Presenting Ordinary Work Gloves as Though they Were an Esteemed Apple Smartphone — Interview
Cherished readers, you have possibly visited Apple’s website multiple times, right? The display of their products tells you how far they go to better customer experience, doesn’t it? We can bet you left their site satisfied. Guess what, such an amazing website design exists elsewhere too!
Today, we discuss a case that has been nominated for numerous awards to learn what it’s like to work in a progressive direction on an unconventional product.
In this interview, Here are a few things you are going to discover:
- How to structure the project process to develop a fantastic website for a manufacturer in just two months;
- The amount of time spent preparing 3D models of gloves and various textures for them;
- The types of specialists needed for a website with dynamic effects and 3D models;
- Why manufacturers’ websites often lack a shopping cart and much more.
Without wasting a second, let’s dive in!
Leonid, what signs told you it was time to change your website?
Leonid: We set out to create the most modern and expansive work glove manufacturing plant. Our cutting-edge equipment allows us to achieve the highest quality products for our clients. We then realized that our website could serve as Bronitex’s business card, reflecting our uniqueness and showcasing all our advantages.
At what point did you realize that Red Collar was the agency to entrust with your website’s fate? Did you have optional contractors in mind?
Leonid: Red Collar was recommended to us, and right from the first call, we knew we made the right choice. Despite the unique nature of the task, the agency’s team immediately grasped our concept, actively proposed their own ideas, and showed full involvement. It felt like we became one team from the very onset, working on a joint, exciting project.
Semyon, do you have projects in your portfolio created for other industrial equipment manufacturers?
Semyon: Specifically for industrial equipment — no, but we work on projects that span multiple industries, from raw material extraction and agriculture to game development and telecom.
How is the Bronitex case different from other projects at your agency?
Semyon: From our experience, there are very few projects that allow such creative freedom. Bronitex came to us with a request to make a glove website like “Apple’s” and gave us the green light for any creativity as long as it showcased the product uniquely.
Oh, that’s interesting. Often, digital contractors face restrictions on creativity from clients. Leonid, what accounts for your company’s openness to new and unusual ideas? Was this approach an exception to your rules?
Leonid: From the beginning, we decided to give Red Collar the green light only on various frameworks. The only condition was that the animations had to be appropriate and functional. For instance, we wanted them to draw attention to important blocks, simplify the perception of numbers, make the site more lively and modern, and guide the user’s actions.
In short, we wanted a site that would be entirely user-focused. Customer-centricity is the foundation of all Bronitex’s activities, and the website is a vital tool for reflecting our values.
Presumably, you started with analytics. Semyon, what data was emphasized at this stage?
Semyon: Before starting a project, we always look at the competitors to see how we can make our clients stand out. Furthermore, we conduct analysis and search for best practices and ways to apply them.
The analytical stage is the basis for developing the structure and defining functionality. In the case of Bronitex, the new structure needed to allow users to interact with the site comfortably; and learn about the products, types available, the manufacturing process, and quality — all motivating the user to place an order.
How do you present the results of the analytical stage to clients? Do you leverage the power of visually appealing presentations?
Semyon: Yes, we package the stage results in unique corporate templates and present them to clients. The package highlights areas such as user goals, target audience analysis, client business objectives, SWOT analysis, and other analytical facets.
How did the Red Collar team dive into the specifics of the client’s business — Bronitex?
Semyon: We have a standard process in place (briefs, market, and competitor analysis) that normally guides us. Additionally, we frequently, and in detail, consult with the client’s team for more data. The Bronitex team supplied us with extensive product information and gave references, which allowed for quick coordination of elements and deeper business immersion.
Leonid, the case study mentions one of your requests for the new website was to present “ordinary work gloves as if they were a trendy Apple smartphone.” In the end, the agency managed to pull off this idea. How do you assess the results? Is there anything that you think still needs improvement?
Leonid: At first glance, such phrasing can come off as a little odd, but our gloves are indeed the Apple of personal protective equipment. I believe we’ve successfully conveyed this to users through the website. The concept was to sequentially show the user the entire journey of creating a seemingly ordinary glove, from material selection to product delivery.
Well, you certainly succeeded! And now into the juicier details. In your opinion, what are the core benefits of the new website for your customers?
Leonid: There are numerous. Convenient catalog filters, helpful animations, structured descriptions for each item, and interactive 3D models — all these significantly simplify website navigation. Additionally, the catalog has a handy feature that switches photos when hovering over a product card, which saves customers from spending too much time in decision-making. Since our product range is rapidly expanding, the relevance of such functionality will only grow.
How do you see your advantages over competitors, what is your unique selling proposition? How exactly was it reflected on the website?
Leonid: At Bronitex, we don’t just make gloves. Every detail of our product is thoughtfully designed and executed to ensure user comfort: fabric quality, hand fit, reliable coating, a wide range, and the option to create a custom design or brand batch. Moreover, our production is one of the most extensive in the country, allowing us to supply large volumes quickly. Our task was to reflect all these on the website.
Is there any useful website functionality that, in your opinion, is unjustly ignored by some of your clients/potential clients?
Leonid: Analytics show that our clients appreciate every element on the website, which we designed and implemented with great care for them.
