Case study: BEaT website
An under-used and under-developed website in need of some TLC. Monologue was brought in following a rebrand, to breathe new life into beat.ie and make it a hub – a single source of information for businesses in Balbriggan and north Fingal. With an important milestone to mark (20 years old), the client was keen to make sure the website could represent both past and future – the journey taken as important as the destination. BEaT had come a long way since 2000 and now it needed to show that growth in a modern and functional website that could provide value for the foreseeable future.
THE CONTEXT AND CHALLENGE
Project background and description
BEaT officially opened in May 2000 and welcomed their first business that September. Since then, the centre has been home to over 165 client businesses and a support to many sole traders. Many of these companies are still in operation around the area of North Fingal, including Pacon Waste, Premium Power and IO Geometrics. In May 2020, BEaT celebrates their twentieth year in business. Monologue was hired to provide them with a website that acknowledged their success and growth of the past twenty years whilst reflecting the modern and innovative centre they now are. The original website had been built in 2014 on the WordPress CMS and had not really been maintained regularly – it was in pretty bad shape (see image).
The BEaT Centre had long been considered a cornerstone of the enterprising business environment of Fingal and north Dublin. Usually seen as an under-developed part of the greater Dublin area, Balbriggan has seen considerable growth (in both people and businesses) and investment in the area for the past few years have grown considerably. Capitalising on the growing interest in Balbriggan as a place of business, the BEaT Centre now offers excellent solutions for all business types, from the solo entrepreneur to the growing business. Co-working desks, private offices and light industrial units – the BEaT Centre has positioned itself as the perfect place for a business that’s growing and needs to have quick access to both Dublin and Belfast. However, their website was unable to take advantage of the increasing interest. It didn’t have any booking or e-commerce functionality, their existing brand and imagery was outdated and there was no analytics integrated for measuring.
Project goals and objectives
The new website would be built on WordPress, since the client was already familiar with the system. It would be designed with mobile / handheld in mind, ie. responsive pages but when deemed necessary, we would create bespoke elements/pages for smaller screens. The existing blog along with posts would be migrated over to the new site. The text, photos and graphics would be new, created specifically for the new site. We even went on-site to photograph the new co-working spaces. All imagery would be optimised in terms of size and SEO, to ensure fast loading. We would also write unique alt data for each image. The site would allow the user to book and pay for co-working desks directly through the site, contact the client with either a live chat or contact form and allow for social sharing of content.
Reviewing the scope of the project, it was clear the website needed to be completely overhauled. We began by compiling lists of suitable themes, plug-ins and applications to meet the clients requirements and enhance the site’s functionality. From discovery sessions we knew that the booking and e-commerce functionality were important to the client. Doing some research on it, we realised that the majority of similar sites did not offer the option of booking or paying for the desks online. This seemed strange to us, seeing as you can book (and pay for) most products and services online these days. And eventually, post Covid-19, it makes perfect sense to offer employees a remote working option, bookable and payable online, as and when you need a desk. The BEaT Centre’s co-working space obviously had to close down as part of Ireland’s response to Covid-19. However, they have reconfigured the desks and will be offering social distancing desks from 1st June.
When we tried to define the user of the site we realised that nearly anyone could be a user. The centre was open to businesses of all sizes and industries, local or from a distance, part time or full time tenancy – the variables were too broad to define a single user. We decided that the look and feel would reflect a young audience whilst not alienating anyone else. The use of the website needed to be very intuitive and easy to use, both on a desktop and handheld device. Prices would be displayed where applicable (larger industrial spaces are POA only) along with detailed descriptions of their services. Every effort was made to ensure the user experience was a reflection of the centre itself – modern facilities with friendly staff that were focused on helping your business grow.
In terms of the look and feel of the new website we were guided by the recently refreshed brand for colours, we chose modern and vibrant photography that reflected the centre, their audience and their community and commissioned Jillian Bolger – a professional copywriter to write the text for the website.
The new BEaT website was designed and built with ease of use in mind. We wanted a website that anyone could use regardless of skills or previous knowledge of the site. We designed a style guide for the website, using main and sub colours as well as fonts to help users navigate the site. For example, interactive element such as buttons or link uses the corporate orange to stand out. All text on the website is left-aligned to make reading easier (headings are centered as they are less text heavy). We also defined specific colours for various headings, accents and states (see image).
Great effort was put in to making the website work and look well across all devices. For interactive elements, where simply being responsive often isn’t enough, we created bespoke designs and layouts to ensure the mobile user got the same experience as a desktop user (see images).
Bespoke icons were designed to illustrate the various services, such as co-working desk, private office, meeting rooms etc. Two Google fonts were chosen for the website – Lato for paragraphs and Rubik for headings. Lato is an elegant yet modern font suitable for both web and print. Its soft corners gives it a warmth which compensates the otherwise strong and bold colours and photography used on the site. As for the headings Rubik is strong and bold but also features soft edges which helps to soften the look of the website.
We made it easy for a user to contact BEaT, regardless of what page they were on with contact links available in both header and footer, across every page of the website. In addition, there’s multiple contact forms and contact buttons throughout the website, making it both easy and convenient for users to contact BEaT.
The booking of co-working desks was achieved through a combination of 3rd party plugins and WooCommerce. The payments are done through Stripe. Booking a desk couldn’t be simpler – 1. Select a start and end date, 2. Fill in your details 3. Pay using your credit or debit card. The client has full control of how many desks are available each day, what days are bookable and discounts (if any) for booking multiple consecutive days. When a desk is booked the client receives a notification (either through SMS or email or both) with information about the booking (date, length of stay and name) and can choose to send the booking notification to a calendar of choice, automatically.
When it came time to launch the website we created graphics for the client to post on their social media channels (seen here). We also provided them with login details and bespoke training document on how to use the website. We will continue to support the client with their new website, ensuring it’s running as well as it should and providing the value we know it can.
The BEaT website can be found here.