Why Did We Completely Change Our Website Design? The Story Behind Our New Look
If you’ve been to numenta.com before you may notice that something looks a little – or perhaps more than a little – different. After months of behind the scenes remodeling, we’ve launched our newly designed website.
A website redesign is not an uncommon endeavor. In fact I’ve been part of at least one redesign at every company where I have worked. Sometimes they’re driven by welcome trends, like responsive design. Can you remember a time when you didn’t look at a website on your phone and expect the same experience you get on your laptop? Other times they’re driven by passing fads – blinking marquees, background music and continuous carousels come to mind.
Our redesign came out of a frustration and observation by Numenta co-founder, Jeff Hawkins. He found many websites frustrating to use and observed that he almost always first went to Wikipedia to learn about a company.
According to Jeff, “Websites have become so burdened with graphics, messages, and clever navigation that it can be challenging finding the information you want. I was struck by this one day when I couldn’t find something on our own website! I also realized that Wikipedia had become my default first step when researching a new company. It was almost always faster and easier to get answers to my questions from a Wikipedia entry than from the company’s own website. That was a sign that website designs have become broken.”
A discussion on Wikipedia ensued. Why does it work? For one thing, it does not contain the flowery marketing language and images woven through most websites. It presents just the facts – or at least the facts according to the collective community. Just as importantly, it strips out the navigation complexities common to many sites. It gives you all of the information related to a topic on one page and presents it in a consistent format.
From that discussion, an experiment was born. Could we take some of these principles and apply them to a corporate site? Could we tell Numenta’s story in a way that lets the end user quickly find what they are looking for, whether it’s a first-time visitor, someone interested in partnering with us, or a professor looking for a specific paper she once saw to use in her coursework? Could we present the information in a clear and concise manner that works quickly and efficiently on mobile and full screen devices?
The newly designed numenta.com is our attempt to do just that. Our goal with this site is to educate people about Numenta and our approach to machine intelligence. For those who want a comprehensive view of Numenta, they can walk through each section in order, start to finish. For those who are looking for something in particular we hope they can find it quickly under one of the top-level headings. We believe the new site will allow us to engage with more people more efficiently.
You’ll notice that in this new design there is just one page with the content organized in a set of expandable categories, similar to how Wikipedia organizes content. You’ll also find pointers to our companion site, numenta.org. Numenta.com focuses on the business side of Numenta. Numenta.org contains more technical information, including education about our Hierarchical Temporal Memory (HTM) technology, and how to get started with HTM in open source.
I invite you to take a drive through the site. Whether it’s your first or fiftieth time there, hopefully you’ll learn something about Numenta that you didn’t know before. Drop us a line and let us know what you think.