As a full-service agency, they were keen to meet and discuss their requirements.
The existing website was built on the Drupal CMS and over the years had become a little unwieldy. There had been many developers working on the site and whilst it was functional, it was no longer easily scalable.
We took down the brief and broke it down into modular sections based on their requirements. From here, we converted each section into a series of annotated flow diagrams. During this phase, we identified many additional questions which led to a deep dive for more information.
Once we’d mapped out the project, we pitched our proposal to the client and due to the fact we’d shown a full and thorough understanding of their needs, we were awarded the contract.
We proposed developing the entire site with the ever popular WordPress platform. This is something we have many years’ experience in and due to being scalable and fully customisable (beyond just a blog!), we worked out how each module could be built, how data needed to flow and the output expected.
The flow diagrams become the specification and blue prints for the entire project. Once signed off, subject to a few minor tweaks, we set about working on each module. We worked on each section as a series of sprints, creating an online working prototype. This allowed the client to know where we were at any given point, plus by having regular review meetings, we could demonstrate the prototype and functionality to date.
By working in an agile way, we could also adjust the functionality if required without compromising the entire project. Due to the size and complexity of the site, there were various alterations along the way; however, due to the approach we’d taken, we could easily adapt the project to these amendments.
Our in-house design team carried out a series of research, looking at similar sites as well as reviewing the overall user experience (UX) and user interaction (UI) that the design would require. We looked at the various elements, the key user requirments, how they should interact and equally ensure they could find data on the site intuitively and easily.
We worked through a series of page mock-ups and talked the client through the various page layouts. Once approved, these were soon converted into web pages and placed online. Whilst the main functionality wasn’t included at this stage, it helped provide the client with the overall look and feel. At this point, we could make any changes to the design if we felt something wouldn’t quite work as expected. This sometimes occurs when you convert ‘theoretical design’ into reality. We could also ensure the templates were fully responsive and carry out testing across platform, browser and device.
It took a lot of intricate code and a lot of man hours to provide such a crisp user-friendly site. There are many automated processes, calculating scores, generating reports and triggering emails. We also needed to query a lot of reviews to create various averages and therefore plot data graphs. Due to how we created and mapped the data, it also gave us more scope and flexibility in terms of how we can query and manipulate the data.
The main issue was migrating the content from the old Drupal platform to the new WordPress CMS we’d developed. Naturally, as we’d built totally new functionality, moving data over would be very much like fitting a square peg in a round hole. We also had in the region of 27,000 reviews, 220 blog articles and over 200 jobs, not to mention all the employer/user accounts and their respective data.
This in itself was a huge undertaking, mapping the old data structure to the new. Furthermore, we wanted to ensure we could cater for the many 301 redirects that we’d need to handle due to all the URL structures completely changing.
All data and respective 301s were handled and thankfully not handled manually but due to working out a few custom scripts.