About the client
Harrier Garden Developments is the main hub for four smaller businesses run by a small team in Suffolk. Harrier specialise in greenhouse heating, garden construction, greenhouse fitting and outdoor hydrants and taps. Harrier are well established, with over 15 years in the trade.
The project brief
In our initial meeting we discussed site architecture and it was decided that the three separate domains woud be kept, but harrier-gd.co.uk would act as the main landing page for all businesses. The plan was to develop one WordPress theme and have this installed on each domain, with each of the four areas of trade being colour-coded.
As this website build would be a substantial upgrade, Harrier decided it would be best to future proof the build where possible, so they opted for a responsive build to ensure better compatibility on tablets and smartphones than the current websites had.
The navigation for the website would be split into three areas, two side-wide navigations which always linked to the four areas of trade, and one dynamic menu in the sidebar which linked to all “child” pages in the chosen area. Harrier wanted the sidebar background, headings and other design elements to change colour depending on what area of the website was being browsed.
The design was to be simple, verging on sparse. For several reasons, including the demographic, I was asked to make the website as plain and simple to use as possible.
How I met the brief
As Harrier wanted to use 3 different domains for what is effectively a single website, I designed the header so it would remain the same on all domains, no matter what the user would be viewing. To avoid bombarding the user with drop down menus, I decided it would be best to show the user a menu which changes in each of the four areas. I wrote a widget for the sidebar which automatically creates links to all “child” pages in any given area of the website. It’s intuitive for both admin and user.
Most service pages are a mix of text and images with annotation, so a “pop out” was installed to allow users to view the images in higher resolution. It’s all basic code, but it works well because it’s tried and tested!
Whilst in development there were a few interesting snags, such as showing a category on the home page (not default behavior in WordPress) and dynamically adding the colour to each area of the website. These tasks were solved with numerous action and filter hooks in WordPress. I generally code to make everything as autonomous as possible, leaving the site admin’ to concentrate on the content.
- A simple, timeless build.
- Clear layout, easy to read and easy to navigate.
- An easy to use blog which automatically posts to three domains using an RSS feed.