It seems fitting that with Lexus' new brand direction - summed up as 'Creating Amazing' - the luxury car manufacturer would turn to Manchester, UK-based agency Amaze to translate this direction into a new pan-European digital presence. "We were asked to 'create amazing online'," explains Ross Mawdsley, the agency’s creative director. "Amaze has been the lead digital agency of Lexus Europe for the past eight years," Mawdsley continues, "implementing and managing digital brand and marketing developments, product campaigns and CMS integrations."
As he explains: "If you look at the majority of car sites now, they all look the same. For the homepage, they mostly have one hero image, with three callouts below. When you get to an area of the site relating to a car model, they are generally built up of a number of pages - car configurator, gallery, specifications, highlights and so on.
"What we tried to do was create a one-page car chapter, meaning that everything you need to know about a car is all in one place. Our research showed us that this helps the user find what they need more easily than browsing around a number of different pages. We feel that the new European Lexus website is leading the field now, rather than being another 'follower'."
There were many creative challenges - one of the major ones being that the site was to be rolled out across 34 countries, in 27 languages. This meant Amaze had to consider localisation: "For example," Mawdsley says, "when you translate something into German, it's three times as long."
Amaze also had to consider that local markets have different needs, and so the website needed to be flexible and modular. "This is why we used a modular approach, rather than standard templates," he adds.
And what was the main strategy? "Before we started the design process for the new site, we completed a comprehensive strategic process," Mawdsley explains. "From this, we came up with what we saw as the challenges. The main one was to develop an industry-leading platform that supports the new Lexus brand direction, and delivers a superlative user experience across each interaction and platform."
This showcase was originally published in Computer Arts issue 207.