The Centre for the New Midlands

Back in 2005 I was in my second year of University in Coventry, it was here I met Chris Smith. We both used some of our spare time working for the University showing prospective students around on open days. We would give talks and help them understand what the University and city had to offer.

Fifteen years later and we both have businesses, I’m Director of Information Solutions/The Web Orchard and Chris’ is Director for the Centre of the New Midlands.

Chris’ path had taken him to setting up a thinktank dedicated to the Midlands, a rare yet golden opportunity to help focus on the region’s development and how we can do things differently to build a brighter future.

As part of this vision is the areas digital future, a focus we’ve been able to assist with. In it’s first part, a website for the Centre and moving forward, assistance with digital transformation for businesses and organisations.

Coming out of the Covid-19 crisis the Midlands is going to face a new set of challenges. We strongly believe a number of these can be met with creative IT solutions, whether that will be through increased remote working or innovative web services.

We want to be part of the future success of the region, hence our work with Chris and the Centre has been so important. View website below:

Support Shrewsbury

We’ve had a great opportunity to work with Shrewsbury Business Improvement District in developing the website for Support Shrewsbury https://lnkd.in/gnuq2TT

The site is an online marketplace to give people the opportunity to buy vouchers and products for their favourite Shrewsbury businesses to help boost recovery after lockdown.

We worked on the technical aspects of the project, the challenge with the marketplace was ensuring that vendors had sufficient control over managing their store front and that the site kept an overall look and feel in keeping with the Shrewsbury branding.

The website was developed in conjunction with Shrewsbury BID, providing shops and businesses with income and support during lockdown.

New Website for ‘The Dabbers’

Based in Nantwich Cheshire with a large and loyal fan base, Nantwich Town Football Club required a new website that would enable fans to quickly access information on the club and the matches via their mobile devises, whilst allowing the Club’s media team to easily update information.

Wanting to support the growing level of traffic to the website, it was important that a new website would be simple to navigate whilst offering impact via engaging visuals. Above all else, Nantwich Town FC wanted to provide a better user experience for their fans.

Objective 

Tim Crighton, Director at Nantwich Town FC elaborates on the brief that was given to The Web Orchard:

“The old website was looking dated and wasn’t designed with mobile or tablet in mind. The digital world has moved on quickly in the last 5 years and now 75% of our website visitors view the site from a mobile device, mainly as a result of clicking on links from our numerous social media channels. We needed a modern website that looked good and gave a great user experience, on all devices, from mobile through to desktop.

We have over 10,000 social media followers on one platform or more, which helps generate more than 5,000 unique website visitors per month. Together with “Dabbers TV” which highlights points of every game, the amount of traffic on the website is growing month on month, so it was vital that a new website would be able to effectively support this.”

Method

Understanding the objectives of the project, the team at The Web Orchard produced an engaging website that ticked all the boxes.

Introducing a bold, bright new look that made the website instantly recognisable to the thousands of fans accessing the information, bold headings and imagery was included to encourage intuitive navigation around the site. A live Twitter feed was also added to the homepage to enable browsers to access real-time information without having to leave the website, whilst simultaneously boosting website rankings on Google.

Ensuring that all aspects of the Club had an equal presence to the 1st team football information, The Web Orchard built clear layout into the website’s design to encourage browsers to visit more and different points of interest, spending more time on the site. Including large menu options and navigation buttons helped to both suggest a journey through the website, whilst also providing ease of use to viewers accessing the site from a touch screen mobile devise.

The Web Orchard were ball sponsors at the match against Scarborough Athletic on the 14th September 2019 at The Weaver Stadium.

Result

Delighted with the end result, Tim concludes:

“Further the website’s launch we have been able to hear the positive reaction of fans on social media and in person within the stadium on match day. The feedback is brilliant so far, the supporters are very pleased and with google analytics showing a huge ride in traffic to the website and time spent on the website, we are absolutely thrilled.

The new website looks great, the user experience is superb and works well on desktop, tablet and mobile. We are very grateful to The Web Orchard who have certainly delivered a website that goes above and beyond the brief.”

View the website.

New Website for Kevothermal

A leading international manufacturer of vacuum insulation panels, Kevothermal appeals to a broad array of diverse markets. Selling to customers across the world it was vital that Kevothermal’s website complemented the excellent reputation of the organisation and supported its renowned high level of customer service.

Objective:

Portraying the company brand and service through a dated website for a number of years, Kevothermal were ready to upgrade and refresh their online presence.

Requiring a responsive website that would attract and engage new audiences, it was important that new customers were able to understand quickly what the company was and what it did. Offering a complex service whilst speaking to a range of industry sectors, it was vital that the website user could navigate easily through the website to find the information that was relevant to them. Wanting to retain viewers whilst increasing conversions, the new Kevothermal website needed to function as powerful sales and marketing tool.

