Dance studio websites are usually pretty static. They show off the different styles of dance that they teach. The usual value proposition is usually, “Here are the styles of dance you can learn by being part of our school.”
We’ve been working with Nicole and her studio since 2008. We took over her website design because she was getting unresponsive service from her original ‘web guy’. The Dance Connection Inc. website has undergone fairly significant changes over the years. It started off as a static website with PDF’s and stand-alone HTML pages. The next iteration web developed in Drupal and had a fairly complex information architecture.
Re-platform to a better CMS.
This latest design re-platformed the it’s technical solution to WordPress because it is a simpler CMS we also proposed that we redesign the website along with a re-platform.
Students and Instructors front and center.
Nicole was clear, she wanted a large hero space to showcase her students and their activities. Secondary to that, her instructors also needed to be prominent. With that, we designed the homepage to have a large rotating slider that is gallery driven. Instructors get their own page, with write-ups and fancy professional photos.
Getting to launch.
When Paula approached us to build gustochocolates.ca she already had most of her ideas together. She knew her brand, she had her graphic assets, and she knew what the purpose of the website was. She needed a place to showcase her chocolate bark to the world. Initially, it was just going to be that. A place where people could see her chocolate and contact her.
It started as a very simple website implementation for us. We’ll design a website that aligns to her brand and existing graphical assets, and build it on WordPress so she can update and maintain the content herself.
The Gusto Chocolates website project was well underway when we fell victim to Gusto’s own success. Midway through the project the chocolate bark product ‘launched’ and unexpectedly the public started picking up.
The project’s scope quickly changed to include an e-commerce component. But how to do that while delivering (somewhat) on time and close to the original budget.
Together Paula and the team figured out a way to accommodate the need to sell products online. The solution was to integrate with FoodiePages and Shopify. The navigation of the website changed and shifted throughout the build (good thing Paula was working directly with us because shifting the launch date was a constant discussion). When we put together all of the content and finished our final testing.
The case for user feedback.
When we launched the site we started seeing some usage, we asked a few of our friends to be users and try it out. That was when the feedback came back and people were a bit confused with how our product page and shop pages were working. People were getting confused with the shop page bringing them out of the website (and into Shopify).
The decision was to simplify the website’s shop page (turn it into a simple page) and build better integration with the website’s product page into FoodiePages. Ultimately this meant that we had to drop Shopify as well because the new interaction doesn’t quite work with Shopify.
The website will just get better over time. We’ve started researching on a better experience of buying these products online and to keep costs down (because let’s face it, you can’t sell a product that you’re spending too much on). We’re excited to keep working with Paula and Gusto Chocolates for future enhancements to their online presence.