We started working on a new Brick Factory website last Summer and made steady progress throughout the Fall and early 2024.  In late January it was clear that we were almost finished, so I joked that we should launch the website on Valentine’s Day as a gift for our Chief Creator Officer, Tom McCormick.  Well, we did it and you can check it out here. Happy Valentine’s Day, Tom.

A few weeks ago, I previewed the site and wrote about the strategy behind the redesign. To give folks a peek behind the curtain, here is another post detailing the process we used to build this site. 

Discovery and Content

As the owner of the company, on this project, I was basically the client.  My job was to explain what I was looking for with my teammates guiding me through the process of building the site. 

Before we did any design or development work, I did some thinking about what I wanted the new site to accomplish.  In advance of getting started, I gave the team the following information:

  • A list of things I don’t think work on the existing site.  This included feedback on illustration styles, overall palette, and use of typography.
  • A new sitemap.  I re-read all the content on the site to make sure it still reflected who we are and what we do.  I also reviewed our site Analytics to see what content visitors were actually reading. Based on my findings, I created a new sitemap that simplified the structure of the site.  
  • Content plan.  Based on the sitemap, I wrote out the content for a few pages on the site (Homepage, About, and Services) that would serve as models for other pages.  I also created a document outlining all the content that we would need to create or rewrite as part of the project.  Having real content to work from helps to greatly streamline the design process.
  • Competitive analysis.  I reviewed the websites of around thirty competitors and created a spreadsheet where I gave each site a grade and highlighted things I liked and didn’t like.  The point of this exercise was to help convey my taste to the team and to create a shorthand to communicate concepts.  It is always easier to talk through concrete examples.


After the planning work was done, we had a kickoff meeting with Tom and Morgan Williams, who was our primary project manager on the redesign.  I provided the materials mentioned above to them prior to the meeting so they had time to review and do their own research.  In the meeting, Tom shared his thoughts and we brainstormed some design initial ideas.  And then he got started doing actual design work.

On most of our projects, we start with low-fidelity black-and-white wireframes to get quick feedback on initial concepts.  Once we have a solid foundation, we move on to high-fidelity visual design prototypes that more or less look like the end product.  For all design deliverables, we produce versions for both mobile and desktop.

On this project, we felt like we had a good enough grasp on the content to skip doing the low-fidelity wireframes.  Tom went straight to producing the visual design prototypes.


The design process started with the homepage.  As is true with most organizations, the homepage is the most visited page on our website.  The homepage establishes the initial brand identity for the company, with the interior pages taking visual cues from it.  The homepage design process was smooth, and we pretty quickly got to something we all liked.  

Here are some early versions of the homepage opening, along with the final version we ended up going with.

Interior Page

After getting the homepage to a good spot, we turned our attention to the site’s interior pages.  This was a bit of a struggle. The initial versions we came up with were a little too close to what we had on our existing site and frankly felt a bit overdesigned to me.  Here are some early iterations of our Services section, as a point of reference:

After thinking about it, it became pretty obvious that the problem was with the content I had produced and the direction I had provided.  The interior page content was sparse, lacked introductory content, and was not very web-friendly.  Since the text itself was lacking, our designers felt the need to embellish it with design elements.  I went back and edited the content to break things up into digestible chunks.  I basically rewrote it to be more web-friendly.

Tom then turned the content into a design system that would work well with WordPress Guttenburg.  By making the text more digestible, we were able to create pages that are attractive and easy for impatient web users to scan.  Here is what the Service section ended up looking like.

Agile Development

Once the designs were approved, we began building the website in WordPress.  We used a modified agile development process with Morgan serving as project manager, and Chet Gassett, Silvio Loto, and Michael Dippold working on frontend development.  Chet, Silvio, and Michael cycled in and out of the project based on availability.

Here is a high-level overview of how the process worked:

  • All the work on the project was broken up into a series of user stories (tasks) that were organized into larger epics (groupings of tasks).  These user stories were then organized into two-week work sprints.
  • Morgan held quick meetings (stand-ups) with the team twice a week to check on progress and make sure everyone had what they needed.  
  • At the end of each Sprint, Morgan held a retrospective where the team discussed what went well, what didn’t go well, and what could be improved.  In the same meeting, the team planned the next Sprint based on priorities and availability. 

Review and Quality Assurance

Morgan, Chet, Silvio, and Michael did Quality Assurance on the site throughout the development period.  Morgan took the lead in testing the site on different devices and screen resolutions, using Browserstack to facilitate the review.  Once we had a draft of the site done, Tom reviewed it from a design perspective and provided feedback.  

I was briefed on progress and provided feedback when asked, but mostly stayed out of the initial QA process.  I only reviewed the site when it was close to completion, and also shared it with a few other folks in the company for their feedback.  This review resulted in some adjustments to the original design that I’m certain were frustrating to our front-end team.  

As an example, on our homepage opening, we ended up unbolding the intro text and adding a white background to the Brick Factory tag.

In another example, we tightened up the width of our content areas to improve readability.

These types of adjustments may need small, but coupled together they ended up making the site much more refined.


Tom, Chet, Morgan, Michael, and Silvio did an amazing job and I’m really proud of our new website.  In terms of lessons learned, I would flag the following, most of which are on me:

  • It would have been more efficient to have one developer devoted to the project instead of swapping people in and out like we did.  This was difficult for us to avoid given that our we were trying to juggle the build of our own site with client work.
  • I wish I had done more thinking about the content earlier in the process.  My initial content drafts for the interior pages weren’t very good, and this lead to wasted time by our design team trying to work with copy that wasn’t very web friendly.
  • We should have had more people review the site earlier in the process.  This would have allowed us to flag small design issues earlier and saved the frontend some time and stress.
About the Author
Todd Zeigler
Todd Zeigler serves as the Brick Factory’s chief strategist and oversees the operations of the firm. In his sixteen year career in digital, he has planned and implemented campaigns for clients including the Pickens Plan, International Youth Foundation, Panthera, Edison Electric Institute, and the American Chemistry Council. Todd develops ambitious online advocacy programs, manages crises, implements online marketing strategies, and develops custom applications and software. He is bad at golf though.