Last year I was contacted by Edinburgh based Graphic Designer Jo Skinner who invited me to collaborate on a website that she was working on for one of her clients called ’Business Matters’. Business Matters is a charitable organisation that give advice and support to the Edinburgh business community.
The client’s website had been built in the pre responsive area and was in need of redevelopment, also from a maintenance point of view the website was difficult to maintain and only one person within Business Matters knew how to upload content to the admin side of the site.
After the initial meeting with the clients we gathered a list of goals that they would like their website to achieve, such as a clean modern looking feel, a responsive design, and a site where information could be easily categorised and presented in such a way as to be straightforward for visitors.
As the content manager at Business Matters had a familiarity with the admin side of WordPress it was decided that WordPress would be the best content management system to implement the project. Nearer the end of the build I provided training in all matters WordPress and on how to use the new admin side of the website to staff members. This meant ensuring that keeping the website’s content up to date was easy to manage and all staff could access the website and upload posts and resources.
Taxonomies and Functions
Two additional custom taxonomies were created in order to better split the website’s information into logical categories (‘Events’ – ‘Resources’) that sat apart from the websites default blog category.
For the ‘Events’ and ‘Resources’ posts I used a plugin called Custom Meta Boxes to add features, such as the ability to upload PDF files to ‘Event’ posts along with fields where users could find information on event phone numbers, contact emails and event dates. For ‘Resources’ posts I implemented a simple system for uploading multiple different file types, everything from images to audio, video, PDF’s, PowerPoint Files and Word documents. All of these can be downloaded or viewed in modal popup windows at the bottom of ‘Resources’ posts on the Business Matters website.
Once the functionality and UI of the website had been discussed and agreed on the next step was to go ahead and produce wireframes so the client could start to visualise how people would interact and view all the information of the website. After Jo Skinner had produced the wireframes it was then her job to mock up the website visuals. Initially four different themes were designed in Illustrator and the clients were happy to go with a very clean and minimal feel. Though very different from other websites in their field I feel Business Matters made the right choice to get away from the very traditional and tired looking business stock photography website.
To help make the site easier to style I implemented SASS variables and mixins this way I didn’t have to repeat code all the time and it helped speed up the build of the website.
Once the site got to the later stages of development the site’s content was filled in and the site was tested for cross browser compatibility and for mobile devices. After the testing stage the site and the new database were switched to the live server using the excellent plugin WP Migrate.
I really like the look and feel of the website and its simplicity in use and since the website has gone live Business Matters have said that visitors to their site have left lots of positive feedback.
My responsibilities on this project were : UI Consultation and Backend and Front-end Coding.
Follow this link to view the Business Matters website.
To get touch with Jo Skinner you can email her here.
Noah was excellent to work with on this project. He listened to what we wanted, took time to find out what we knew, and put together a website which took account of both of these. He was quick to answer questions and helpful and constructive with his responses. All this means that we have a website which looks great and is much easier to maintain and update than the old one. A success story!
Eric Smith, Consultant to Business Matters