Website design and build
Medway based Kentish Minibuses reached out to me about redesigning their website. At the time the Client's only online presence was a Wordpress constructed website and it was restricting the business in a number of ways. For starters, it was using a very minimalist template with bland theming that did little to entrench a unique, or even suitable visual identity within the brand. The lack of administrative features in the theme - a common hiderance of the Wordpress framework - meant that the Client was unable to make any adjustments to the site's branding at all. Additionally the theme was non device-responsive, making it wholly unsuitable for viewing on smartphones in particular.
The brief the Client issued me sought to correct these problems by building a brand new website from scratch, whilst retaining the site's original content. Upon reviewing the Client's live website it became apparent that I could expand the brief in two additional ways which I proposed during an early meeting. I felt the homepage needed a complete overhaul in order to work more efficiently; the current homepage did not call attention to enough of the key areas across the site, such as the Special Offers page. It also lacked personality and tone which are critical components in enabling users to establish a relationship with a brand. The design I went on to create introduced much more colour and clearer calls to action, set against a revolving slideshow of relatable text and imagery. By depicting typical scenarios in which a user would require a minibus hire the experience of using the website became instantly more appealing and 'human'.
Secondly I identified that the user experience for booking a minibus fell way below what was expected of a modern website. Though forthcoming with the contact telephone number, the original site offered only an email link as the primary means to complete bookings online, which left a lot of leeway for error. I explained to the Client that it is more commonplace (and a greater SPAM deterrent) to present users with a properly validated form when communicating via a website, and so I designed one of the most comprehensive digital submission experiences of my career.
The form is arranged into three key sections, Pick Up, Drop Off and Your Details - these hold the minimum requisite fields the Client needs to appropriately arrange a customer booking, capturing collection times, baggage allowance and passenger count. In each instance that an address is requested I coded the form to present the user with three different submission options; popular location selection from a predefined drop-down list (major airports, train stations etc.), a standard collection of address-line fields for manual entry, or for those customers looking to travel to/from a location they were not too familiar with, a drag and drop interactive map. The latter is my personal favourite as both its visual interface and functional integration with a Google API demanded a lot of creative development on my part.
To complete the form validation code I wrote a cascading algorithm to determine which of the address submissions would yield the greatest and most accurate data and to discard the rest. I also wrote the intelligence to display additional fields should the user require a return journey, plus the option to specify if the return destination had changed for those scenarios where the original collection point was intermediary.