Two innovative entrepreneurs with big dreams and even bigger ambitions: meet Fabian and Leopold, the founders and brains behind the esports platform EarlyGame. At the end of last year, the duo came to us with a very interesting project: they were looking for a partner that could support them in rolling out a news website about esports and gaming, all the way from A to Z.
The website should be an international online home for all things esports. From news to information, gameplay and tournaments, EarlyGame had to have it all. And it had to be made fast, because new competitors were entering the market and investors wanted to see results. It was a challenge, but we loved it. In order to go live as quickly as possible, we proposed a minimum viable product. We started out small and with the goal of achieving the best results with minimal resources.
FROM SQUARE ONE
A well-crafted interplay of wishes and advice
Creating a news platform from scratch was sure to be challenging, but certainly still fun. Fortunately, the founders had a very clear idea of what their platform had to be and were open to advice. The target audience was also clearly defined: young people who love games, enjoy tech and trendy
An expressive logo
Due to the time pressure, we accelerated our Think phase. Within the span of one day, we held both a card sorting session and a moodboard session with Fabian and Leopold. Based on the information we gained from these sessions, we started to design EarlyGame’s unique style and UX. In the process, we looked at different colors, fonts, target group preferences, examples, inspirations, and competitors. There were a lot of gaming elements at our disposal: an arrow, a keyboard, a mouse and WASD keys - all of which are used frequently in gaming. We also took into account some competitive symbols, such as a fist, a trophy, and the initials of EarlyGame.
We presented our sketches to the customer and processed a number of adjustments. Fabian and Leopold then determined their final logo. They chose a design with simple shapes and a cursor - one of the most universal and recognisable gaming elements. Together with the letters E and G, the initials of EarlyGame, the cursor forms the clear and catchy logo of the company.
Going to market with your branding aligned
Fabian and Leopold provided great input and wanted to remain closely involved with the process - which is exactly the way of working that we prefer too. Based on the moodboard and the elements we curated, we went to the drawing board to sketch some logos. The client was then asked to choose a concept direction. This choice was digitized and supplemented with a style guide, a document in which we clearly draw up the branding rules. It contains guidelines on the usage of the logo, which colors go with which fonts, and mock-ups of what this all looks like in practice. This allows a company to enter the market with a visually aligned brand.
The specific needs of a news website
After we had solidified the branding, it was time for the next step: designing the website. As it is a news website, we had to meet specific design needs. For example, we had to take into account the essential importance of having a good information structure and overview of the content, enough space for video, and a search function. During the card sorting session, our designers already addressed all additional questions: how much content should we show, and where? Which article categories do we build? How do we convince the visitor that this is a nice website to read about esports?
A PLAYFUL STRUCTURE
With a streamlined process, options are endless
The key word during the website’s design process proved to be ‘structure’. Our team did everything they could to build the website as neatly and organized as possible, while ensuring that the use of colour and dynamic elements in the website appeals to and activates the target group. By animating various elements, the website donned a more playful feel. During the design process, our developers were brought in to give advice on which elements could and could not be realized. That way, we maintain that options are plenty, but we ensure that processes remain streamlined and that we can keep up with the client’s schedule.
Trimming megabytes for optimal speed
The collaboration between our teams continued to run smoothly after approval of the design. By calling in our developers at an early stage, the logic of the design was easily realized in the development of the website. Nevertheless, we ran into a content uploading hurdle - but we swiftly overcame it by using detours to quickly load a multitude of photo and video content. By working with different caching tools, the latest version of the available content can be loaded quickly. We also used Image Transform, a plugin for Craft CMS. This property cuts and scales images to the size required on the website without sacrificing quality. This allows us to use optimized images, which makes the website even faster for the user.
An ongoing collaboration
Fabian and Leopold are very pleased with the cooperation. According to the ambitious duo, we have not only proven our ability to create beautiful, dynamic and appealing designs, they also mention that they very much appreciate the ongoing advice of Wirelab as a strategic partner. We ourselves are just as enthusiastic! In three months time, we have built a fully functioning news website, including full branding and design, and - most importantly - all of that seamlessly fits the needs of the target audience. We’re proud to be at the cradle of this innovative international start-up, and we’re eager to help EarlyGame grow into a great success. There’s still plenty of work to be done!