|Atlas Lens Co. had big ambitions for its website redesign on BigCommerce, but too many good ideas and too little direction had the team stuck on how to move forward.
Read on to find out how Salted Stone designed and developed a visually captivating website that won BigCommerce’s 2022 ‘Make it Big’ Design Award.
When Atlas Lens Co. decided to overhaul its brand and website, the team was completely overwhelmed by the task laid out before them. They had vision and ambition, but needed a partner to help pull everything together and transform inspiration into action.
Atlas Lens Co. (Atlas) is a designer and manufacturer of anamorphic cinema lenses, headquartered in Glendale, California. They deliver vintage aesthetics without the substantial cost associated with legacy anamorphic lenses, creating greater access to filmmaking tools.
The company was ready for a website rebrand and rebuild that would overhaul the ecommerce process to improve usability and bring into focus how their products supported their mission of “anamorphic for all.” The team was confident in the value of its offering, but their current website experience left a lot to be desired.
In search of help, Atlas chose Salted Stone as its website design and development partner, and launched its award-winning website in September 2021.
Atlas’ products are for a highly visual industry, and they needed a stylish website to match their brand’s values, quality, and mission.
The original website (built on Squarespace) was flat, dated, and uninspired, a far cry from the image Atlas wanted to project. They needed a website that could visually cut through the noise and grab attention. It had to drive purchase decisions by appealing to both the audience’s creative hearts and rational minds.
When it came to the website experience, Atlas had a clear list of goals, including:
- Achieve a single source of truth for the brand story
- Establish itself as a leader in the field of anamorphics
- Understand and align with an extended buyer journey
- Capture leads to be nurtured through to conversion
- Sell anamorphic lenses online via BigCommerce
- Enable users to login to a customer portal and track orders
Additionally, Atlas wanted content management kept simple. Basic changes — like adding product photos and info, editing copy, and updating video assets — had to be easily accomplished by their small but dedicated team.
Atlas weren’t short on ideas and inspiration for the website, so the challenge was prioritization. They realized they needed a seasoned team to lead them through an execution plan. After all, failure to plan is planning to fail.
After exploring possible website partners, Atlas chose Salted Stone to execute its website redesign and launch on BigCommerce.
Salted Stone’s approach
We determined the challenge was twofold: visually rebrand Atlas, and build a fresh website on a better-fit platform for a growing business. To deliver a visually captivating and high-converting eCommerce website, Salted Stone used its tried-and-tested website roadmapping process.
Andrew Siskind, Salted Stone’s Creative Director, began by meeting with Atlas’ key stakeholders to understand their business inside and out. A series of structured workshops teased out desires and goals for the website, from filling sales pipeline gaps to functionality preferences.
From a user experience perspective, there were a few unique challenges to solve. First and foremost, Atlas’ products have a good number of configurable options, so Salted Stone had to design product page templates that could support a variety of user selections in an intuitive, easy-to-understand way that would interact seamlessly with on-page pricing calculations.
Additionally, these product pages needed to house and surface a greater-than-average amount of video content to give buyers a sense of the product’s capabilities, since product images alone wouldn’t be enough. Finally, we had to work with the Atlas team to build a user flow for their pre-order process, because deposits had to be collected for made-to-order products.
The roadmapping process took about four weeks to complete end to end. The insights that surfaced were used to design a sitemap and information architecture, from which our team scoped a plan for the website redesign and launch.
Like most of our other B2B projects, Salted Stone’s editorial team had to become fast experts in a niche industry’s vernacular and tone of voice.
The target audience speaks the language of cinematography. We wanted the website experience to resonate with creators, and our tone and phrasing had to draw them in. Using Atlas’ input, we wrote copy for all of the pages identified in the sitemap. Best practices in SEO and UX were also applied for optimal search performance and on-page experiences.
Visual identity & design
In order to bring Atlas Lens’ vision to life, our team began designing a new visual identity. We followed an iterative process of refinement, starting with mood boards to select a theme and then into style tiles to set the direction. The client was actively involved in brainstorming workshops to ensure we were in complete alignment.
Thanh Hoang, Lead Designer on the project, took Atlas Lens’ “retro sci-fi” idea and ran with it. She evolved this descriptor into a homepage mock-up, treated with a Star Wars-vibe color palette.
Developing mood boards is the first step in our Visual Identity process.
We use the chosen moodboard theme to create various style tile directions.
Atlas’ team were thrilled! Matt Scolinos, Account Manager at the helm of the project, was there when the deliverable was presented. “It was absolutely amazing, and it completely blew the client away,” he recalled. “Thanh’s phenomenal work really set the bar for the remaining pages.”
From there, Thanh designed the remaining pages using the sophisticated retro/sci-fi style, including important navigational elements. Branded montages and creator showreels shot on Atlas lenses were sprinkled throughout, drawing an emotional response at the right time and place.
Perhaps the most breathtaking part of the website design was the homepage hero video and scroll experience. We’ll let the page do the talking…
While the site was largely built on a dark template for an immersive, cinematic feel, we also created a light-themed version. Having two options would give Atlas creative license when building new pages in the future.
Development & integrations
Karen Cagape, the project’s sole web developer, drew on her creativity when building on BigCommerce to bring Thanh’s designs to life with motion and engaging micro-interactions. She took a basic theme and overhauled it, manipulating it until it matched our predetermined designs. Although developer documentation was somewhat scarce for our ambitious build, Karen’s experience developing on other eCommerce platforms saw her through this project on time and on budget.
We then connected the website up to Atlas’ member portal. Customers had to be able to log in to access orders and extended warranty information and submit customer service requests. The integrations had to work seamlessly for the website experience to function as intended.
Lastly, our team plugged in Atlas’ supporting technologies like Zoho CRM and Google Analytics. After a little extra tinkering, Salted Stone lifted the curtain on Atlas’ rebranded website.
Our website roadmapping, rebranding, and launch process enabled our team to achieve the following goals:
- Rebrand Atlas Lens Co. and give the website a visual edge
- Allow the brand to tell its story through written and video content
- Design and develop the website on the BigCommerce platform
- Drive lead generation and thought leadership in anamorphics
- Enable customers to shop online and manage member accounts
Atlas realized the value of Salted Stone’s roadmapping process because it harnessed their functionality ideas and directed them toward impact. But there was one unforeseen perk to the website rebrand — the company won an award!
The 2022 Make it Big Awards puts the spotlight on online retailers’ achievements using BigCommerce. Atlas’ new website took out the Design Award. Here’s a highlight from the judging panel:
“This site is simply beautiful. It’s a fantastic example of how a BigCommerce site can be content-rich and drive the user down a conversion journey effectively. The commerce journey was ultimately seamless, allowing the user to quickly check out without distraction. Showcasing the results of what their product produces with brilliant imagery and then showing the products is genius.”
— BigCommerce ‘Make it Big Award’ Judge
Matt Scolinos is ecstatic about this recognition for Salted Stone. “This project’s north star goal was the creative benchmark set by Atlas Lens Co.,” he said. “It allowed for playful execution in both the UX and customer journey.”
“I’m so proud,” Matt continued. “This is absolutely the coolest website project I have had the pleasure of leading at Salted Stone.”
Kathy Tran, Atlas' Director of Marketing acknowledges the project’s success was all in the partnership. “Thanks for being such a great partner and helping us elevate our vision into an award-winning experience.”
And the partnership continues. Today, Salted Stone provides ongoing support to Atlas in maintaining the website’s beauty and functionality.
If you’re an eCommerce brand looking for an award-winning digital presence that will delight your customers, contact us.