Co|Create Case Study

Corporate Website Re-Design Project

The Problem

CoCreate Software, a spin-off company formed from Hewlett-Packard, was the creator of an enterprise 3D CAD software platform used in Project Lifecycle Management (PLM) for companies in high-tech manufacturing and heavy industry.

The previous legacy website had been built on an older and out-of-date platform using ColdFusion as the core publishing technology. Its look and organization also tended to appeal to the industrial engineering users of the software, rather than the corporate C-Level decision-makers who would purchase the software for their companies. The software integrated features such as inventory control, sourcing, and other elements of the product-lifecycle with the need to produce rapid designs of new products.

The goal of the new site was to appeal to both the chief engineers, the influencers, and the decision-makers with the message that this software met the efficiency needs of engineers working in all aspects of the manufacturing process in order to speed time-to-market of new product designs.

Additionally, the site needed to be re-organized to better serve the needs for ongoing training and technical support for the software. The existing site was found to be difficult for users to find product information and technical support material easily. It also needed to be translatable into multiple languages by localization teams working in Germany and Japan. The decision was made to build the new site employing an ASP.NET platform in order to facilitate easier localization by native-speakers.

The Solution

An extensive round of information-architecture and usability studies with both paper and online prototypes was produced in order to ensure the new design would meet the business goals. A new interactive “learning center” would be developed which would be much simpler to find in the site from product pages. These learning center modules would feature online video, webinars and other product demos.

As the new architecture was developed by myself and my team at CoCreate, a new look-and-feel was developed to communicate a clean, high-tech feel. Images were chosen that could be developed into signature artwork that could be re-used in a variety of media, print and online, and which communicated the idea of “speed” as a primary value-proposition of the software.

The final website included more than 500 pages of content, but it was simple to find and locate product information and technical demonstrations and learning materials. I documented the entire site design for localization teams to use as they began work to translate pages, and traveled to the corporate headquarters in Germany to train the international teams on the site design and structure.

The Result

The new corporate website was very well-received by the intended audiences and stakeholders, though it had a short run. In 2008, the company was acquired by Parametric Technology Corporation (PTC), and the web assets were incorporated into PTC’s own website, and the company re-branded to PTC’s own design standard.

Overall, the new site’s look-and-feel and its design system made the company a more attractive acquisition for PTC since it was clearer, easier to use, and had a much more high-tech appeal compared to competitors — including PTC itself.

I was asked to remain in order to help transition the site design and assets into PTC’s own website, and I worked with the PTC marketing team to improve aspects of PTC’s own web presence before PTC too, was re-branded and the sites re-designed by external agencies.

The link to the document below is a critique and usability analysis of PTC’s website that I was asked to produce shortly after the acquisition of CoCreate:

OutsidersView (PDF)