The Issues at Hand
When hired at Clearwater Analytics in 2016 the existing website was several years old, out dated and not user-friendly. Plus being difficult to navigate and find relevant content, there were over 650 pages.
Despite a recent re-brand in the last few years, the over all Clearwater image felt immature, non contemporary and just too busy. Not what you would hope to expect from the leading SaaS company for investment accounting in the USA.
Previously, an effort had been made to direct website visitors to our four target market segments, however the main gateway into these areas was not very intuitive and most users ended up clicking on the about link at the top of the page, taking them to the ‘About Us’ page.
In addition, many users were unclear what exactly Clearwater does. We aimed to solve this issue by producing a 20-30 second introduction video that will be available at the top of the home page. The video would give a high level view on who Clearwater is and what kind of services we offer, and direct users to select their industry to see more specific information. In addition, more general information about Clearwater’s product and services will be available within a 'What We Do' section.
The Design Process
After some heart to heart meetings with the sales and marketing director and teammates, and several iterations later, I came up with a new design for the website that is now leading the way in a complete brand refresh. We are currently using this design as a reference point for evolving and improving the brand.
Looking back, the design process has been a little unconventional, since we jumped straight into the visual design before we knew exactly how the website would be structured. But in this case I believe this was the right approach. Redesigning the website in this way forced us to see where we were going wrong with the current website and helped us figure out how to approach things differently. The new design enabled us to see that we could condense, clarify and clean up much of our content without diluting the message, but instead, enhance it.
We began to research the statistics and activity on the current website, and now we are putting a lot of focus on simplfying the message and creating curated content that is scaled way back to drive home key marketing messages. So instead of showing absolutely every piece of information that we have about our product, we are being much more targeted in terms of what we show. All with the intention of driving our users from the home page deep into the website to access the information they need with minimal fuss.
I identified four key concepts that the new brand should communicate, which tie in directly with design elements.
No more cheesy staged business stock images! We are opting for photojournalistic and authentic images that truly reflect the culture of Clearwater. If possible using images taken by our creative team, in our building, with our people.
Clearwater now has it’s own building, and we are super proud of it! It’s now an integral part of who we are and therefore should be a key component of our branding. Showing our building as the home page hero image immediately builds credibility and shows that we are an established firm.
Architectural images can also be used as graphical elements in the new brand, adding depth and interest to the angular blocks of color.
We are a SaaS tech company in the corporate investment accounting world so it’s imperative that our brand speaks that language.
Fonts, colors, white space, photography and the language used in our content all contribute to the feeling of sophistication. We added charcoal to the color palette, changed the font family to something subtle, clean and unique, and introduced a large amount of white space to our designs.
Brand Leadership & Individuality
Yes we are corporate, yes we are technical, but we are also uniquely Clearwater. We don’t want our brand to blend in, but rather stand out as a unique and cutting edge solution for our clients, and as a leader in our industry.
I created background textures and unique graphical shapes that offer a refreshing contrast to the clean straight lines and white space.