Imagine a product site that is meant to inspire you. A site that showcases and celebrates creativity from all over the world. And rewards loyalty to the brand. A site that helps you find a product that best matches your needs. And knows how to nudge you in the right direction. Imagine.
Here at Fi, we’re in love with Wacom products – the tools that help us do what we do best as a creative agency. So when Wacom told us they were launching new product lines and expanding into the broader marketplace for everyday users, we put all our efforts into creating the most intuitive and beautiful site experience possible…
What if you could inform professionals and still engage the public?
It’s important to consider the differing levels of experience with your brand. In this case, Wacom was already a global leader in producing useful, intuitive creative tools and interfaces for serious creative professionals. But they had recently expanded their product suite to include tools for everyday use among the general public, and needed a way to engage those unfamiliar with their brand, without neglecting the creative professionals who make up the bulk of their existing user base.
So the challenge was to present their multiple, multi-faceted product lines in a way that served the needs of the specific audience for which each line was created. A single, global experience to engage existing consumers and fans, while welcoming first-timers to the world of Wacom.
Why stick to the norm?
What if we created an entirely new category of product site? Today’s product sites basically fall into three main categories. Utilitarian sites like Amazon put the products on the equivalent of store shelves, and base their sales model on peer reviews. Storytelling sites like Apple focus on the beauty of the product, and base their sales model primarily on brand recognition and familiarity. Lifestyle sites like Bang & Olufsen push a cohesive luxury lifestyle that sells their products as status symbols. There were certainly opportunities to follow one of these established models, but we saw an entirely new category to suit the specific needs and objectives of Wacom… Let’s call it the Experiential site. We’re thinking: let the user experience what it’s like to own and use the product. Of course the user is never alone, the site helps guide them to the correct product through intuitive suggestions and a new, humanised product finder.
Is a homepage still relevant?
We wanted to see if we could make this old staple more about exploration and discovery. Of course it’s a driving principle that any successful website must offer quick, easy access to exactly what a user is looking for, without having to search too far. However, based on the highly creative nature of Wacom’s product offerings, we looked at creating an additional layer to the experience. Knowing that many site visitors may be seeing Wacom’s products, and experiencing their brand, for the very first time, we knew the first impression had to be equal parts information and inspiration. Striking a balance between utility and experience, we replaced the homepage with a discovery page: A dynamic starting point that organically flexes toward whichever user type encounters it.
Can navigation be both simple and robust?
Picture a friendly usher, only there when you need them. A site’s navigation should serve all types of users equally, while maintaining utter simplicity and economy of space. Beyond that, there’s additional opportunity to intuitively guide the user, based on small (optional) bits of information gathered. Through a combination of sticky nav items, jump navigation, and a layered information architecture we offer many different ways to explore varying levels of detail within each product line.
Can a product page offer more than specs?
Let’s leave the selling to the salespeople. Put the product experience first, and allow the user to dig deeper if and how they choose. Friendly, relevant and useful messaging replaces pushy sales and marketing speak. On the page’s vertical plane, users get the big idea first, they experience a sense of the product in action, then obtain deeper levels of detail the lower they scroll on the page. Let’s provide the user an interactive thread that they can choose to pull as much or as little as they want.
Why not create a whole community?
Others’ work should inspire your own, so let’s facilitate those interactions. Creative people are essentially a global collection of like-minded people interested in manifesting things that did not previously exist. Leveraging the broad reach and intense interest in social media platforms, and the existing hardcore fanbase for Wacom products, it was only natural to stitch those together into the new Wacom site. #MadeWithWacom ties into the site’s content offering, providing real-life examples of how others are using the product suite in their own lives, creating a real-time sense of community and inspiration.
Why not have fun, too?
We love sharing behind the scenes photos, after all, the human process can be just as interesting as the creative one.
Beautiful images, videos and cool new icons don’t create themselves. Fi sent part of its Wacom team to Tokyo to gather as many assets as possible. Their schedule included having fun, meeting with Wacom and taking lots of HD photos – including some silly ones!
Visit Wacom.com for the complete experience.
We are Fi. A Digital Design Agency that specializes in the architecture, design, and development of award-winning digital experiences. With a specialized focus in creative strategy and interaction design, we approach engagements with a heavy bias towards aesthetics and innovation within the digital space. Founded in 1999, Fi continues to work with some of the biggest brands such as USA Today, Google, and Microsoft.