2019 - The Makery

A New Home for a Manufacturing Leader

ProtoLabs is a gloabally leader in Digital Manufacturing. Offering a variety of manufactruing solutions like 3D Printing and sheet metal fabrication. We worked with the marketing team at ProtoLabs to create a new site that converts.

Design Team

McLean Donnely - Design Director

Alec Hogstad - UX/UI Designer

This project focused on Protolabs most high traffic pages. The home page and their service offering pages. These service offering pages act as landing pages for many users discovering ProtoLabs. We also gave the navigation structure a refresh and, of course, made sure everything was optimized for mobile use.

Protolabs uses a variety of methods to rapidly manufacture prototypes and low volume production orders of custom parts. Servicing clients across industries ranging from medical devices to aerospace and home appliances, Protolabs services clients of all sizes.

The Process

Identifying Our Users

We worked with the marketing team at ProtoLabs as well as sales leaders to identify the types of users that are visiting the ProtoLabs site.

Professional Engineers

This group of users are our power users. They have industry knowledge, and frequently use the ProtoLabs site as well as their competitor sites. They are shopping for quotes and have a deep knowledge of what processes they want to use. These users are looking at capacity, minimum orders, and certifications.  

The At Home Inventor

This user group is less knowledgable about the industry. They may have a product idea but are just learning how to go about making it real. These users are looking for information about what type of manufacturing they should be using and design guides.
Seeing big company case studying give them confidence they getting quality products.

Content Prioritization

With an understanding of the business and our primary user groups we worked with the ProtoLabs team to prioritize web content. This prioritization involved leveraging existing web content and creating new content.

Our next step was to start wire-framing with this content hierarchy in mind. As we moved through the wire-framing phase and into the design phase we started to explore different design directions for the hero section.

The Homepage

A company of this scale needs a hero that lets it corporate clients know they can handle large projects, lets small business and individuals know that they can trust the quality and the process.
With our user groups we knew that quick access to the manufacturing processes would be essential. These service pages also serve as landing pages for users coming from google searches so we tackled those next.

Modular Content Sections

To accompany the bold hero of the homepage, ensure consistency and create templated service pages we created a series of content modules. The modules could be moved around on a page if priorities changed and could easily be adjusted to add or remove content based on contextual needs.

Service Pages

Many people visiting ProtoLabs are landing on a service page, not the homepage. We wanted to make these pages feel like a homepage and not like you are jumping in mid-stream.  We created a template for the service pages using the hero as the anchor and a collection of content modules that fill out the rest of the page.
We tested a design using images of the machines vs this design using images of parts. This hero and the addition of certifications in the hero were some of the changes we made after testing.

The Process

Design Research

After some iteration with the core team we started our user testing.

Unmoderated User Testing

For our testing phase we used User Brain for unmoderated testing. We created a series of design prototypes and worked with the ProtoLabs team to create task based scenarios to test the new design concepts. The tasks were primarily information retrieval as we wanted to ensure key information was easily found and the navigation was intuitive.  We also A/B tested different hero designs ultimately landing on the design you see above.