The Semperit AG Holding
The publicly listed Semperit Group is a global manufacturer of advanced and functionally critical polymer products and solutions. As a system-critical company, Semperit provides services in a wide range of industries. Products include hydraulic and industrial hoses, conveyor belts, escalator handrails, construction profiles, rope way sheave and bullwheel liners and gloves – as well as products for railroad tracks. The headquarters of the traditional Austrian company, founded in 1824, is located in Vienna. The company employs around 7,000 people worldwide, of which around 3,800 work in Asia and around 900 in Austria (Vienna and the production site in Wimpassing, Lower Austria). The Group has 15 production sites worldwide and numerous sales offices in Europe, Asia, Australia and America.
The requirements & collaboration
The meta-goal of the project was to create a new website as a contemporary business card for the Semperit Group and as an enhanced marketing and recruiting tool to be launched in the first quarter of 2022. The project was started in May 2021. Following this meta-goal, an analysis phase was carried out with the goal of defining a product backlog through interactive workshops with several Semperit departments (from IT to product management and sales in the segments, all the way to HR). Furthermore, a clear project team with fixed contact persons from Semperit and digitalwerk was defined. The workshop series were divided into strategic workshops (e.g. benchmark analyses, current and future trends in marketing, etc.), design workshops (graphic approaches, expansion of the elaborated CI/CD, ...) and technical workshops (infrastructure setup, security audits, etc.). In addition to the definition of personas, conversion funnels, analysis of analytics evaluations and questioning of the website navigation, the project controlling tools for project management were defined in the analysis phase, for which the "MTA" (milestone trend analysis), a continuous risk analysis and MMR (Monthly Management Reports) were used. As a result of this analysis phase, an agreed digital strategy and a digital ecosystem were created for the project. It was decided to relaunch not only the Group site, but also all segment websites (Product Category Sites). To strengthen the master brand and the uniform appearance, the names of the individual industry segments - Semperflex, Sempertrans, Semperform, Semperseal - were merged under the brand name of Semperit.
The group site contains all relevant information about the internationally operating company. When visiting the group site, the user finds out everything worth knowing about Semperit, its industries, the product worlds, current company news, as well as investor relations, sustainability and careers. The individual product worlds are briefly presented and link to the specially created product category sites. While the aim of the group website is to represent the company, the focus of the product category sites is on sales support and thus on establishing contact with the relevant target groups. In the course of several conception workshops with the individual segments, product-specific requirements (e.g. presentation of product detail pages, desired download materials, etc.) emerged in collaboration with the sales managers and product managers. The group website presents the individual product categories and industries of the Semperit company. For instance, if a user wants to delve deeper into a product category (e.g. Hoses), we offer the possibility to further explore the product world 'Hoses' (hoses). The focus of this division is on generating leads. Important conversions in this context are, for example, getting in touch, downloading product sheets or signing up for the newsletter. The following product categories have been defined: Hoses, Conveyor Belts, Sealings, Smart Polymer Solutions & Gloves
Across these product categories, a conversion funnel was created that covers the entire digital ecosystem:
Since the summer of 2021, Google has been using a new ranking mechanism which gives priority to mobile versions. Following this update from Google, the ranking factor of websites is re-evaluated. This has an immediate effect on the results pages of the Google search. This ranking factor is called "Core Web Vitals“ which attributes particular importance to user experience and user-friendliness. Primarily, three values are used: Loading time, interactivity and visual stability. The previous websites of the Semperit Group were not yet mobile optimized. With the relaunch of the new site, in addition to the findability in Google, a new, modern look and feel of the website is to emphasize the digital positioning of the brand. Likewise, the website content should be structured according to the target group. Based on this basic idea, the differentiation of the group website on the representation level (= business card of the company) from the segment websites (= product category sites) was elaborated. The group website should primarily present company information and the career area, as well as create synergies through linking to the product level/sales level. In this context, tracking, i.e. measurability, is vitally important. The content (text and photos) was revised in German and English for all segments as well as for the group and optimized for search engines.
