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When one of Wellington’s coolest companies approaches you to work with them on their website, you have to jump at the chance! Over the past year, we’ve been working alongside Weta Workshop to help them reimagine and streamline the experience they were giving their users online.
Through digital strategy, UX & UI design, and web development, we created a cool place to showcase all the cool stuff Weta Workshop has been creating for over 30 years, and promote tours and experiences relating to their iconic work.
Before we got started on the project, the whole team involved had to complete a very important onboarding process—the Weta Workshop tour! This gave us a hands-on experience of an actual tour and insight into the design and manufacturing services of Weta Workshop. And we got to see lots of cool stuff!
Once we'd had our fantastical fill of monsters, machines and magical weapons, we ran a number of strategy workshops (yes Weta Workshop workshops) to help define goals, measures of success, and user journeys. The Weta Workshop team wanted to speed up their website, make it more streamlined, responsive and user-friendly, with more intuitive information architecture (IA). They also wanted to refresh the visuals, so it was more in line with the company’s updated branding. In a nutshell, they hoped to better showcase the craftsmanship and depth of Weta Workshop’s design and manufacturing skills, and increase the number of bookings for their tours and experiences.
One of the issues we found early on was that the old site had all of their tours and services wrapped into one. It meant that not only was the IA complicated, it also didn't serve the distinctly different sets of users that Weta Workshop's services and tours have. We decided that we should create two sister sites: one for services and one for tours. But how can you create an experience that isn’t complex for the CMS authors and without creating two sets of design and code?
The Weta Workshop team had done some great early designs for the new site, incorporating the most recent Weta branding. This was a perfect starting point for me to work collaboratively with their creatives to design something that combined our strongest skills.
We decided that whatever we designed and built for one site would need to be reusable for the other. The designs had to be similar in terms of overall feel, but that each needed its own distinct look and features. Compared to the old site, there needed to be greater use of video, high quality images, slick interactions, and flexibility for CMS authors to build pages depending on the content and user needs.
To achieve this, we created a number of reusable content blocks. When we design content blocks, we aim to give content editors enough flexibility to create multiple layouts and styles within a block. Blocks can be used in conjunction with other blocks in any order, allowing content editors to keep layouts fresh and varied, while the style remains consistent across the board and unmistakably Weta. If a block was suitable for both sites, it was designed with two skins so that it could be applied to either seamlessly.