It’s ski season… in June

We’ve been working with Matt and Emma Simpson on the branding of their skiing business Alpenglow since 2014. Giving shape to their business plan, we devised their launch branding with its bold elegant icon. The project then became a textbook example of web design for startups.

Chiefly an online business, from the outset they wanted their website to be a clever hybrid of online booking and personal concierge service. Human interaction, testimonials and recommendations has ended up at the centre of all successful online businesses over the last ten years – so their instincts proved to be dead on from day one.

Since the launch we’ve done assorted updates to the site, for instance working on the chalet pages, creating new icons and designing additional feature pages. These are the usual requirements of a site of this kind as a business grows. However we find it satisfying that even as we see a massive reboot of the site this week, it’s still a recognisable evolution of the design we brought to market with the team at Alpenglow five years ago.

The new Alpenglow – a great example of how web design for startups evolves as your business grows


A better way to navigate

The look of the new Alpenglow website won’t come as a shock to their many loyal clients. Rather the evolved design dispenses with extra stages, clicks and links and streamlines the searching process in particular. In fact, ‘Finding things’ is at the heart of our work on the site. As soon as you land on the site, we’ve introduced a new global dropdown nav panel which allows you to not only see the country you want, but to pick but every single resort.

The dropdown then leads on to both Country and Resort index pages that we’ve redesigned completely.

As soon as you arrive on France, Italy and so on, these Country index pages feel clear and brochure-like with a run down of every resort as well as a sidebar of quick-links for people who’ve made their decision on destination or just wanted to take a broader overview of the place they want to ski in.

A logical next step is the Resort page which has also had a complete redesign. As well as adding more images and information about each resort, some of the more in-depth information such as ski area, schools, stats and Après ski is condensed in a ‘concertina’ panel at the right of the page. This has the benefit of reducing the amount of text on the page but also making it clear that level of detail is available.

Overall our approach has been to keep the typography and brand design consistent, but find fresh ways of applying it so that the new layout pages feel familiar. In that sense the project has been a ‘fresh take’ rather than a radical overhaul.

Mobile screens on new Alpenglow – a great example of how web design for startups evolves as your business grows


Cutting through the listings in every direction

The conventional ways of reaching the place you’re looking for on a holiday website are to begin a search or… just meander around, just following your nose. With this new Alpenglow site we’ve refreshed our response to both of those approaches.

In common with many other businesses, the homepage begins with Holiday Search rather than, as before, it appearing as a secondary feature. I very much liked the full-screen Search we used to have, but times and user patterns change. Essentially the layout here is less to do with following the herd but accepting web conventions. We understand that not even requiring a single click before seeing a Search box is the way that people genuinely want to interact with a holiday website as soon as they arrive. Some browse, most just want to cut to the chase.

With this version of the site, Alpenglow also introduce a series of new pages which bring online what they do best: curate chalets and hotels. Many of their clients find wading through endless properties daunting. It’s hard to tell which is going to suit them best – or perhaps they are anxious lest they miss out on a hidden gem. In fact Alpenglow’s approach has always been to assist on this, almost concierge-style level, but in almost every case, new visitors to the site don’t want to pick up the phone. They are online simply to pick and choose at their leisure.

Our new Hotel Collection pages, as well as new feature pages on Luxury, All Inclusive and Self Catered chalets, offer a new perspective. Rather than a never-ending results page, these shorter pages make browsing through the right properties so much easier. After all, these are essentially different holiday genres as well as featured chalet offerings.

The new Alpenglow – a great example of how web design for startups evolves as your business grows


A great example of web design for startups

Our new version of the Alpenglow site is a terrific relaunch. For starters, it has the benefit of four years of experience building this brand from scratch. So many ideas we’ve had up our sleeve and refinements that were long overdue have been added, in addition to a completely new way of moving around the site.

I believe this is a worthy and fantastic reboot and can’t wait to see the positive impact it will have for the 2020 ski season.

The new Alpenglow – a great example of how web design for startups evolves as your business grows


Build your business step by step

Find our more about how we helped Alpenglow go from back-of-an-envelope to booming business.

More about our work for Alpenglow

Visit the Alpenglow website