One of my favorite things about being a web developer is getting to support industries that I’m passionate about. Fun fact about me: I was a full-time touring musician for 15 years before becoming a web developer, so the music industry will always hold a big chunk of my heart. That’s why I’m super excited to feature my recent work with Imagine Recordings.
Imagine Recordings is a Nashville-based recording studio that allows small groups to experience the thrill of a live recording session. When Imagine Recordings reached out to me about working together, I was immediately impressed with their concept and excited for the opportunity to support their business by creating a beautiful and user-friendly website for them. Since their business is based around giving customers the experience of a lifetime, my goal was for that experience to begin with the customers’ first visit to Imagine Recording’s website.
The Importance of UX
For all of you non-webheads out there, UX is short for “user experience.” There are many things that fall under the UX umbrella. From site navigability to design aesthetics to interactive functionalities and accesibility, UX is arguably one of the most important areas of web development. You can have the most compelling content and photos on your site, but without good UX…the shine is just…dulled. (And you want your new website to SHINE! Am I right?)
Imagine Recordings was in the same boat as many businesses. They created a website upon starting their business over four years ago, and now, flash forward four years later, they’re finding that their website is not doing them any favors. In this day and age, having a lackluster, clunky website is enough to send potential customers running. It’s difficult for many business owners to manage their websites...there are simply too few hours in the day. Luckily, Imagine Recordings happened to find me through my Upwork profile and reached out about their project. They wanted a more modern website that felt less cookie-cutter and self-built. They wanted their website to capture the FEELING of being in the studio with up-and-coming stars as they record their potential #1 hits. They wanted their website viewers to feel STARSTRUCK by simply looking at the website. Challenge accepted.
How to captivate website visitors
Imagine Recordings had a clear vision of what they were looking for. I helped them articulate that vision by adding more imagery, showing potential customers what being in a studio with a band looks like, distilling their information down into an organic flow, and incorporating their brand colors throughout to elevate the overall feeling of the site. Another element I incorporated into Imagine Recordings’ site was microanimations. (Insert “ooohs” and “ahhhs” here.)
Microanimations are small movements within elements of the website that captivate the viewer and make navigating the website more intuitive, organic, and engaging. Since the human eye is drawn to movement, microanimations are a very effective way to make the user feel a greater sense of interaction with the website. And as we all know…the more engaged you are in a website, the more likely you are to complete that sale (or any other call to action the business is guiding you toward.)
Now before you go thinking that this website build for Imagine Recordings was a total walk in the park, I should touch on two challenges that I faced during the project. It’s only fair that I give you guys the whole picture, after all!
One issue that comes up in the web development world quite often is the need to migrate from one platform to another. Imagine Recordings’ website was originally powered by WordPress. In my experience, WordPress websites can get bloated if they are not properly maintained. To mitigate this, I opted to migrate their site to Webflow. I find Webflow’s platform to be more lean and intuitive in terms of building and updating content. I’m grateful that Imagine Recording relied on my expertise to make that switch so I could deliver a more beautiful and performant site.
The second challenge I faced while building Imagine Recordings’ new website, was finding a way to incorporate a homepage hero video that gave users the option to toggle the audio on and off. Their previous website utilized a free service where the logo was locked in place on top of the hero image. (Again, for all you non-webheads out there…a “hero image” is the large banner photo or video at the top of the homepage of your website. It is typically the first thing users see when they visit your website.) I overcame that obstacle by hosting the video on my Vimeo account and using an HTML embed with a little custom code magic to get the job done. (If that makes your head spin…don’t worry…that’s what we web developers are here for! )
My Golden Rule for Web Development
As with every project, I had some great takeaways from working on Imagine Recordings’ website refresh. One takeaway was that it is extremely important to maintain the flexibility to incorporate changes as the company grows and evolves – and I’m positive that Imagine Recordings will continue to grow due to the incredible experience they offer. To maintain that flexibility and streamline my workflow, I used Finsweet’s Client First framework. Utilizing this framework reinforces my design system and helps keep the site looking consistent as the site grows and expands with new services and offerings.
The second takeaway was a reminder for me to continue to follow my golden rule: Listen to the client. As web developers, sometimes our personal design aesthetic can cloud our vision of what direction the client should take for their own design. My goal is to quickly and holistically understand the aesthetic that my clients are aiming for, so I can craft a beautiful website that is in alignment with their brand and vision. I am grateful for experiences that push me outside of my design bubble and allow me to expand my own aesthetic. Creative collaboration has the capacity to open our minds and help us arrive at a better outcome.
I loved working with Imagine Recordings on their website buildout, and I hope that people who visit their website will get a sense of what a truly memorable experience they offer.