This was a HUGE project. The website redesign was a 1 1/2 year long project with a VERY small team. The team consisted of: me (Media Manager/Project Manager), 1 project manager for off-site, 1 off-site developer, and an editor (Biology degree). I had to teach the editor not just web design but how to post content for marketing. The team was impossibly small and the new director didn’t realize how extensive a “new website” would be. I worked long 10 hour days, maintaining the current site while this was in development. I created, photoshopped, adjusted, and re-sized all images and UI/UX icons on the 600+ page website. The size of your team will determine how long a project takes to implement.
Why did they decide to upgrade and redesign the site? Overtime, the client became unhappy that upgrades weren’t occurring and the site wasn’t responsive. However, they were only paying $50 a month for maintenance. Sites are expensive to not only maintain, but also upgrade. Maintaining the new site costs much more. Make sure you have the budget for upgrades. The lack of being responsive was also an issue. With google’s “mobile friendly” rollout, it was important to make the site responsive.
The main goal was to add and restructure content. The previous site had 1 way to find products, by “product name.” The new site allows customers to find products not just through product name, but also through properties, techniques and applications. Adding and restructuring content and image navigation is a good way to redesign a site. A good example is the homepage. Wyatt’s homepage slideshow consisted of old marketing campaigns. I checked the analytics. No one was clicking after the 3rd slide. I looked at what was selling and expanding on the site. Webinars were growing and user meeting attendance was decreasing. I redesigned the slideshow images to promote company events. I checked the analytics. I was really surprised. Now, all 7 slides were being clicked on! I met with each department, firmware, support, and sales to get content restructured.
Regarding images, I had the company hire a photographer to shoot ALL new product shots, which I adjusted. We also took new photos of the company team for the new site. Showing off your team is important. Especially on a site that wants to focus on high quality products. Restructuring content isn’t just text, it’s images and factoring in analytics. Restructuring images on the homepage is equally important.
Joomla 1.5 to 3+ Migration
Make sure you are using the right Content Management System (CMS) for your site. The old website was in Joomla 1.5 so this was a Joomla upgrade to 3.3.+. We used YOOtheme, a responsive template with very little support, CSS/LESS, bootstrap, UIkit, Node, gollum, PHP, MyQL, JS, and font awesome for icons. Make sure the theme you use has good support or that you have a good developer. We used gitlab for version control. The company wanted to add additional languages for overseas departments to be able to maintain. Joomla handles languages very well. If your company has overseas departments, make sure you include their feedback and budget in the upgrade.
Regarding the existing databases, to migrate the database, I had to custom map a MySQL database, integrated with Microsoft CRM Dynamics, and Joomla. The integration was successful! We also added e-commerce, a MijoShop (Zen Cart) shopping cart that is a quote cart in the support center, mainly for parts and supplies. The shopping cart challenge was, like buying a Porsche, you can’t buy a $50,000 instrument without making sure the product is right for the customer, which means discussing specifications. Getting potential customers to support was the focus so I made sure we had “quote cart” buttons throughout the site.
Was the migration successful? Yes, but many parts of the website had custom PHP code, like the bibliography. This was overlooked in the redesign quote. For example, the bibliography was using custom PHP so we setup a chron job to pull posted articles. Web companies and developers don’t realize when they “quote” a new project, that you need to MAKE SURE you can migrate the underlying functionality. For example, any plugins and widgets you have in wordpress, need to be able to upgrade and migrate into the new site or CMS. It’s worth paying the developer more to make sure you have good support for apps and plugins for customization.