Case study brief: Accessible design and web development for Ilkeston Ply & DIY Website
Ilkeston Ply needed a website that would reflect their stature within the local economy as the longest serving premium timber and ply supplier in Ilkeston.
They chose HeX to develop a website that would communicate to customers the range of products that they have available and encourage customers to visit the timber yard. Ilkeston Ply & DIY needed a modern and sleek website a website that has the capability of growing in functionality as they decide upon new features, such as an online shop.
The company wanted to be able to edit the website themselves, so needed to be easy to use in the back end
HeX's first complete site build using Gutenberg block made this case study unique
Combining our expertise and Ilkeston Ply’s ideas, a design was created for the website. Using Ilkeston Ply’s signature blue, the website would reflect their brand.
The site was built using the WordPress Content Management System, utilising pre-built and bespoke Gutenberg blocks. This streamlined the editing process of the website, allowing the editors to add and remove blocks as they see fit. Gutenberg blocks add extensive flexibility for the content on the website, this was the first time HeX had delivered a full build using predominantly Gutenberg, allowing the editor view to mirror the website view, making content implementation and editing even easier.
Modernising and strengthening a small business with significant plans for growth
Ilkeston Ply and DIY boast one of the oldest and most established timber yards in Ilkeston, Derbyshire. Supplying timber and DIY supplies to a great number of tradesmen and the general public. With strong plans to grow their online presence in the future, they needed a forward-thinking agency that would be able to deliver on their aspirations.
The requirements were a website that suited their brand and allowed visitors to instantly recognise the company’s signature blue branding and put their name at the forefront. The website needed to be modern and sleek, fitting with the business’ goals to expand into the online e-commerce market and keep up with an ever changing landscape.
HeX has significant experience in building small and medium sized enterprise (SME) websites, having built websites for the likes of Confirm A Kill, a local pest control supplier. Our knowledge of the challenges that small businesses face make us a perfect partner to deliver what Ilkeston Ply & DIY needed.
The short-term goal for the website was to drive online traffic to visit the timber yard directly, allowing visitors to understand the offering available to them without having to leave their homes. Long-term, an e-commerce solution would be implemented onto the website, as well as a decking builder tool, giving users greater functionality and the ability to order stock from without having to visit the yard. HeX understood the long-term aspirations of the company, designing the site to ensure future features would fit seamlessly into the website, without having to alter the existing code.
Streamlining the content editing journey with innovative development approach
Once the designs had been completed and signed off by the owners of Ilkeston Ply & DIY, the build process began. The website was to be built on WordPress, a content management system that HeX uses to display the bespoke code they build.
The site was built using a bespoke custom theme, allowing for HeX developers to have greater flexibility with the style and the features that were built into the website from the offset. With the release of WordPress version 5 at the end of 2018, we had even greater flexibility, with the introduction of Gutenberg blocks. Gutenberg is an overhaul of the classic back-end editor, and allows content to be represented in blocks. This creates a more visual and intuitive way of implementing content into the site.
Building the site in Gutenberg unified the content creation experience, and does not rely on any knowledge of coding
HeX devised a strategy that would allow future content editors at Ilkeston Ply & DIY to add content in an efficient manner, removing as much complexity as possible, using Gutenberg blocks. This innovative approach helps content editors, and administration staff who edit the website, see it in a format closer to how it will look on the front end.
It’s clear that Gutenberg is relied on by content editors, with now more than 19 million active installations of WordPress websites using the content blocks.
Ensuring staff can create consistent and good-looking content independently
A training video was created for the company, allowing staff to have greater confidence when editing the website. The training video showed, step-by-step, how elements could be added, removed, and how existing elements could be edited. The ability for the Ilkeston Ply and DIY team to create their own content has given them greater control of their websites, without the need of external support.
The work we have completed is one step on the digitisation journey of Ilkeston Ply & DIY – with further feature implementations made possible because of our design process. The ability to add ecommerce options into the website was implemented, future-proofing the digital presence. HeX was able to map the future aspirations of the company, and make them work with ongoing maintenance commitment.
The website strengthened the presence of Ilkeston Ply & DIY, backing it up with a professional and sleek website that can be used by their customers. The design allowed user flow around the website, ensuring that customers are able to understand what the company offers.
Web development and accessible design project outcomes
Ilkeston Ply were given a website that looked sleek and professional from the get-go, communicating exactly what they offered clearly.
A training video was produced for Ilkeston Ply & DIY, allowing them greater confidence to edit the website in the future.
The website has been developed to allow for an easy integration of e-commerce features in alignment with Ilkeston Ply & DIY’s future aspiration. Future plans also include a bespoke decking builder tool. Which would allow customers to input the dimensions of the deck and have the exact measurements and quantities of wood displayed to them. This consideration displays our iterative design process, ensuring future requirements are factored into the set-up of the initial build process to minimise the effect of making changes later.
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