James and Ann Frost first approached Q Studio about producing a website for them 5 years ago, when their wine business was still in it’s infancy – we produced a visually attractive, but limited brochure site to match their limited web budget.
They are a German / English couple living in Portugal – Ann was raised in Germany with distant links to royalty – James has deep roots to English farming society – they have 7 sons.
Both the tourism returns and the wine business have grown substantially over the previous 5 years – their businesses now had new needs and the internet was, as ever, a different place.
- To present the traditional, high quality values of the estate, but also the welcoming and human values of the owners.
- To expand their markets by showcasing their venues and produce in a way that enshrines their core values and a sense of quality.
- To bring them into the mobile, social age.
Our knowledge of Quinta de Sant’Ana as a business, the personal aims of it’s owners and the technical resources available gave us a good insight into the project requirements.
As self-made business owners, they have a tendency to undertake all tasks themselves, yet they are knowingly technically-inhibited – the internet is a thing of wonder and mystery to them.
We asked them a few questions, including:
- Did they wish to build a website for themselves, or for others? ( this convinced them to objectify their vision ).
- Did they have the technical resources available to produce and maintain a complex website? ( this persuaded them to reduce their content to a more manageable scale and to consider automated content feeds from social networks ).
- Did they know who their website users are? ( this allowed us to introduce analytical data into the planning process ).
- Did the 3% of German speaking visitor numbers justify producing the content in 3 languages? ( this resulted in the website only being produced in English and Portuguese and significantly speeding up the production and proofing of new website content ).
By managing the client’s expectations and drawing their attention to the realities of managing a complex website, they were able to come to their own conclusions about what would be sustainable.
They also saw the value of their important messages reaching a targeted audience – and not being drowned in a sea of superfluous content.
The goals defined in the consultancy phase make the design brief much easier to write – the clients happily reappraised their aims based on usability and the importance of legible, well written content – but of course they still wanted a visually stunning site.
Our design team set about creating 3 different design concepts for 2 templates – for both desktop and handheld devices – we presented the designs at regular intervals to the client using the excellent invisionapp, which allowed us to collect and track comments and feedback.
After a few design revisions, we arrived at a single agreed visual concept which was to be shared between both sites – Our lead designer then complete all the additional templates, each of which was individually presented to the client, and designs were carefully iterated based on feedback.
Social media is both injected automatically from selected sources and re-feed via carefully placed call to action buttons.
Mobile and handheld devices are all covered perfectly via a “Dual Theme” development approach, desktop users are served a visually richer, full screen experience.
Navigation presentation and content is reduced, freeing up valuable visual space – dead-end section pages are removed, avoiding the need for low value content and stepping pages.
Visually, we selected a classic mix of serif and sans-serif fonts, lots of white and dabs of a rich colour palette with strong photography and clean, structured layouts – producing a classic, yet minimal hybrid.
Once we had completed 4 hours of training on the usage of the site and set-up users with carefully selected responsibilities, the client was able to take over 100% of the daily content maintenance – from creating new properties, uploading images or adding links to social media sites to enhance their outreach.
The complete support package covered everything:
- Updates to WordPress core and plugin are staged, validated and deployed to the live site when 100% validated.
- Updates, fixes and alterations to front-end templates.
- Additional training on website functionality and content management.
- Hassle-free email and web-based support – from initial report to happy conclusion.