Size: e-commerce site with over 4,000 products
My professional status: independent web designer/developer
Website client: Vision Wallcoverings
Dates: December 2016 onwards
Brief: Having become the webmaster for New Zealand wallpaper company Aspiring Walls nine months earlier, in December 2016 I was invited to look after the website of their sister company in Australia, on which the Aspiring Walls website is based. Vision Wallcoverings has been supplying wallpaper products to the Australian market for over 40 years. They have one of Australia’s largest ranges of wallpapers and murals designed for both domestic and commercial settings, sourced from producers worldwide and supplying an extensive network of retail stockists nationally.
The Australian dev company that originally built both sites would remain responsible for any dev work that needed doing, while I would take over as webmaster, responsible for the day-to-day care of the website including all of the e-commerce product updates. Being responsible for updates across both sites meant that I could re-use elements such as product images, saving both companies time and money.
- Figuring out how the CMS works and how the website is set up in order to provide the best possible service in terms of updating ranges
- Continually working to improve efficiency of product range preparation and uploads in order to reduce costs
- Initiating a review of the tagging process currently used, and looking to improve this in order to make the website more usable for customers as well as improving the website search speed.
My responsibilities included:
- Client liaison and project management
- Uploading 2-3 new wallpaper ranges to the website each month, having resized and optimised swatch and roomset images and updated the Excel database file each time
- Removing old ranges from the website as required
- Incorporating sales advertising into homepage banners when required
- Figuring out how various elements work eg new wallpapers on the homepage and updating these as required
- Bug-fixing website functionality such as search and image uploading
- Improving the slow search functionality by firstly identifying the cause (huge list of tags in the database) and then fixing it (overhaul of tags list, removing multiple tags from individual products and setting up a new, much smaller set of tags), and developing rules and guidelines for future tagging
- Extensive browser and device testing of my updates on the live site, to ensure that everything looks good and is behaving properly from a responsive perspective
- Ongoing support and help with the site, as and when required.
This is a large responsive e-commerce WordPress website built using a theme by WooCommerce. It has an extensive database of products that is constantly being updated. It's been quite straightforward figuring out how the site works, as I was already familiar with sister site Aspiring Walls, and both sites share the same theme and many of the same plugins.
I'm continuing my work on tagging and search functionality with Aspiring Walls and will use the same system on the Vision Wallcoverings site once it's complete. I'll be setting rules and guidelines based on a combination of user testing, best practice and common sense.
The site uses WooCommerce product management to organise and order the large number of wallpaper ranges and patterns into a usable website display, and, unlike Aspiring Walls, these products are also sold online via the website. As a result, the websites can share product swatches and roomset images, while using different Excel files to add products to the database. As I get to know both sites better, I'm able to work on reducing the time taken to load each new range onto each website, so reducing the costs for both companies.