When three becomes one

Terracotta needed a new website that aligned their two new properties to one consolidated website.

Separate but equal

Building brand consistency is tough, especially when you have different products that have divergent personalities. What makes a brand successful is being able to spot an off-shoot product and recognize it's still from the same company. Think about Coke-Cola. Diet Coke hardly tastes anything like Coke and Coke Zero tastes like — well — Coke Zero. Each soda has a different flavor, yet we all know that they belong to the same company because it's packaged in the same way.

Terracotta, a very successful application developer in the Open Source community, had a similar problem. They had acquired two different properties — Ehcache and Quartz Scheduler. That created a bit of a dilemma. They now had three websites with disparate designs, marketing messaging and objectives. They all had different flavors, so to speak, and needed to feel like they all belonged to the same family.



Creating a common language

Getting on the same page through shared vocabulary

We started out the project by interviewing the folks from Terracotta. From our notes, we charted out the entire story of the customers and the communities within each property, on a giant whiteboard. We looked at where customers' needs crossed over and how we could find commonalities. That's when we hit the idea of "separate but equal."

Collaboration with the Terracotta team was easy. Though early on there was some confusion over terminology. We realized we were calling the same concepts different names. To get us in sync, we created a controlled vocabulary, so that we'd have a common language and avoid misunderstanding each other.

  • Developers that need to save time and effort to achieve better performance and scale.
  • The point where data converges and slows down a system or application.
  • A tree-based data structure where the root is always considered most important.
  • Refers to the simplicity of adding Terracotta to apps (only 2 lines of code needed).
  • Amount of data in the system from input to output.
  • Architects that want to avoid re-writing applications as they scale.


Pinning down customer needs

Roadmaps help define the customer experience

We needed to give the marketing site purpose that focused on solving real customer and sales problems. To understand the bottlenecks, we created touchpoint maps showing the emotional impact of a customer's every experience with Terracotta.

We connected the touchpoints of customers across the properties, focusing on emotion — the frustrations and elations. We looked at how someone comes to a site with a problem or how we can meet needs and make their product decision easy. We then tied the touchpoints into customer workflows. It was all about removing barriers and keeping things separate but equal.

  • C. First visit

    Reads about EHCACHE and its simplicity and power.

    • Reads some of the docs
    • Downloads open source EHCACHE
  • E. Second visit

    Realizes problem will persist, needs more.

    • Revisits EHCACHE to learn more
    • Learns about Terracotta Enterprise products
  • F. Third visit

    Visits Terracotta marketing sites.

    • Reads homepage material
    • Curious about the ease of installation, "it can't be that easy"
    • Reads more about the products
  • G. Fourth visit

    Huge bottleneck foreseen soon.

    • Visits Terracotta again
    • Reads forums to make sure its easy
    • Tells his manager about the problem
  • J. Purchase! Download!

    Purchases Terracotta Suite License.

    • Upgrades packages and good to go
    • Learns about Terracotta Enterprise products
    • Never needs to worry about bottleneck again

Unifying the properties

In addition to the visual style, the entire structure of the app was updated.

We latched on to a tab concept that would link the three sites together fairly early on in our opportunity sketches. When we showed the sketch that unified the properties with a slim global navigation, we impressed Terracotta CMO Lynn Vojvodich. "You guys earned your keep right there."

It was an idea that stuck, and we added a tabbed navigation bar that connected all three of the Terracotta properties. We then created unified call outs to add another connective thread to the properties, but still allow them to have their own distinct personalities for the communities they served.

Our "separate but equal" design strategy paid off and the site launched quickly. We were able to get the entire Terracotta team bought in and rallied around creating an entire application suite.

I really like it. A great job of integrating the three sites so that they feel like related technologies. And they look super sexy. It's the first time I've felt proud of our sites. — Orion Letizi, Terracotta’s Website Lead

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