Quite possibly the most unique website design we’ve ever undertaken, The 1914 came to us with one request; to be the best magic tutorial site on the market.
With an in-depth research and discovery phase, followed by extensive design experimentation and refinement, the end result is as stylistically relevant as it is usable and intuitive. With subtle references to traditional magic aesthetics, such as smoke ships, playing cards, and ornate victorian decoration, the newly launched 1914 site is already experiencing positive feedback and an increase in orders and traffic.
What we did:
Balancing an Ornate Feel with a Solid UI
By far the biggest design challenge was the fact that if the site felt too utilitarian, modern, or simple, it would lose that intrigue and enigmatic nature that The 1914 are known for. Using subtle influences and references, Alloneword set about defining a user interface which balances that mystery and charm with a usable interface for customers.
Working to refine the brand colours, we expanded the golds out further to introduce ‘potion’ green for use in wayfinding through the purchase journey, and also a deep ‘smoke’ blue for the actual learning and account area to make that feel connected but instantly visually different from the rest of the site.
Instant Access as if by Magic
The 1914 are a popular and well trusted brand within the magic community, and therefore creating a Shopify site with too much manual processing of digital orders would just not be feasible as there customer base grows and grows. We helped to strategise and then develop a system of instant access to purchase by using Shopify’s tagging functionality and coupling that with an auto tagging app, allowing us to tag customers with an ‘access’ tag which is created from the product.
Then, using that access tag we developed tutorial pages that check the customer tags against the specific tutorial, meaning that customers can instantly purchase and log in to access the content, but are unable to share pages with others simply via a link (and in fact we even introduced a call to action for any sneaky viewers that shows a message and link so they themselves can click in to purchase).
“Having always been a fan of magic, both from the theatrical element, but also the psychology, misdirection, and technical logistics that comes with it, we were over the moon when they got in touch asking for help with the design. I’m now a fully fledged magic fan and have since been to shows, bought props, and started to show friends and family some of my (amateur) skills. Jack, Dee and Lewis are also genuinely such a pleasure to work with that we couldn’t be happier when they reached out.”
Jon Dodd, Design Partner at Alloneword
External credits and collaborators:
Top video: The 1914
Account area video player, reviews functionality, and newsletter backend development: Jack Curtis
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