Method:

Working closely with the team at The Web Orchard, Sales Manager at Kevothermal, Mark Launders talks about how the content and the design of the site was re-built with their customers firmly in mind;

“Focusing on the customer experience, we worked on making the information within the website easy to digest. Re-writing the content to make it more SEO friendly, the graphics and imagery selected for the website were specific to enabling quick understanding. This was important, as an internationally company communicating with people speaking a host of different languages, we needed techniques in place that would make that communication universal.”

Result:

Providing Kevothermal with a website that satisfied all the objectives, the organisation are now jeen to duplicate the design for their American website. Thrilled with final result, Mark concludes:

“The new website is fantastic and the service that we received from The Web Orchard was equally as impressive. Knowing us as a company and understanding what we would need in order to reach our objectives, made working in partnership with The Web Orchard very easy. They really did a great job.”

To view the Kevothermal website, please visit www.kevothermal.eu

Working in partnership with Innovise

Innovise is an international software solutions provider to the Cleaning, Guarding and Facilities Management industries. Working with organisations throughout the UK, Europe, Canada and America, Innovise is a leading supplier of workforce management & service delivery software, renowned for its innovation and cutting-edge technology,

The objective

Providing a portfolio of software solutions to a number of industry sectors across a growing number of countries, Innovise required a website that was able to clearly and effectively communicate with all of their audiences. Wishing to enable website visitors to easily understand the technology that they provide, the benefits of the solutions and to find the specific software package to match the web browsers needs, Innovise turned to The Web Orchard for assistance.

The method

Analysing the original customer journey and the user experience, The Web Orchard were able to identify ways in which to improve navigation through the website and engagement with the Innovise offering. Enabling people to effectively ‘self-serve’; learning about the different software solutions and selecting the one best suited to their needs, was a primary objective for Innovise. Creating clear pathways through the information, complemented with bold, simple infographics and imagery, provided the new website with a much easier route to sale. Working with Innovise, The Web Orchard edited and created new user-friendly content to sit within a layout that encourages click through to other areas of the site.

The result

Bright, engaging and fit for purpose, the final website developed by The Web Orchard and presented to Innovise satisfies all of the objectives. Complex information and confusing navigation has been transformed to provide a website that allows anyone, from any industry sector within any country to understand exactly what Innovise provide and how it will benefit their organisation.

Working in partnership with KiwiKit

Bringing innovative products to the UK market, KiwiKit is the UK’s premium supplier of New Zealand solutions to British farmers, fencing contractors and vetinary surgeons. Boasting a large and ever-growing portfolio of products, KiwiKit has built its reputation on the quality of its solutions and the value they add to an enterprise or lifestyle. Requiring a user-friendly website with the capacity to grow with the company and its audiences, Kiwi Kit sought out The Web Orchard for help.

The Objective:

Wanting to make browsing for and purchasing products as simple as possible for their audience, KiwiKit needed a website that would be intuitive and simple to navigate. Encouraging website users to spend more time on the site, exploring product ranges and viewing new and different areas, the website needed to be engaging both in its design and in its content.

The Method:

Working alongside KiwiKit, The Web Orchard designed a clear, clean website to enable fast, simple shopping. Built with the consumer firmly in mind, fresh design, informative imagery and intuitive grouping of information was implemented, to allow website browsers to easily find their way back to products of interest, each time they viewed the website. Pete White Director at The Web Orchard continues:

“As the primary sales tool for KiwiKit, it was vital that the website was designed to attract and then encourage people to buy the products featured on it. We also wanted to persuade people to browse through other product lines with the outcome being the purchase of extra or new products that they might not have considered before. Making the new website very clear in its layout and extremely simple to navigate, now enables KiwiKit to capture customers that might re-visit the site several times before making a purchase.”

The Result:

Promoting the brand as well as the offering of the organisation to its extensive audience, the website has proved extremely successful. Significantly increasing website traffic and sales since its launch, the team at KiwiKit are delighted with the results. Stephanie Rogers at KiwiKit elaborates:

“The new website has received nothing but positive feedback from colleagues and customers and we are thrilled with the tangible results that we are seeing. Our sales, as well as our website traffic has more than doubled since the new website has been live, which is fantastic and absolutely the outcome we were hoping for when we engaged the services of The Web Orchard. We now have a website that is attractive, accessible and most importantly, successful in doing the job that it was designed to do.”

To view the website please visit: www.kiwikit.co.uk

New Website for GKN

A world leader in the manufacturing of off-highway wheels and supplier of structural assemblies, GKN Wheels and Structures required a new website that would enable them to effectively engage with their global audience. Wanting to add greater impact to their online representation, GKN’s new website needed to both comply with corporate brand guidelines yet stretch the boundaries enough to produce a unique and visually exciting communications tool. GKN turned to The Web Orchard for help.

The Objective:

As a global organisation with 250 years of business heritage, the website needed to be clear and intuitive to use by everyone within its extensive multi-lingual audience. Providing an engaging yet simple user journey, the primary objective of the new website was to enable people to easily find the information they were seeking within a few clicks.

The Method:

On the challenges of the project, Peter White Director at The Web Orchard comments:

“As GKN Wheels and Structures is such a large organisation, it was vital that we delivered a website that would successfully break complex information down into a format and a flow that would be easy to digest by its audience. We had the challenge of creating an exciting new website that would be give the business its own identity.”

