Action Play & Leisure

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I was contact by APL in the summer of 2015 to improve their website. They were keen to stick with WordPress because they were familiar with the UI and already had a lot of existing product data in there. There were some further concerns with using WordPress but after speaking to them I was able to address their concerns.

I worked with Juliana Viginette to complete the design of the site. I was involved in wireframing and creating a solid foundation for the site whilst also trying to meet the goals of the project, which were:

Some of the aims of the site were direct conflicts with others so this was a real challenge to meet all the criteria.

Layout

Although APL have had a web presence for years they were still keen on pushing the PDF brochure of their product range. I thought this was counter-productive and although the site is not an e-commerce store it does share a lot of the characteristics.

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Throughout the site there are clear calls to actions and once you are at the product level there is plenty of signposting for potential customers to get in contact with APL. A lot of mistakes made on business websites is the information potential customers need to get in contact with them. We ensured the phone number was visible with different methods to get in contact with APL. Social media is prevalent throughout the site.

We're really happy with the work that Steve put in during the re-development of the APL website and we're delighted with the results of the new website, something we can finally be proud of. We'll continue to pick Steve's brain as we build upon the website in the future!

Dean Barker, Action Play & Leisure

Performance

Although the site is media rich (lots of images) it was essential that the site loaded quickly. I used a lot of techniques from my Ultimate Guide to Images blog posts and talk I did in the backend of 2015. Images are compressed and are loaded from a CDN. Slideshows and the 360 view of a product are only loaded when needed to keep the overheads low. As a rule I tried to limit the page size to no more than 1.5MB (and 1MB on mobile).

Flexibility

I used the flexible content module in Advanced Custom Fields (ACF) in order for the APL to create their own custom pages. This enables APL to build the page from pre-defined content blocks. They’re able to includes elements such as:

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Search Engine Optimised

With the the playground industry being so competitive, especially in the south of England, it was important to ensure we did everything we could to allow Google to index the site.

We created a strategy to cover all potential bases from individual products, their categories and also items such as their set playgrounds.

Each individual product is configured to work with Google’s Product Schema which means that meta data about the product is included (above and beyond the information a user can see) that Google can use to make relevant to user’s searches.

There are over 400 products on the site but unless you know what you’re looking for then it’s hard to target these pages at potential customers. To introduce an element of locality we created pages for all the installations that APL have done around the south of England. This means that if a potential customer wants to check out their work in person then they can easily find one close to them. Being a high value product, this is very important.

 

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