The Brand New – Oh My How Design Standards Have Changed!

June 22, 2010 · Print This Article

In late 2002 I met my business partner Aaron Houghton at the October meeting of the Carolina Entrepreneurship Club on the UNC campus over Chic-Fil-A nuggets. At the time, Aaron ran Preation and I ran Virante. We partnered to launch IntelliContact Pro, which became IntelliContact in 2005 and then just iContact in 2007.

Today, iContact is a 205 employee company here in Durham, NC with 64,000 customers and 700,000 users. Our marketing and IT teams launched a brand new web site today on As a former web site designer myself, it’s been fascinating to see the site evolve as design standards have changed.

Let’s take a trip down memory lane to show how the web site has evolved over time…

Which one was the worst? Which one was the best? What do you think of the new site?




12 Responses to “The Brand New – Oh My How Design Standards Have Changed!”

  1. Justin Wehr on June 22nd, 2010 10:57 pm

    The new site looks great, Ryan! Behind that, I like the 2007 version. (The 2009 version is missing, by the way.)

    I am wondering what kind of testing (if any) you have done on the designs? What is guiding the evolution of the design?

  2. Gaita on June 23rd, 2010 2:52 am

    The 2010 interface is visually appealing and engaging. Userbilitywise I give it a 9/10 -no doubt a great improvement on 2008 which designwise might have been a downgrade of 2007.

  3. Ryan Keefer on June 23rd, 2010 10:09 am

    I am more than slightly biased, but I definitely think that the newly-launched web site is leaps and bounds forward in the way it presents iContact.

    I think it gives a wonderful facelift and adds a good amount of trust, ease-of-use, functionality and validity for customers.

  4. Brandon Milford on June 23rd, 2010 10:15 am

    Without question the 2010 version is much better than the others. Visually it’s a lot stronger, there’s a focus on our customers, and what you can’t see makes it better as well. The underlying code is much cleaner, easier to manage, and makes the website much faster than in years past.

  5. Julie Frye Sanders on June 23rd, 2010 10:22 am

    The new is a fantastic demonstration of brand evolution! It is clear that since inception, iContact provided a valuable product produced by an innovate team… But now… your newest site seems to represent your team’s greatest aspirations coming to fruition – in the form a polished and sophisticated product supported by a first class marketing site. I dig it!

  6. Daniel Smith on June 23rd, 2010 3:24 pm

    Without a doubt the new site wins. The site provides a single cohesive message. “iContact is the company you can TRUST for your email marketing needs.” Compared with the old site, we provide an easy to understand navigation and page layout. The site simplifies the paths for logging in and for signing up for an account. The site architecture also allows for us to grow and expand and revise the design as needed in a much more structured manner.

  7. Matthew Barton on June 23rd, 2010 4:31 pm

    I think the most recent version of iContact’s site is the best representation of the icontact brand. While there
    are many benefits of having a home page that has a clear and simple conversion point on the homepage ( ie a sign up form) Ultimately the new site reflects the confidence of the company by converting people through the clear communication of service features and company values.

    And of course the site also looks fantastic, I might be biased since I work in the same department as the people who designed the site none the less this is a site I would be proud to have in my design portfolio.

  8. Bull City Startups » Blog Archive » Updates - Durham NC Startup News on June 24th, 2010 6:47 am

    [...] launched a new, very clean design.  Ryan Allis has a great history of how iContact’s design has changed over the years.  He also posted [...]

  9. Neil Lancia on June 24th, 2010 8:29 am

    I remember when Alan Underwood pioneered the look and feel of the 2006 site; it ushered in some sweeping adjustments to the product interfaces as well. At the time it was cutting edge. Up until the current design iteration, it remains my favorite. The new site is the biggest departure from the brand’s tradition, and I think it represents a welcomed change.

  10. John Free on June 24th, 2010 8:30 pm

    I think the 2010 design is the best to date. I love the dark blues and the reversed logo. The navigation is simple and intuitive.

  11. Best Tech News Sources: Triangle, North Carolina | Tech Town, NC on June 29th, 2010 1:54 pm

    [...] Ryan Allis’ Blog – News & thoughts from the founder of iContact [...]

  12. Strategy – Major Website Redesign or Agile Changes | Marketing Sutra on June 29th, 2010 7:38 pm

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