During the analysis phase, which lasted about three months, all content (about 3,000 content pages) was analysed by SEO experts together with Semperit in addition to identifying and assessing the target group's needs. Good and up-to-date content was one of the key aspects of this project and serves to clearly convey information to the target groups. Information should be presented in a comprehensible and logical way so that the content is also comprehensible for less involved users. In addition to the given requirements for text quality, a meaningful structure of the text as well as the correct use of keywords is necessary. Good content is characterized by keywords that are used in a targeted manner and, above all, are relevant with regard to search engine optimization. The support for keyword-oriented content creation involves the text prepared by the Semperit departments being revised by a copy-writer* specializing in SEO. This is intended to standardize the different spellings of the individual persons and to optimize the text for search engines to ensure the text’s coherence. In doing so, duplicated content is avoided, text lengths are checked and meta descriptions with correct text lengths for relevant pages are created. The layout of the individual web pages (design) also has a significant influence on the ranking of a website. In the course of the human-centered design process, all usage requirements were collected together with the client project team. Due to the COVID situation, numerous conceptual workshops (conceptual design) took place across MS teams. As a tool for sketching the user journey, the tool Miro was used. After outlining the flow in Miro, wireframes were created with a focus on usability. Once the conceptual phase was complete and the target group descriptions defined, screen designs were implemented. These design templates were tested using several usability tests with defined target persons. With the goal of maximizing the user experience, the results of the tests were recorded in test protocols and incorporated into the screen designs. Find all our screen designs in our case.
Various tests were carried out to check the performance of the website. digitalwerk appointed a dedicated development team consisting of a senior frontend developer and a senior backend developer. Sprints were held on a weekly basis, in which stories defined in JIRA were worked through. In addition, the development team also has its own milestone plan (roadmap).
While Docker was used for local development, GitLab (self-hosted) was used for versioning and maximum transparency. The advantage of this is that every developer has the same working environment. With reviews takin place on a weekly basis, the code was always reviewed before being transferred to the test system. The website, including all components, was programmed and reviewed according to the latest security standards and automated tools were used to check and validate the coding standards. To achieve this, digitalwerk used the toolsPHP_CodeSniffer, ESLint and SassLint.
Before the project went live, a detailed security audit of the website as well as the hosting server was conducted by an independent auditor (Solv01Technologies GmbH). This audit made it possible to identify (partly automated) critical code passages. The primary goal of these measures was to produce error-free and SEO-optimized HTML5. This is an absolute requirement so that the website can be displayed evenly and without problems in all browsers.
A highlight of this project was the chosen project management methodology with a combination of Scrum and IPMA. Despite the agile methodology, fixed milestones were defined. This approach was elaborated together with Semperit during the analysis phase. In a kick-off meeting, central milestones were agreed with the client and it was discussed which work packages as well as milestones were to be achieved by a certain date. This approach made it possible to structure the project and manage the individual project resources on both the contractor and client sides in a common resource plan (project calendar).
Once the milestones were defined, the milestone trend analysis (MTA) was set up. This is an important tool in project controlling that provides an up-to-date overview of the project status and at the same time makes it possible to identify early deviations from deadlines as well as positive and negative "trends" in the project with regard to deadlines. This gives the project team the opportunity to timely initiate measures to counteract problems in the project.
With the relaunch of the Semperit website, digitalwerk was contracted with a fixed budget and a fixed time request of the go-live date for the MVP. In the first sprint meetings, a product backlog was created together with the client and then categorized according to must-have and nice-to-have features. The goal was to have all must-have features implemented by the go-live date. A burn-down chart helped us to monitor the amount of user stories and to see how many user stories could be worked on from week to week, how many were still to be done and also if new user stories were added.The project was led by a certified senior project manager and divided into 3 main phases:
- Preparation phase (goal = define sprints, prioritize features within product backlogs, first wireframes and designs),
- Implementation phase (goal = weekly sprints with development and content teams), and
- The final phase (goal = final audits, quality assurance, go live of the MVP).
You can find more screen designs in our case.