Today I look at a case study in redesigning a website. I was approached by Red Brick Sales & Lettings to redesign their website for them. They felt their old website was a little outdated in appearance and had become untidy. The mixture of content that had been added over the years had taken its toll. Their focus had more recently been on their social media profile. Now they wanted a smart website to drive their clients to.
About Red Brick Sales & Lettings
Spread out across The Midlands and The South of England, Red Brick Sales & Lettings are an ARLA trained estate agency. They pride themselves on compliance and matching the right family with the right property.
When Redesigning a Website Becomes a Necessity
It is not uncommon for a website to become a little tired looking over time. Web technology is constantly evolving, giving web designers new tools to craft with. But a website designed and built 10 years ago will lack all those advancements developed since it was made. Go back to websites built during the late 90’s and they have a very basic appearance.
To many visitors, the older a website looks, the less appealing it is, even more so if the content is not kept up-to-date. And out-of-date content can also affect a website’s SEO score. Worse still, some technologies may cease to be supported by modern web browsers. Discontinued components can leave visitors to a website with an unpleasant experience.
Another area to consider is that the web has gone mobile. Mobile first has become not just a must but the mantra of the modern era. More website visitors than ever are viewing websites on mobile devices. And a website designed 10 years ago will not be mobile first in design. Leaving visitors hurriedly heading away from a page that is not comfortable for them to view on their phones.
Redesigning the Red Brick Sales & Lettings Website
My first step was to duplicate the Red Brick Sales & Lettings website, to a sandbox. A safe area I could experiment without affecting their live site. Once I had a working sandbox, I first started testing out themes to find the one that suited them best. Once I had a theme in place, it was time to start customising their content. This needed update to both its layout and the information it presented.
I already had the existing logo to work with, which made choosing the colour scheme easy. The original website used red, black and white for the colour scheme. I decided to changed the shade of red to one that was not so hard on the eyes. I also and moved the black more into the realms of dark grey. Subtle changes, but ones that made the pages easier to look at.
The theme came with a built in slider that I utilised on the home page. But the theme also recommended an excellent alternative, which I used to implement the hero images on each page.
Adding a Complex Form
The owner of Red Brick Sales & Lettings was pleased with the new look website and asked what else I could do for them. After a short conversation, we agreed that I would implement a tenancy application form for them. This was a complex version of a contact form. Tenant would be asked varying questions depending on their earlier answers. Once completed, the tenant could sign the form and submit it. A copy of the answers would be emailed to the tenant as well as the relevant office. The office would also receive the form as a PDF file that they could store.
While working on the tenancy application form, Red Brick Sales & Lettings also enquired about implementing their property listings within the website. This required the implementation of Property Hive, a WordPress plugin intended for this very purpose. In its default state, Property Hive gives a very basic design for property listing pages. To get Property Hive to give a nicely formatted page, it was necessary to customise the WordPress theme.
Publishing The Website
When it came time to publish the new website, it became clear that the previous designers were unable to provide full access to the web server. This was preventing us from implementing feature required by the modern design. It was an easy decision for Red Brick Sales & Lettings to move their hosting to a new location, which I was able to supply them with.
The website has since been moved to its new home and upgraded to the new site.SAMWare UK creates bespoke software solutions and websites. Contact us to arrange a chat to discuss your needs and for a free no obligation quote.