Web Design Thinking: how a custom WordPress theme is the key for a valuable experience

Applying the theory and practice of Design Thinking on web design project can help brands an companies improving their Users and Customer Experiences

As a designer who believes that each problem deserves its own solution, I’m quite sceptical when I browse web agency’s portfolios and I see only WordPress websites with standard themes.

I know that some of them have multiple settings for customisation, but still that is a compromise: to me it looks like that the real needs are size down to the shape of the solution provided by the theme.

Here’s the difference between a pure web designer and a UX designer with an experience in web coding: the first one adapts, the second one shapes.

In the following section I’ll show three examples of UX applied to web design, so that the requirements of each stakeholders was satisfied. At the core of each one there a deep analysis of the corporate values on which the whole website was based.

Some things these three projects have in common are:

Fondazione Nicola Trussardi

This has been a really interesting project. The client, a private contemporary art foundation focused on temporary installations, needed a new website as the previous one was made in a custom CMS, which was slow and hard to update. Another request was to find a way to keep the homepage dynamic even if the website is updated only twice per year.

They asked for WordPress, to not being locked to a single provider, but also required many features, even a premium theme wasn’t capable of.

Some interesting aspect of this site are:


Community Group

This website has been a real challenge as it integrates the data from two different WordPress websites into one, with four custom content types, a huge amount of news and clients.

In this case the theme aesthetic was also designed in-house, starting from the idea to use the same images for both slider and background: this not only creates a remarkable visual effect, but it also increase the speed performance of the website, as it is the same image to be loaded once and used twice.

The clients page has been tough: it implements a custom developed AJAX integration, to dynamically fill the page with clients logo, based on the selection of two dropdown menus, which are also dynamically updated.


Reputation Manager

The main challenge of this website was to shape a meaningful information architecture plan to host a complex and consistent amount of contents, without specific target groups or kind of content.

In order to provide useful ways to get into the right page both a mega-menu and a landing area have been implemented. The mega-menu allow to browse the contents of each area by holding the mouse over the desired menu label; in the homepage the visitor is welcomed and shown with a list of services ordered by the most common needs which are required.

Both the homepage and the News page are structured with horizontal sections in order to host many content of different kind still preserving the rational and well structured appearence, in coherence with the corporate values: integration, method, avanguardie.


About me

I'm Federico Bombelli, an European designer living in Milan, Italy. Currently I'm working as UX/Strategic designer and Wordpress developer at Reputation Manager.

I like to challenge complexity through experience driven design thinking, creating authentic experiences and meaningful relationship across people.

I'm really interested in personal and employer branding as well as in show design, broadcast and entertainment technologies (sound, video, lights)

I enjoy listening to opera and jazz music, driving my 1970 VW Beetle and my 1980 Suzuki motorbike through the most beautiful nation in the world (Italy) and immerse myself in well-told stories, including fiction books, films and songs.

When I grow up, I want to be like Rocco Tanica

Academical background

Master’s Degree in Product Service System Design, Politecnico di Milano. Program held in English.
Exchange in Industrial and Strategic Design, Aalto University - School of Arts and Design, Helsinki.

Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Design, Politecnico di Milano.
Erasmus in Integrated Design, Köln International School of Design, Cologne

Master of European Design alumnus. Learn more

About this website

Thank you for visiting my website.

You can reach me sending an email to:
mail [A T] wilmo [D O T] it

This website was heavily inspired by Frank Chimero's previous ones,
by the awesome work of Rasmus Andersson and by a lovely gallery of brutalist websites.


Federico Bombelli Wilmo UX Designer