Content Thread | Adobe CQ5 Development

content thread screenshot

Who is Content Thread?

Content Thread contacted me towards the end of last year. They had an interesting challenge on their hands; they needed to set their development agency apart from the crowd. To give you a little background on what Content Thread do you'd have to understand a little about Adobe CQ5.

Content Thread form part of a select group of development agencies that specialise in the implementation of Adobe CQ5 (Adobe's very own content management system). Why small? Not everyone can afford the half a million dollar licensing fees associated with CQ5. This put Content Thread in a privileged position, they have the ability to market themselves to a select group of clients.

The brief problem

Part of the original brief was as follows:

“The biggest challenge is to differentiate Content Thread within a crowded industry, populated with strong, well-established competition.”

So if other agencies were specialising in similar services, how could Content Thread differentiate themselves?

After studying the competition it quickly became apparent that the emphasis was clearly on the technical know how. Roughly translated, there was a lot of geek speak. This presents an interesting problem; more often than not the services offered by development agencies aren’t contracted by technical clients. The people who do the reasearch, the ones who put their hands in their pockets so to speak are the CMO's (Chief Marketing Officers) or business owners. All this technical jargon was being wasted on the wrong people.

The competition

The competitors’ websites were all strikingly similar. They were tech-orientated, business websites in every sense. An overwhelming use of grey and stock photos left me cold. There was no warmth, no sense of “people” or team.

Eureka!

I realised that if Content Thread were to stand out, they needed to start focusing on the people behind the technologies and the problems they were solving. We like to do business with real people, in fact when business is done well we don't even think of it as business, we think of it as a relationship. We like to form solid relationships with people who actually give a damn.

At the heart of Content Thread there's a small team of dedicated professionals who stand firmly behind their work. This was missing; they needed to show the world that the people behind the technology would make a difference to their business.

Content Thread implementation screen

Project planning

Their old website was a one-pager with very little content. Along with rebranding the Content Thread experience, I needed to organise the site in such a way so that considerably more content could be added and easily viewed. There was a lot more to tell the world about Content Thread than would fit onto a single-page portfolio. With a subject as complex as CQ5 and multiple programming languages on offer, it needed to all fit together nicely.

During this period we met regularly on Skype to discuss progress. I love this stage of any project, meeting to talk through ideas and concepts always gets me excited. We drew up a rough sitemap with some initial content before it was time to move over to the wireframes.

Wireframes

There are so many ways to undergo the wireframe process, but the most crucial thing of all is to actually do them. They're vital to the success of any project. They help plan layout, structure and hierarchy of a website, without having to invest unnecessary time in design. It can take minutes to change a wireframe, but hours or even days to update a finished design. If you’re not familiar with the wireframe process, you can read a more in-depth article about the value of wireframing here: Why Designers Use Wireframes: Planning and Collaboration

Content Thread wireframe

Responsive site

The final website needed to be responsive. From Desktop all the way down to your friendly neighbourhood mobile phone. With the exponential increase in mobile traffic it makes sense to ensure your website is accessible across all devices. The key to a successful mobile experience lies in focus. What do you focus on? What’s essential? What’s your core message? With such a reduced space to work in, the design and content needs to be laser focused.

Content Thread responsive mobile

The aftermath

I had a blast working on the Content Thread project. The team was responsive to new ideas and suggestions and I learned that remote teams can work well, when done right. They were always quick to respond to any questions and feedback was always well thought out. Content Thread are now up and running and kicking Adobe CQ5 ass!


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