Five Lessons From Our Website Redesign

Welcome to the new! We’ve built quite a few websites in our day (visit Our Work to see some highlights), but that doesn’t mean we couldn’t learn something new when we recently redesigned our own site. Here are five lessons from our experience being on both sides of a redesign—agency and client:

The Blue State Digital homepage

  1. The devil is in the details (but so is delight).

    Your dream feature list is probably big enough to keep your dev team busy until the 2020 election, but it’s important to get down to brass tacks. Microinteractions (#pizzarat), hidden easter eggs, and custom 404 pages are all details that can make visiting your site more delightful for users. (We absolutely LOVE our 404 pages but doubt you’ll be able to find one, so here’s a broken link for your pleasure:

  2. Copy shouldn’t come second to design.

    We are an agency filled with great writers and lovers of the written word (including former presidential speechwriters, journalists, and librarians). Whatever amount of time we spent lovingly critiquing designs, double that and you may come close to the effort put into each word in our domain. Much more than just pretty words on a page, the copy for the redesign pushed us to carefully examine who we are, what we stand for, and the kind of work we want to do in the future.

  3. Don’t neglect the author experience.

    Traditionally the “user” in UX design stands for the end user of your website. At Blue State Digital we also focus on AX or “author experience” to build intuitive and user-first content management systems. Our move to WordPress, carefully crafted CMS help text, and easy-to-manage taxonomies were all efforts to make authoring and publishing content to our website as effortless, fast, and enjoyable as possible. We published this blog post in 60 seconds. Seriously. Our marketing team had a race.

  4. Damn, we should have had a DAM.

    No matter how organized you think you are, you won’t remember where you saved that thumbnail file four years ago (sorry). Staff members come and go, file naming conventions change, assets get swapped out or updated. Create a password-protected, version-tracked archive of your final website assets. Yes, even the images for your 500 blog posts. You never know when you might need them (like your next website migration).

  5. Be true to your brand.

    In the end, we were our toughest clients, but, if caring too much is a crime, lock us up. When stakeholders disagree, make sure a senior advocate is deputized to make executive decisions on behalf of the brand. That person can be your creative director, a passionate founder, or CMO who isn’t making decisions based on the bottom line alone. If you stay true to your brand personality, your website will be a success. Our focus on smiling faces, big challenges, and meaningful words isn’t right for every agency. It’s very BSD, and we couldn’t be more proud.