Phase 1: Client Request
One of our clients contacted us regarding their website. Their website was a key piece of their business processes and required editing a couple times a week. However, when the website was originally created, the hired web developer used Wordpress and a various collection of plugins which had long since fallen behind on updates, a couple no longer even supported. While wordpress is an excellent option for website management, it can be difficult for business owners unfamiliar with the platform and with HTML to manage on their own.
Because of the difficult to manage the site on their own and the various cosmetic bugs that existed on their site, it became a very time consuming process to make basic edits to their website and what should have been at most a 10 minute process would take on the upside of an hour. Additionally, because the website was handed over to them without any documentation or training sessions, the client had very little understanding about the actual inner workings of the site and were unable to add any kind of expanded functionality simply because the tribal knowledge was not passed to them during the creation process.
The client requested that we overhaul their website and replace it with a brand new one. They requested that the platform we use be easy to manage and not require an intense or in-depth knowledge of HTML in order maintain. Simple things such as adding pictures, changing text, and potentially creating new pages should be intuitive and be possible to perform by staff within the organization.
Rather than hold business owners on a contract and retain the knowledge and permissions to maintain a website, we believe it is important to empower business owners to control their own website.
Phase 2: Design Solution
To fulfill the clients request, we settled on using WIX as our primary development platform. It fulfilled the technical requirements for their website and has a very friendly and simple user experience. Their old site had approximately 40 individual information pages which included media and document libraries We examined their old websites sitemap and created a conversion plan and outline for their new website. Content for the new site could be largely reused from the old site, but it needed to be organized and categorized as related content was spread throughout multiple locations on the old site.
After we had done our research and organized all the content, we began development on the new site. We created several different versions of the home page for the client and allowed them to choose the different artistic elements. After we had gotten a solid idea on our artistic direction, we created a rough draft of the site as a functional prototype. After reviewing the draft with the client, we began revisions as well as filling our templatized web pages with the information we had organized at the beginning of our project.
Several of the pages were very similar and had shared content across multiple pages such as rates, rules and regulations, and documents. Instead of requiring the client to go to each individual page, we created a database with the information and media which would then be called to each page. This solution allowed the client to make changes in a single database and have the changes immediately pushed to all respective pages.
After we had created the desktop version of the site and gotten the approval from the client; we created a mobile optimized version of the site and performed all of the basic SEO and accessibility configurations to make sure that the site was ready to go live. Before going live, we scheduled a training session with the client in which we would show them the inner workings of the website and how to adjust as needed. As we had planned, the client was able to pickup the new platform very easily and make changes to their site with ease.
After we had performed all of our final checks and tests, we pushed the site to production and pulled their old site from the internet. We transferred site ownership to the organization and from there on out, the site was controlled and managed by the owners.
We consider this story as a perfect example of our website services. Rather than hold business owners on a contract and retain the knowledge and permissions to maintain a website, we believe it is important to empower business owners to control their own website. This is a very different approach to many web developers within the county who require businesses to pay a monthly fee for “maintenance” on their websites. Because we utilize robust and easy tools for the website creation (WIX), all backend updates are managed directly by the hosting platform and are guaranteed to be compatible, thereby removing the need for “maintenance”. We are always available for troubleshooting or additions to the website and see our “hand-off” of the site to simply be the start providing quality and trustworthy service to our customers.