Key Web executive:
James Lindenbaum, founder
No. of people working on the site:
Last major redesign:
No. of pages on the site:
Fewer than 10
Cloud application platform provider Heroku's website caters almost exclusively to developers, which is why the original site contained almost nothing but code. “At the time, 90% of people coming to the site might have said, "What's this?' and left; but the 10% who knew what it was were the people we were trying to attract,” said James Lindenbaum, founder of Heroku. The current site is a little less code-rich, but its focus is still the same: providing developers with the tools and knowledge they need to do their jobs. It's one of the reasons, Lindenbaum said, that the site's development is handled by the same people who build Heroku's products.
The current redesign bowed in May and coincided with the announcement of a new product platform that expanded on its previous functionality by “a huge amount.” Lindenbaum wanted to provide documentation and information about those new features but, with fewer than 10 pages to work with, that was a challenge. “Developers are about minimalism, so we needed to increase the information density without necessarily adding more text or content,” he said. “We wanted to leave the same amount of breathing room.”
The design tackled this with a number of menu options presenting tight, image-rich functionality. For instance, the main hero graphic contains simple, widget-based navigation elements that use verb-based menus, such as Forget Servers, Run Anything, See Everything, Trust and Manage; there are more traditional navigation elements as well located at the top of the page. There's also a relaunched “How It Works” interactive diagram built using HTML 5. “We wanted to give people a lot of options for navigation,” Lindenbaum said. “They can click around the [“How It Works”] diagram or, if they want a more guided tour, they can click across the tabbed menu.” Everything is also one click away from the home page and designed to push people to the more technical sections of the site, he said.
Since May, page views per visit are up 24%, while the bounce rate is down 20%. While page views could be up due to demand from the new product launch, the reduced bounce rate shows people are sticking around for more information. “Marketing is definitely being driven by the product, and it shows to our customers,” Lindenbaum said.
“Heroku designed its site specifically for its tech-savvy audience, so it's got lots of white space, large type and rich product details that let people explore based on their own interests. It's completely free of Flash, a plus for this audience,” said Kelly Franznick, CEO at Blink.