Custom Web Development Case Study Part 1 of 6: Hemingways Expeditions

Filed under: How To | Website Design

This is part #1 of a 6-part case study blog series in which we walk through the actual process behind the creation of one of our custom web development projects.


This case study will focus on the work related to creating the site’s custom web development (and design). We will be spending little to no time reviewing any of the other non-design related work (research, development, CMS integration, etc.) that’s required to take a complete website project like this from the initial planning phase through to site launch.

Meet the client: Hemingways Expeditions

For decades, Hemingways Expeditions has been one of East Africa’s premier safari and tour operators. They specialize in crafting custom itineraries for adventures seekers from around the the globe who are looking to experience the wonders of Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, or Uganda.

The previous website design (Homepage: Before)

Hemingways is a division of the Express Travel Group. The Express Travel Group website previously online promoted Hemingways online within a subsection of their site, which you can see here:

Case study: Previous website design

The custom website design (Homepage: after)

After we completed our work, Hemingway’s final custom website design looked like this:

Custom web development case study: client's all new website design

See other beautiful websites we’ve designed.

Time for a new logo and website

In 2011 Hemingways hired the consultants at Travel Marketing Worldwide, LLC to help them conduct a complete brand makeover.   Travel Marketing Worldwide then brought us into the project following their initial brand exploration and visioning methodology.

After we completed the design of the new Hemingways logo, it was time to begin working on the company’s new website.

The true first step in a custom web development project: Pre-design

Though diving straight into a blank canvas armed with creativity and a rainbow palette may seem like an exciting, romantic way of starting a new website design, the creation of a truly effective, strategic website design requires the completion of a great deal of pre-design work.

This is why one of the first steps we took with Hemingways was engaging in an initial website planning and strategy process. It’s during this early stage we completed a variety of organizational and planning work.

During this initial pre-design stage with Hemingways we…

  • gained a deep understanding of their company services, values, and vision
  • conducted a thorough review of their available assets (literature, photography, promotional materials, etc.)
  • set the specific goals their new website’s design needed to achieve
  • began to define the new site’’s architecture/structure
  • decided on specific actions the new design needed to encourage site visitors to take

No actual design work should ever start unless both the web company and the client have an agreed upon, crystal clear understanding of the site (and thus site design’s) goals, what the design needs to communicate, and what the design must encourage visitors to do.

Though time-consuming and labor intensive, this pre-design, strategy, and planning work is absolutely essential. It sets the foundation for a successful website design process.

What’s next?

In this blog post you’ve been given an introduction to…

  • the client (Hemingways Expeditions), and
  • the (extraordinarily critical) web development pre-design process

In Part 2 of this case study series, we’ll dive straight into the wireframing process.  See you then.
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