My role at Standard Ceramic was to modernize their current web presence, update website security and improve the workflow for staff to update their multiple sites and online stores around the country.
Standard Ceramic is a Pennsylvania based company with a long history of distributing clays and related supplies to professional ceramic markets in the Central and Eastern United States, Europe and Central America.
Updating Standard Ceramic’s websites presented some typical UX/UI challenges. How can we make the site easier to for people to use on mobile browsers? How do we update the site’s aesthetics without alienating users that frequented the previous domain? Also, how can we make it foolproof for staff to update the site without advanced knowledge of site structure, HTML, and CSS? Finally, is it possible for the staff to update multiple websites at once without adding the same content to the backend of various domains, safely and securely?
Process & Solution
After introducing the staff to multiple backend user interfaces, we decided that WordPress was the ideal backend solution as it closely mimicked their current business application stack. I asked staff about what they envisioned for the new site’s aesthetics and designed three iterations of the site based on their feedback. After a final voting process, it was my job to develop a custom WordPress theme that brought the fully responsive design to life. Also, I added new functionality to the WordPress packed that allowed staff to create and edit posts on one site and have it displayed on all selected domains. I achieved this feature by changing the “add post” function of WordPress to assess where the post should go and create a secure link to the other sites via the same login details of the poster.
After a short training session with staff, it was clear that the new site hit the mark on what they were aiming to achieve. In the previous build, necessary updates could take days or weeks to be posted to the site as it required bringing in external help from an HTML programmer. With the new site live, the staff was able to update the site as needed without previous programming experience easily. Side domains saw a benefit as they were now ready to be regularly updated with the new cross-site posting feature, decreasing the time it had taken to update all sites. Additionally, the site analytics revealed a reduced bounce-rate for mobile users.