Founded in 2000 as a subsidiary of Sumitomo Chemical, Valent BioSciences leads the world in the research, development, commercialization, and manufacturing of biorational products and technologies for the agricultural, public health, and forest health markets. Valent BioSciences offers bio-friendly solutions with highly effective, low-risk, and environmentally compatible products and technologies. However, even with multiple microsites and an abundance of content, their website wasn’t telling the full story—particularly in their global market. So they sought out Solid Digital to overhaul (redesign and redevelop) their website and help with copywriting.
The innovation that happens every day at Valent BioSciences wasn’t apparent in their website. It was time for a new look, and with it, a new structure to convey the relationship to Sumitomo Chemical, and the various branches of products that fall under Valent BioSciences: agriculture, public health, and forest health.
Also, in order to improve sales and revenue, it was vital that these goals were accomplished:
- update the design to be more modern while using an easy-to-update CMS
- increase brand awareness (including SEO optimization)
- streamline the navigation
- ease the path to purchase (and allow for a mobile-friendly responsive site)
- tell a value-driven story
More than an update, the website needed to be modernized in its look, feel, and content. As the Valent BioSciences corporate site that represents all of their divisions, it was necessary to maintain cohesion through the user experience and through the visuals. This helped increase brand awareness and tell the story of Valent BioSciences: They are part of a larger, well-respected company, they’re fully experienced in their field, and they have highly-beneficial products. While multiple parts of the website needed attention, it was also important to streamline both the navigation and the online path to purchase, so users could easily find affiliates.
In order to achieve Valent BioSciences’ goals, several tasks were outlined for both teams to tackle:
- Restructure the website
- Make content clear
- Show USP through copy, design, color and images
- Incorporate an interactive map in order to guide international customers
Both teams set to work on compartmentalizing data to allow products to shine—for whichever type of customer was seeking them out. Many customers buy through affiliates, and are located around the world including South America, Central America, and both Europe and Asia. Those non-native English speakers (that make up a large part of Valent BioSciences’ market share) were kept in mind for the UX, the language, and the micro-copy (buttons and CTAs). One part of this was creating an interactive map to guide the path to purchase. Simply clicking on their country allowed the user view the location and contact information of their nearest affiliate.
The navigation was improved to allow end users to get the information they needed in a digestible format. Bio-friendly products were showcased using organic-inspired green and yellow colors throughout the pages. The content, now clarified and consolidated, aligned with the brand story: bio-friendly and environmentally compatible ag products to make a positive difference in the world.
In terms of design choices, the website was brought up to modern speed, and reflects a professional and fresh approach. Given that research and development are big parts of the Valent BioSciences’ identity, it was important to create a design that felt innovative and straightforward. Scannable content was a huge part of the UX to help non-native English speakers visiting the site. An additional visual effect placed in some pages’ hero image adds interest and echoes the main ideas throughout the site: (e.g. “BIO” “AGRI” and “CONNECT.”) Additionally, using WordPress with the Elementor page builder plugin allowed updates to nearly the entire site without the help of a developer. The SEO and mobile device optimization were fast-tracked by using the SEOPress plugin and by having Elementor default to stacking columns on pages for mobile viewing.
The teams collaborated and set up plenty of calls to talk through each part of the website overhaul, particularly when it came to product information—subject matter experts at Valent BioSciences came in and provided guidance, and double-checked everything for accuracy at final review.
Both the Solid and Valent BioSciences teams were motivated to continue going and pushing forward, despite a few challenges that arose.
A known difficulty? The website isn’t an ecommerce site. It simply provides particular (dense and scientific) information to end users internationally. To aid international users, a responsive world map was added to help guide them to their area affiliate. Additionally, the wide variety of region-specific product packaging wasn’t a great option for product photos. Instead, Solid Digital elected to use imagery that showed plants and produce that reflected the colors of the brand (yellows and greens).
Later in the project timeline, the business objectives shifted, and microsites for the public health and forest health branches of Valent BioSciences were added. Instead of consolidating down to a singular site as originally planned, Solid pivoted, rethinking the site structure and creating a plan to consolidate all five business divisions down to three sites. In order to create cohesion with these two additional microsites, it was vital to use designs already created—which also helped trim down the tasks and stay on track. Despite three business divisions being included in the website overhaul, each can maintain its own site, thanks to WordPress multisite, installed by Solid Digital.
Working with the marketing team through each challenge also included serious content consolidation (and many conversations around it). A spreadsheet to tackle categories of content, page specifics, and actions needed helped create a site architecture that kept only the most relevant content. Valent requested Solid bring all products into one page with a results filter, making future additions to their product line up a cinch to introduce and integrate.
Valent BioSciences’ team is relieved to have a website that is navigable. Both the team and website users can now find exactly what they need, with an improved site structure and navigation, along with an interactive map. The limited top nav helps keep buckets clear, and helps funnel users where they need to go (all while telling them the story of Valent BioSciences).
For the future, as Valent BioSciences continues to expand their products, they’ll be able to easily add them to their online catalog and be fully confident that the users can find the product on the site and know where to purchase it.