal point of the company and is really what the brand is about.”
Media Temple worked with a design studio in San Francisco, called Character, throughout the redesign process. While the design was locked-down about a year ago, Setzen said, his UX and creative team “had to build it, write all the content, get all the photos done” after that.
The design process started long before GoDaddy acquired Media Temple in October 2013, and Setzen said that the acquisition “didn’t factor in at all” to the redesign.
“We had started this a long time ago and we didn’t work with any of the GoDaddy staff. I think that they’re happy to see that the site is up and people like it but honestly we are our own thing, this stuff was made long after long hours of blood, sweat, and tears from my team here and collaborators that I handpicked like photographers and illustrators,” Setzen said.
At the time of the acquisition, GoDaddy vowed to leave Media Temple as a separate brand, and this new website really shows that GoDaddy is staying true to its initial plan.
“Obviously in the back of our minds there was some pressure for the redesign to make sure that we did stay true to who we were,” he said.
So what was the biggest challenge during the whole redesign process? According to Setzen, it was finding the time to get it done.
“We’re just so busy here and our UX and creative team supports all aspects of Media Temple and I think it was really just finding the time. I hired a really fantastic project manager named Dylan, we just got the right people in the right seats,” he said.
According to Setzen, the launch of the new design is just the first step as Media Temple readies its new account center.
“We’ve been working on that for some time too,” he said. “That’s a much larger project than the website and we’re going to be releasing the beta on that soon.”