The Bronitex site features e-commerce functionalities like a catalog and a shopping cart. However, it lacks online payment capability, and the cost of items is not listed. Why so? Semyon, what does your experience say, in what cases is such a decision suitable for manufacturers?
Semyon: Actually, it’s a standard practice. Manufacturers’ websites typically don’t list prices because they are determined by a multitude of factors. Large retailers purchase Bronitex gloves, and for each — depending on the volume of products, duration of the contract, and other factors — the price can vary significantly.
Are there any unique features or solutions of the website that you would like to highlight?
Semyon: showcasing a standard product using 3D elements and motion design is a grand feature that deserves a mention.
Also, we created representations of all textures for different types of gloves. More attention was paid to optimization as well. To ensure the site worked equally fast on desktop and mobile devices, we used our own 3D format models, with significantly reduced file size. We created a module that compresses images upon loading almost without quality loss.
Another cool feature is the mobile version, which is relatively different from the desktop one — all blocks are restructured, and animations are adapted to the device type.
How many inquiries do you receive from the mobile version compared to the desktop version? Do you think these proportions might change in the next couple of years?
Leonid: The nature of our segment is such that users mostly place orders for companies. Consequently, our desktop usage is higher than the market average. But the world is moving towards remote work, meaning smartphones are becoming more common every day, so I wouldn’t rule out a change in proportions just yet.
What was the most challenging aspect of this project for you as a client?
Leonid: I would say, finding a solution that simultaneously meets our expectations, those of the market, and our customers’. Additionally, the very tight timeline made things a little hectic( all work with no play, you know.) We and the Red Collar team had just two months to finish the project.
Semyon, what was the most challenging part for you as the executor?
Semyon: It was challenging to convey the initial visual representation and animation ideas to the client, as we present everything in static at the concept level.
On the website, everything would be dynamic which is very effective. That’s usually not the case with the static approach. During the presentation, at some point, we had no choice but to illustrate with our hands how everything would look in the end.
Also, the tight deadlines and the need to create a site that works equally well on desktop and mobile devices were a huge challenge. Considering we had many 3D models, optimization became another core focus, adding a layer of complexity to the project. Nevertheless, we managed it successfully.
Let’s talk about 3D models. They aren’t a cheaper solution. Leonid, do you think it was worth the investment? Any regrets about the money spent?
Leonid: Time will tell :) As of now, I can say that every element on the site serves its purpose, and each is in its right place.
As I mentioned earlier, it was important for us not just to achieve a “wow effect,” but to make the site genuinely convenient and informative for the user.
Semyon, how long did it take to create the 3D models of the gloves? What was the process like? How often do you have to create 3D models for your clients?
Semyon: In total — a month. The actual modeling of the glove didn’t take much time, but creating textures for different types of gloves took significantly longer, as we had to bake the material itself, the normal map, and AO.
The process looked like this: modeling an optimally sized glove, creating textures for it based on references, client approval, and then transferring everything to the site.
The homepage used many visual dynamic elements. How long did they take to finalize, and how many versions did you go through before settling on the current ones?
Semyon: There were indeed many versions so we had to try different metaphors, starting from a macro level and moving to higher levels, and also adopted the idea of “birth” from petals. We then found a successful reference — a bookshelf where books were collected into a single stack. This idea helped us to show the product in a “face-to-face” manner.
We realized later that we didn’t need to use a metaphor as we had gloves — gloves that we could put on display. And it worked.
I must admit, we are very impressed that you managed to create a festival-level website in just 2 months. Can you share which processes had to be run in parallel and what took the most time?
Semyon: We started with the design of the homepage and catalog. As soon as the desktop version was finished, we immediately involved a frontend developer to start working on the models on the homepage, optimizing textures, and setting up lighting.
While we were finishing the desktop versions, we immediately started on the mobile one.
As the development of the homepage (with all visual elements and 3D models) was ongoing, the frontend developers were creating the catalog pages, while the backend developers were working on the administrative panel on Jmix, where the client would add all the products.
Semyon, which specialists worked on this project?
Semyon: UX/UI designers, motion designers, 3D designers, testers, frontend developers, backend developers, and project producers.
Leonid, who from the agency did you communicate with besides the project manager? Did this happen at your initiative or Red Collar’s?
Leonid: The Red Collar team are excellent professionals. To be honest, we didn’t even expect such a thorough communication approach. The team had a dedicated communication specialist, but sometimes experts responsible for various parts of the project would reach out for both consultations and reporting.
Aren’t you afraid of public exposure when it comes to the internal workings?
Leonid: We are proud that our efforts have been appreciated by both clients and experts. That we managed to find that perfect balance between creativity and functionality. Perhaps our experience can inspire other entrepreneurs to have the courage to make unconventional decisions and always think broadly.
Bronitex is actively developing and we hope to expand our product range. Therefore, we are confident that we will collaborate with Red Collar on many more interesting projects!
Semyon, let’s be honest — unlike many other award-winning cases, the Bronitex case is described quite succinctly. What, in your opinion, did the jury particularly appreciate?
Semyon: The sharpness of imagination. We showed a regular product as something elite and exclusive thanks to the advanced technical solution employed.
Colleagues, we cannot thank you enough for your detailed and insightful responses! We wish you and your businesses boundless success!