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Interactive Annual 15:
self-promotion

Razorfish

Launch Live Site

“With its broadcast-yourself approach, this site offers all the excitement of being a Peeping Tom without the legal implications. But, it’s the simple transitions and Flash integration with the back button that make it a winner.” —Stacey Mulcahy

“The global Webcams offer an artful glimpse into the world of a leading digital company.” —Jason Ring


Overview: The Razorfish site reflects its image as a pioneer in digital brand management; embodying its four core principles (experimental, simple, global and social), it’s a fitting showcase for the grown-up yet playful agency it has become. As visitors navigate a content-rich portfolio, ideas and offerings, full-screen video feeds offer sneak peeks inside twenty worldwide offices while subtle sound design, vivid color cues and decidedly human copy add depth to the experience. Despite an ambitious amount of content, the user experience is immersive, interactive and, with an intuitive navigation and a shallow hierarchy, easy to use.

  • • The up-front white planes on launch move in tandem with the user’s mouse actions.
  • • Changing the video selector in the lower right corner shifts to a video feed from a different office along with playful status lines that change according to location and time of day.
  • • Comparing one month pre-launch with one month post-launch, dwell time has increased by 65 percent; visits are up by 64 percent and page views by 89 percent.

Comments by Marcelo Marer

How did this project compare with others you’ve worked on in the past? “Razorfish is an agency that develops Web sites and campaigns for major clients; what we discovered is that managing our own site is an altogether different challenge. Not only are we staffed with over-stretched Web designers busy balancing this project with billable client demands, but we were also dealing with people with very strong opinions and visions about what our Web presence should look like and how the agency should be positioned. Strong project management and clearly defined executive sponsorship roles were critical in keeping the redesign on-track, not getting derailed by competing client work or bogged down in corporate governance issues while managing this rollout across multiple offices and countries.”

How did you ensure organizational buy-in for the creative? “Although the team that worked on razorfish.com was based in New York, we had to make sure the site we built represented our quickly-growing organization of 20 worldwide offices and 2,000-plus employees. In addition, we had to please a very difficult-to-please and hyper-critical audience that does Web design for a living (a case of your own company being the worst client). In addition to more traditional ways of ensuring that our site represented the agency in all its diversity (global solicitation of case studies, subject matter expert approvers for key section content), we also tried some unique ways to help secure organizational buy-in.

“The video feeds from our worldwide offices turned out to be a brilliant way to do that because we empowered the creative leaders in each global office to set up their office feeds as they saw fit—in a way that best showcased the physical office space, the environment or the personalities of the staff. The video labels themselves (such as San Francisco is lunchin’ on macro-biotic) also became another avenue for office-level self-expression. As a result, each office felt like a contributor to the site and, as such, accountable for its success. Finally, we held two beta periods prior to launch: one, a sneak peek for management; and the second, a company-wide beta period in which we solicited feedback/criticism and responded to every single comment with either a fix or an explanation. One employee went so far as to QA our entire HTML duplicate site in his spare time! The employee beta yielded tons of constructive criticism, helped to ensure that employees felt heard and, in the end, a better site.”

Credits

Simona Lo, senior art director
Josh Fisher, writer
Jordan Winick, designer
David Estis/Darwin Tomlinson, creative directors
Jeremy Newton/Michael Scafidi, developers
Chris McKenzie, Flash programmer
Marcelo Marer, information architect
Ken Macy, animator
Anthony Allison, producer
Andrea Boone, program manager
Somatome, sound designer
Razorfish, project design and development
David LaBar, Razorfish, client