Redesigning the website for Alternative Technology
Esfera | May 2021
Understanding the Alternative Way
Alternative Technology got its beginnings in 1997 with a straightforward computer software that created a graph from computer art for hand knotting. Since its beginnings, it has been empowering the custom rug industry for more than two decades, and its products have revolutionized the way carpets are created, manufactured, and marketed. It was both a tremendous opportunity and a difficult challenge to portray this rich tradition and the entire line of innovative products.
The project to revamp the corporate website began with a brief discussion of the idea: to redesign the website to tell a pictorial story of the current and future innovations of the company and how they apply to the custom rug industry.
Focusing on Story
Each of Alternative Technology’s many software products has its own website, and each software tool is well-known and well-adapted globally. The intent of redesigning its website was not for marketing its products. The company simply wanted a novel artistic website that narrated its story to the visitors. Taking a story-driven approach to create ideas for the website redesign, we decided to portray two stories on the website. First story’s protagonist was the company itself.
On the website’s About Us page, we narrated The Alternative Story from its inception to its future vision through its journey over the years.
On the Home page, we highlighted The Rug Story. We crafted a narrative depiction of how Alternative’s technologies guide the rug makers through a full rug lifecycle – from concept to creation.
We then wove together Alternative’s futuristic solutions like Virtual exhibitions, Rugshare, and other explorations as a continuation of this narrative and as a glimpse into the future innovation the company is working on.
For sharing our vision for the website redesign, I created a simple idea deck to discuss the rough idea for the concept and structure of the new website. After the initial idea was approved by the client, I created a very rough prototype for depicting The Alternative Way using Canva to get a feel for the design. After that, prototyping for each page was done on Adobe XD. After sharing the initial prototype with Alternative Tech’s team, the prototype was revised again and yet again.
The design process was a close collaboration between us and our client. We received abundant insight into the customer base of Alternative Tech through the design process. Hence, we were able to create a simple flow of story telling through aesthetic visual components that highlighted the innovation of Alternative’s visualizations without burdening the visitors with its backing technology.
One of Alternative Technology’s key innovations is their life-like rug visualizations – which enable manufacturers to visualize (and even sell!) their custom carpets even before making them. We felt that this was important to showcase, and so, we crafted small UI elements that highlight these visualizations. Similar thought and care were given to other key areas to perfect the visitor experience, and to give them a sense of what makes Alternative’s products special.