The Nuthatch Website Process

As you may have seen, at Eighty8 we have recently celebrated a huge milestone; 5 years of being in business.

What started out as a pipe dream in the head of myself & Shaun has evolved into a business that employs 5 people — something which I couldn’t be more proud of.

To celebrate this milestone and our recent relocation to the fantastic Boho 5 we decided to do something a little unorthodox; we gave away a completely free website worth up-to £5,000 (we tried to get 5ive to help us out, but they were unavailable)

The winner, chosen at random, was The Nuthatch — a boutique cocktail bar situated in the bustling Bedford Street of Middlesbrough. If you want to see more about the competition, check out James’ amazing vlogs documenting the whole process in his typically quirky fashion.

Here though, on this blog, I want to do something a little different. We believe that our process is different to a lot of other web agencies, something we make clear to potential clients from day one.

As a fundamental rule we never use off the shelf designs, templates or themes. We put in the time and effort to ensure that everything we build is completely bespoke and tailor made to the clients specific requirements. We figured what better way to demonstrate this than take you behind the scenes on a live project.

Over the course of the next few weeks while we’re working together with The Nuthatch, the team at Eighty8 are going to be documenting the whole process of designing and building their new WordPress website.

WHY?

There are millions of solutions out there for people who don’t have the means to hire either an agency or a design/development team to develop their website. By all means, anybody could easily set up a WordPress or Squarespace website, find a theme and spend a few hours moulding it into something that does a pretty good job of representing their company.

However, we firmly believe that if you do hire an agency to develop a website, you should be getting a lot more than that. The website should be catered towards your business; it should represent your brand the way a pre-built theme never could, it should include features specific to your needs & also help you reach and engage with your audience.

I’m not saying that we’re perfect — we are constantly learning, evolving our craft and moving along with the fast pace of the digital industry. We actively encourage our staff to learn and implement new skills and techniques that will help us evolve as a business and offer an even better service to our clients.

Over the course of this series, we hope to share some of these with you and delve a little deeper into our process. The first stage in that journey is perhaps the most crucial — understanding exactly what your client wants.

DISCOVER

Insufficient planning at the early stage of a project will almost always lead to problems further down the road. It seems a straightforward concept, but it’s surprising how often this step gets lost in web development projects.

It’s the job of myself and my fellow directors to make sure that the projects we work on are properly planned and a full specification is drawn up. This way both the client and our team are all on the same page, ensuring that the client gets the website they expect from us.

The Nuthatch website is no different. We visited the bar recently and sat down with the director and owner to discuss the project, during these initial meetings we are simply looking to gain as much information as possible.

What is the purpose of the site? What do you wish to accomplish from the site? If you are redesigning a site, what problems do you currently encounter that need to be overcome? How do you want your brand to be perceived online?

These questions amongst others help us gain a full understanding of the brand and the website and give us an idea of how we can provide an end product that adds real value to business.

In the case of The Nuthatch the website needs to act as a visual introduction to the bar, showcasing their distinctive style, brand identity and of course their amazing cocktails! The website will also have several additional features such as a intuitive booking system for visitors to quickly and easily book a table at the bar, a simple e-commerce platform for visitors to buy gift cards and a dynamic blog that’s both adaptable and easy to maintain.

USER RESEARCH

With this site, it’s important for us to understand who the target demographic is and how they interact not only with the website but also the bar. As the booking system is a main feature of the new site, the key to producing a flawless online system that works for the bar is understanding their customers behaviour. Through this we can provide a system that works in tandem with the staff and is beneficial to them and the day-to-day running of the bar.

With a redesign such as this one it’s usually beneficial to look at the current analytics of the pre-existing site, this helps us build a picture of how users are interacting with the website; what elements of the site they interact with most, what route they take through the site, where they come from and how they initially found the website.

CONTENT

Content is of course king! A website simply doesn’t work without good, fresh, relatable and digestible content. A key aim at this stage of a project is to start gathering content and begin planning as much as possible. The design and layout of the website is always informed by the content, which is why it’s crucial at this stage to begin collecting copy, brand assets, photography, video and and other forms of media.

Once we have this (along with the project specification and the knowledge we have gained throughout the discovery process) we can start thinking about design and bringing the project to life.

We’ll be bringing you regular updates as the project progresses, starting with the design process.

We’d love to hear your feedback on this blog series, or if you have your own project you’d like us to work on with you, please get in touch here.


Originally published at www.eighty8design.co.uk on July 26, 2016.