This project is a follow up from my previous post “Hallgate Timber Website Remodel“. Whilst my previous website design met the criteria put forward to myself, requirements had changed and to accommodate the changing criteria another website overhaul was needed. A number of new requirements included; Dynamic menu, Website contact form, SEO overhaul and most importantly the website needed to be Mobile friendly.
The new website design criteria explained
A dynamic menu was a suggestion put forward when I began designing my first remodel, in hind sight it was more important than I believed at the time. In my previous design users navigated the website via categories e.g. A user wants to view Sheds, from the homepage a typical user action would be Homepage > Garden Buildings > Sheds. Whilst this wasn’t optimal, it worked and I was able to add more structure to the website. The problems with having a static menu became obvious quite soon after publishing the new site, more user steps means more bandwidth usage and some customers had difficulty traversing the website.
Website Contact Form
The original website utilized a contact form generated by our CMS (Content management system), which did function as intended. However, to access the contact form users had to click through a link embedded on the contact page. This was improved by creating and embedding a contact form within the contact us page, the new contact form provides users a more seamless experience when attempting to make contact or request information. The contact form does offer SQL injection protection, basic spam checks through a CAPTCHA as well as logging of IP addresses so that repeat offenders can be blacklisted. The way customer query’s are handled has also been changed, previously the contact form emailed directly to the managers email only which was only accessible through his computer. Now all customer query’s go to shared email address which is synchronized to each sales team members computer, allowing for increased productivity and quicker turn around time on customer query’s.
Not a lot of consideration was put into my previous website design, that was mainly due to the site being a placeholder and my knowledge on SEO needing a brush up. Through the use of online resources and my managers guidance, I was able to improve SEO on each page. I used multiple online SEO testers and checkers to find errors to be corrected, whilst it was not a perfect methodology (as many sites conflict on SEO guidance) it certainly has been much improved.
Mobile compatibility was a major caveat for SEO as well as user experience, with mobile users outweighing conventional computer users it certainly was an insure which couldn’t be ignored. The new website design needed to dynamic and accommodate as many users as possible. The website needed to present its content and menu system to differing resolutions, this was achieved through a viewport and defining how to display the content/menu on different resolutions. After a fair amount of research into responsive web design and testing, I can say I am satisfied with the results.