Design Tact gets a new look
We are extremely excited to tell you about the new website we built for Design Tact - a company based in Claremont, Cape Town. They specialise in strategic design and implementation from start to finish with a network of specialists in strategy, content, SEO and development. Their primary areas of focus are interior / architectural design, graphic/brand design and digital marketing.
We were approached in October 2016 and requested to rebuild their existing website to give it a new lease on life. The main goal was to simplify the website and provide as much relevant information as possible with fewer clicks. It was also important to ensure that all Google Index information is retained. In other words, all URL patterns should remain the same, or to have a redirect. With the relaunch of the site, their focus is on the African market, so throughout the project, we had to stay aware of bandwidth access with regards to image loading and devices.
The old website was on Drupal 7, and with the design provided by the client, we rebuilt it on Drupal 8. The new site has:
- A landing page that appears only once per visit for a specific user.
- Exciting new branding.
- Information pages, with some tabbed content display.
- Updated portfolio listing and content type, with paragraphs and media options.
- Highlighted portfolio items on the homepage.
- Imported blog from external subsite, with listing and paragraphs and media options to match portfolio
- Taxonomy is used to group content by country, city, various other topics.
- Support for YouTube videos.
- Flippy pager between previous/next items in blog and portfolio.
Satisfying the client’s wishes
The client expressed two wishes to make sure that their Google (SEO) / Metadata is as much the same for the new site as for the old one. Firstly, in keeping the backend simple and easy to use enables the client to maintain and update the site with more ease and as time allows. Our answer to this was quick tab content using the paragraph module system to create the containers for the content and making sure that the client can edit all the text areas themselves.
Secondly, they wanted an effortless mix of content and images - making it flexible to change the layout of, for example, the blog and portfolio (mixing/moving around of text, image and video for a specific piece of content) was important to the client. For this, we used the paragraph module system to allow for the content flexibility in terms of text and image/video on the website.
The project had a few fun and learningful challenges that not only helped us grow in our personal capacity but also professionally as a team. Our biggest challenge was to try to make sure that we translated what the client wants for their users’ experiences when using the site on every part of the website.
To mention a few:
- Getting the hexagons to line-up in responsiveness across all screen sizes.
- The overlay on the homepage that slides away as the user scrolls down.
- Figuring out how animations and interactions should work together to achieve the best result.
We also got to play around with some pretty cool stuff like Snazzymaps.com for the custom Google map so that it’s not the standard colours on the contact us page.
The ultimate goal
‘...Smart and responsible design starts with concise thinking and planning, commencing from the conceptual phase, and is always budget realistic and true to the brand…’
Our ultimate goal was to make sure things are flexible, straightforward and more user-friendly. By adding some subtle interactions/animations, but still keeping it simple, elegant and classy.
The biggest lesson learnt during this 4-month project was that clear communication, especially when the design has been supplied by the client. So to understand how their static pdf should translate into an interactive website requires further conversations and explanations. Are the three pillars of a successful partnership.
The new website is proof of that, so a big thanks goes out to PJ and Mirisa (Design Tact owners), Ryan Farrant (designer and our client liaison throughout the project) and our team including Inky Talbot as Project Manager, Stew Frontend Developer, Lisa Thesen Frontend Developer, and with some additional assistance from Jason Lewis and Nelly Moseki.