Appreciating the world-wide reach of the organisation, The Web Orchard focused emphasis on design and imagery. Creating the impact that GKN required whilst maximising the understanding of the written content, images that attracted attention whilst clearly demonstrating the products and their uses were incorporated. Complemented by bold design, icons and instinctive layout, the objective of the project was successfully achieved.

The Result:

Working closely with The Web Orchard to transform business needs and vision into reality, Marketing & Communications Director for GKN Sali Morris was impressed:

“Working to a very tight deadline, we were impressed with how the team at The Web Orchard were able to absorb our objectives and deliver a solution that so clearly matched our needs. Providing us with a website that effectively communicates with our audiences and our stakeholders whilst giving us the flexibility to represent who we are with our customers, we are very pleased with the fresh, vibrant website that The Web Orchard have designed for us. Perfectly representing who we are as a business, we are delighted with the positive feedback we are receiving.”

Further to the website going live, GKN Wheels and Structures have seen in increase in website traffic and inbound enquiries.

To see the website, please visit www.gknwheels.com

Working in partnership with Build It International

Build It International is a charity that creates opportunities for young people and communities in Zambia through skills training, work experience and essential community building projects. Wanting to increase the reach and impact of their brand, whilst creating greater engagement with their website, Build It turned to The Web Orchard for assistance.

The Objective:

As a charitable organisation the primary objective of a new website was to effectively attract and engage with new and existing supporters. Enabling clear, intuitive navigation, it was vital that their website would enable people to quickly find the information that they were looking for, whilst also highlighting the other activities of the charity.

The Method:

Understanding the specific objective of the charity, The Web Orchard began work by researching effective design and functionality of other websites within the sector. working closely with Build It, the team at The Web Orchard were able to create detailed wire-frames to illustrate how their new WordPress website would potentially look and navigate. Director of The Web Orchard, Peter White, elaborates:

“It was important to Build It that we were able to effectively communicate with people on the work that the charity does via a clear and interactive website. We knew that simple navigation was key, as was bold and engaging design to interest people and effectively hold them on the website for longer. Working with our team of web and graphic designers, we came up with a several ideas on how to pull all of this together. Incorporating extensive imagery and content which told the story of Build It, the final concept worked incredibly well and we are very proud of the finished result.”

The Result:

Delighted with the finished website, Elizabeth Martial, Communications and Fundraising Officer for the charity expands on the positive impact that the website has had for Build It International:

“We might be a small charity, but we are professional, effective and efficient and wanted a website that reflects this. The Web Orchard have produced a new website that perfectly reflects our new brand guidelines. The clean and simple design enables easier navigation which works extremely well on a range of different mobile devices.

As a charitable organisation, it was important for us to have a high quality, off-the-shelf package that was good value and that we could easily update ourselves without incurring additional costs. This is exactly what we got. We can now keep the site fresh and current by quickly and easily changing information on our projects, updating jobs and uploading latest blog entries. We have had lots of positive comments from our supporters and we are looking forward to sharing more news and updates with them to show how their support is building brighter futures in Zambia.”

New Blog for the Security Conscious Web User

A new blog has launched for the security conscious web user, Internet Security Central aims to keep readers safe with tips, advice and resources.

Our lives are increasingly connected to the internet through our smartphones, tablets and IoT (Internet of Things) devices, each comes with a unique set of challenges when it comes to security.

The site helps guide users through the complex landscape of internet security with easy to read guides and top tips lists. It helps to answer questions such as whether you need antivirus software for iPhones and Android devices.

Since launching in January, Internet Security Central, has already covered topics such as the recent Meltdown and Spectre CPU flaws and a run down of the top hacks/leaks from 2017.

A series of articles on crypto currencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum has been tracking their rise and fall over the past few months as well as looking at alternative coins such as Litecoin and Ripple.

Internet Security Central can be visited at www.internetsecuritycentral.com or on Twitter and Facebook.

 

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For more information contact [email protected]

WordCamp Bham

This weekend was WordCamp Birmingham, the event was a resounding success and attended by around 150 WordPress developers and enthusiasts.

I gave a lightening talk based on the blog post I wrote a couple of weeks ago – cutting spam with CloudFlare.

Here are some of the plugins I picked up on from various talks:

Menu Humility – this module fixes any menu items that like to put themselves at the top of the list in the admin menu.

User Switching – lets you quickly switch between users, great for debugging role based issues.

CMS Tree Page View – if you have a lot of pages this lists them in a hierarchical view.

Spots – lets you define areas of content that your end users can edit.

Imsanity – Automatically resizes images in posts so that users don’t load a 10mb image into the body of a page.

Jarvis – like Alfred for OS X but built into the WordPress admin. 

Uploads by Proxy – great little plugin if you have moved a live site to a dev environment but don’t want to copy down the entire content of /wp-content/uploads

Profiler – Performance profiler (was shown in a lightening talk, can’t find link or remember the author).