Livingroofs, the prestigious independent UK green roof organisation are one of my original website design clients. I’ve been working with Dusty from even before Livingroofs was set up and he’s always fun to be around. My history in website building begins [ well, almost… ] with an advocacy site for the Black Redstart, the small bird that inspires Dusty and has led to his involvement with green roofs. From those humble HTML origins we have advanced through Joomla to the latest WordPress incarnation.
Why a New Livingroofs Website?
The previous website was sagging under the weight of outdated articles and information pages so needed a good clear out. As the Joomla CMS system it used was also reaching the end of its useful life it made sense to build a completely new website. With Dusty also wanting to change the logo and branding, we could start with a truly clean sheet. The new logo was quickly sorted as instructions for the design were very specific. That thus provides the colour palette for the new site.
Pre-Planning and the Front Page Layout
One of the issues with the old site was the front page, it was too crowded. As the subject of green roofs was not well known in the UK, a lot of introductory text was needed. As the subject is now more widely known we can do away with a lot of this. Text heavy front pages are now best avoided and a lighter blend works better for visitor engagement. We have gone with a news magazine style front page instead. Also, an ‘always on’ menu system can be useful, but best on small sites and Livingroofs isn’t. Classic drop downs are now in place, which also helps when it comes to keeping a common theme for the responsive mobile version of the site.
Templates and the Inner Sections
Having a clear idea of how the site will develop over time is always a godsend when it’s possible. Being able to create, from the outset, templates for sections that will added later makes it easier overall. In this instance, technical case studies, surveys and company profiles are likely to be part of the mix down the line. Hence, I’ve already taken them into account when putting together the overall template design.
Finally, the Usual Paraphernalia
For SEO purposes, setting up Social Media accounts and tying them into the site is a must do now. Livingroofs already had presence so extending it to other platforms was quick and easy. Installing the usual backup and security plugins is another necessity, I normally configure the backups while still developing the site in order to save copies throughout the build process. Full security switch on I leave until just before site launch as it can interfere with the basics the site set up.