HindSite engaged us to build a website for their new product FieldCentral—an app and website for landscape and lawn maintenance contractors. Initially, FieldCentral was intended to stand alone as its own brand, separate from HindSite’s original field service software offering for green industry contractors.
We approached the design and development of the FieldCentral site within a Growth-Driven Design (GDD) framework — identifying up-front the core pages and features that would constitute a Launchpad Site and then sprinting towards completing them.
But after seeing the new FieldCentral site and talking through the overall company vision with HindSite stakeholders and strategists from our team, HindSite leadership chose to roll FieldCentral up as a product into HindSite’s portfolio of products, and then totally rebrand HindSite as a software company with multiple products.
This big decision came just as our team was preparing to deploy FieldCentral's Launchpad site.
Chad Reinholz, HindSite’s Marketing Manager, explains:
“At the end of the day, it really became about not wanting to lose the brand capital we’d built over the past two decades with HindSite. It’s a name people in the green industry recognize.”
But the decision to incorporate FieldCentral into the HindSite family of software solutions presented the sort of challenge that makes the nimbleness and agility of GDD so attractive. Not very different from how modern-day GPS devices function, when the final destination changed, the framework of our relationship with the client allowed us to rapidly adapt and plot a new course on-the-fly.
Mike Skeehan, Salted Stone’s CEO explains, “One of the key reasons that we were able to succeed within timeline and budget parameters is that we were able to treat the goalpost shifting in a simple manner: as a new piece of data that changed the direction of our upcoming sprints." He adds: "To put it in the parlance of Growth-Driven Design: one of our fundamental assumptions had just been disrupted. And we needed to develop a new hypothesis as a result."
The hypothesis dictated that FieldCentral would be rolled up into a product page on the HindSite site, but to do that without being jarring to the user as they navigated FieldCentral within the HindSite universe, our team knew that we had to entirely re-work the original HindSite website.
According to Reinholz, “We needed to align the two brands structurally and visually. The new FieldCentral website was clean and clear. It’s straightforward and makes us look like a modern software company, something our old HindSite website didn’t really do. We quickly realized we needed a new HindSite website."
"And frankly," Reinholz shares, "we also wanted to move it over to the HubSpot platform just to make it easier for us to maintain and give us additional flexibility so we could use things like Smart Content to personalize the web experience to who ever was visiting. That was big for us.”
HindSite's existing website did not adequately convey their hard-won status as industry mainstays.
The most significant challenges our team faced while planning for the new HindSite website revolved around how to reverse engineer a corporate brand from a standalone product brand, and how to structurally align the two sites so that content that had been created for FieldCentral could be refashioned and repurposed for HindSite.
In many respects, by using the GDD approach, we were creating another Launch Pad website wishlist, but in a "meta" sense inasuch as our new HindSite Launch Pad incorporated the entirety of our initial FieldCentral Launch Pad website.
With the FieldCentral site, we thought we were building a standalone brand. But since that didn’t end up being the case, we had to zoom out to create a larger brand universe for HindSite—one that was thematically consistent and naturally included FieldCentral.
This challenge resulted in our design and dev teams needing to approach the HindSite website build backwards, based entirely on the FieldCentral site we’d designed and launched.
A Growth-Driven Design approach was required from the beginning for the HindSite website just due to the reverse engineering and the fact that the company was making big branding and product decisions in real time.
GDD provides the flexibility we knew we would need while working. FieldCentral was also signed on as a growth-driven scope and the work ran in sprints as we approached launch day. Then, right before launch, we had to re-visit the overarching strategy and positioning of FieldCentral completely, based on the new decision to include FieldCentral as a product in the HindSite parent company. So that next series of sprints were focused on how best we could integrate FieldCentral into the new main brand website for HindSite.
Salted Stone’s UI / UX Designer, Kathleen Huang, “We really aimed to keep the homepage design clean and more like an app. We wanted to stay technology focused, but in thinking of the imagery, and how best to connect with web visitors and potential customers, we didn’t want stock images of office workers looking really buttoned up. The customers of HindSite are contractors and often found out in the field on the job.”
Reinholz says that one of the biggest deciding factors for HindSite, in choosing to work with Salted Stone was the quality of our past work.
He says, “We looked at other vendors and a lot of what they designed looked cookie-cutter. They’d send us three sites, and you could tell they’d used the same template, just changed some minor things here and there. That was not the case for Salted Stone. Each website had a unique personality that matched the company they’d done the work for. Their finished products stood out.”
Beyond looking good, we always want to provide excellent value for our clients. So to be as cost effective and time efficient as possible, our team worked to repurpose as much of the content from the original standalone Field Central site as was possible so that it could be reused on the new HindSite domain.
Our designers and developers stitched together a website based on the content we had from the FieldCentral sitemap and then completed a gap analysis to determine what pages may still be needed for the new HindSite parent site.
In line with growth-driven design philosophy, we approached the challenge with a modular way of thinking. Instead of a “burn down the barn” strategy of starting from scratch, we looked at it like… “what can we work with that’s already here. How can we be the most efficient and cognizant of the client’s resources and our agency’s time”
“Beyond that, the team at Salted Stone is very easy to work with. Everything is well-planned out. We set goals and timelines at the beginning and measure our progress on weekly calls. We both have clear weekly expectations for what we need to get done to meet our deadline.”
Mitch McKenzie, Salted Stone’s Creative Director, says “I was really happy that we got the opportunity to rebrand HindSite because after creating the branding for their software FieldCentral, the legacy Hindsite brand was lagging behind. The new look will seamlessly carry through from the parent brand to both product offerings (Field Central and The HindSite Solution), creating a unified brand family. I think it really hits the mark on communicating the brand values: simple-to-use software for hard-working folks built by hard-working folks who really understand what hard-working folks need.”
Skeehan says, "If the original FieldCentral site had been approached within a traditional framework, it would have been considerably more difficult to adapt operationally. We would have needed to evaluate a new scope for the HindSite site, determine the level of completeness of the existing FieldCentral site, and attempt to reconcile the latter with the former by way of credits or other considerations. It would have—at minimum—slowed the process down as we worked through contractual issues. And, in all likelihood, the client would have found themselves overbudget on the project because we would have needed to collect based on progress against the original scope and associated payment milestones. Perhaps worst of all, it's almost guaranteed that we wouldn't have been able to launch in time to capitalize upon one of their busiest selling seasons."
He adds, "This was a shining example for us of how approaching a business website within a framework that presupposes and ancticipates constant evolution can truly drive value for the client. The question really shifts from What did we originally agree to? to What do you need today? — it's a much more gratifying question for everyone to answer."
Learn more about the benefits of, and action steps associated with, Growth-Driven Design in our eBook for Dev's.