Monday, May 23, 2016Since 1995, the year tmssoftware.com started focussing on offering components & tools for developers, it was time for a fifth major overhaul of our website. Since the beginning of this year, a lot work went into this overhaul behind the scenes for this overhaul. Some of the main goals of this website overhaul we set at the beginning of this project were:
- Improved product discoverability
- Graphically evolve into a more modern style, influenced by Apple, Google material design, Windows 10 style
- Improved organisation of products by technologies and overview of product structure
- Find sufficient differentiating and recognizable style elements
- Move to responsive design for optimal UX for mobile, tablet, desktop
- Improved readability of information with more space, more contrast, more consistent and better structure of product pages
- Make the site more consistent with common web practices
Improved product discoverability
There is product discoverability from website top down navigation and from entering the website via search. Instead of showing the latest product releases, the home page is now centered around products. Products can be discovered from the main "Products" menu with a popup showing an overview of our most popular products organised by product type.
. At the same time, there is an overview of technologies/frameworks our products are based on and from there, the visitor is guided to the products per technology. Within the technology boxes on the main page, we have also featured our most popular products within this technology and the visitor can navigate to it directly by clicking it.
Equally important is discoverability from entering the website via searches. Here we have on product pages immediately references to equivalent products for different technologies. If you'd search for a cross platform scheduling/planner components via Google and were directed to the VCL product page, you can immediately see in the top right corner that we have the product also available for other technologies/frameworks.
Graphically evolve into a more modern style
Where the previous website was still more influenced by the Office 2007 style, early iOS style, it was a choice to move to a more minimal style typically used these days. We removed the old DVD box analogy representing the software, we removed gradients, grayish & soft elements and now have a more sharp, slightly harder graphical design.
Improved organisation of products
There is a strong focus on organisation of products by technology or framework. This is already visible on the main page where we have currently 8 boxes representing 8 technologies/frameworks we have products for. Each technology or framework is represented by a specific color and these colors should help increase the awareness under what technology a product can be used.
Some products support multiple technologies/frameworks. Whereas this was not possible in the former website, now, products supporting multiple frameworks at the same time will be listed under each technology/framework these support. As such, our ORM product TMS Aurelius will appear under VCL, FMX and the business logic category as it falls into each of these categories.
Differentiating and recognizable style elements
Our logo has been slightly restyled with the underlining of the part 'tmssoftware' and ending the line with a corner under the dot. Where a square logo is needed like for avatars, this is reduced to 'tms' underlined ending under the dot.
This line & dot element is repeated for various boxes on our website and subtle animations stress this line & dot element.
We also like to think of the dot on the line a kind of similar to putting the dot on the i, hinting at our drive and continuous striving for delivering our products and support with the highest possible quality.
We had noticed that about 20% of our website traffic was coming from mobile devices & tablets, so we considered this important enough to also focus on offering a good UX for users on mobile phones and tablets. Our website will now automatically adapt to have a good usability on all these different browser form factors.
Where in our former website, the product information or blogs were often squeezed between the left sidebar and the right-side download box or blog history & selector, we removed the boxes at the right side of these pages and we add the capability to hide the left sidebar. This way, the full page can be used to read our product information and blogs and have this space available for bigger screenshots as well.
Consistency with common web practices
We paid attention to keep our website consistent with typical & common web practices these days. You'll find the website sign-in button in the top right corner of the page. You find the company information, social media links, website sitemap and commonly used page references always the bottom of the website in the footer area. In a similar way, after login the website will always display your user account name on top as well as the main menu in a fixed non-scrolling area. A search functionality across our product pages, web forum and FAQs is also available and always visible in the top right corner.
In a nutshell, we hope you will not only find our v5.0 website more visually pleasing but also easier to navigate and discover products. While v5 was tested and approved by a small group of people in the past couple of weeks, as of today, it is available for everyone. This means that from today, we're eager to learn from you how you experience the v5 website and more importantly, if you have more ideas and suggestions to improve it even further. With your inputs and help, we can continue to strive for perfection or "to put the dot on the line" in our case. But at the same time,keeping the famous words of painter Salvador Dali in mind: "Have no fear of perfection, you will never reach it".
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