The internet is a great leveller
In our opinion, the above statement, never has a truer word been written: Your website is your shop window, so its up to you to choose whether you want to be considered alongside Poundland or John Lewis…
The reality is that your “digital strategy’ should really be renamed as your “sales strategy” as the days of digital playing second fiddle to your off-line activities is long gone.
When dpc start a web project, we ensure we understand the role your site will play in the sales pipeline, and how the various online and offline channels will integrate with it. We spend time understanding your audience, your competitors, your unique points of difference, and what will keep you at the forefront of your sector.
And then we craft the most usable and beautiful site for your customers.
“Don’t make me think”
User experience, or UX as it is now commonly known, has a “jargon-filled” (and not so straightforward) entry in Wikipedia:
“The process of enhancing user satisfaction with a website or product by improving the usability, accessibility, and pleasure provided in the interaction with the product. User experience design encompasses traditional human–computer interaction design, and extends it by addressing all aspects of a product or service as perceived by user”.
We prefer the straightforward mantra of creating experiences that feel simple to the user (Simple is not always easy) and also feel like it has been crafted specifically for them. “Don’t make me think” was a book written in 2000 by Steve Krug, and is as true today as it was back then.
UX is the art of making interactive elements obvious, clear, and intuitive (whilst still gorgeous too).
The dpc process revolves around the key phase of prototyping so we can test, change, and test again until we know we have the right solution for your customers.
Example of a wireframe
Is it the end of the high street?
The last few years have been tough on old-school high street retailers, many of whom have faced big losses or have been forced into administration. The number of people visiting UK shops fell by 6% in March to its lowest recorded level since 2010 and the high street was the area which was hardest hit, with visitor numbers falling by 8.6%.
The evidence for a decline in offline shopping getting stronger every day with high street names like Toys R Us, Maplin, and Bench all having gone bust in the past year, and New Look, House of Fraser, and Debenhams are also among the many retailers looking at a gloomy outlook.
But with every cloud… Online has been BOOMING.
Online giants like Amazon and Ebay have become household names for every consumer, and there is no excuse for any wholesaler or retailer not to have an effective eCommerce site of their own.
The eCommerce team at dpc have technical solutions that fit all requirements and technical capabilities (and budgets). From entry level stores to multi lingual, multi store marketplaces, and options to utilise hosted solutions as well as self-hosted sites. We love systems like NopCommerce and Magento, however we are also big fans of entry level systems like Shopify.
The same process we use for all our builds becomes even more critical with a store: research, great UX, optimisation, marketing (drive traffic) and repeat until targets have been met.
*As an agency we have set up our own eCommerce business so our team really knows what works, and equally, what doesn’t work…
Building on a quality framework
Google loves fresh, up to date content, and your site will keep heading up the rankings if you keep it updated.
And there is no excuse not to use a “quality CMS” as there are a plethora of awesome systems on the market, some are open-source, some have an annual licence model.
We ensure that all of the platforms that we choose come with as much flexibility as you need, so that the task of keeping your site up to date is a breeze. And zero technical ability is required.
The dpc development team are proud to recommend the following technical platforms:
– Umbraco is our CMS of choice.
– WordPress is our entry-level CMS.
– NopCommerce is our enterprise-level eCommerce platform.
– Shopify is our entry level eCommerce platform.
– Other platforms that we use regularly are: Magento, October CMS (laravel), Ionic.
Example of CMS system Umbraco
Getting you noticed, organically
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is so much more than getting you to the top of organic Google search results. That’s the goal, but those pesky algorithms that everyone talks about need a lot of tending to so you can achieve this.
Google wants to deliver the best, most relevant, and honest sites for whatever their users are looking for. Being as absolutely clear about what you are offering as well as having a technically sound site let’s Google know you’re legit.
There are two types of SEO activities, the first is ‘on-site’ which makes sure everything from content to technical build is ticking all the boxes for Google. The second is ‘off-site’ activities which take place outside your site to affect your rankings, essentially telling Google what other sites think of yours and the content on it.
SEO needs monthly, ongoing management to build your profile and to make sure you’re doing everything that Google thinks you should be doing! It’s more of a slow burner, but undeniably worth the effort required.
It’s important to have a process that can adapt accordingly
All digital agencies worth their salt should be able to articulate a process similar to ours, it is the basis for all good web projects. However we think that the way we tackle a couple of the stages are really rather special and is what sets dpc apart from our peers: This is a well-proven process.
The prototyping stage and creating a simplified style tile are (we think) the areas that set us apart from our peers. Detailed prototyping with a detailed style tile makes the final design a much simpler task.
Discovery, planning, prototype, design, build, deploy, test
As with any project (e.g. building a house), the planning and early stages are the most important. We should not even be considering design or technical development until we have completed our discovery and definition phase of the project. It is like the architect’s plans for a house. Get the plans right at the start and the rest of the build flows smoothly and to budget. Included at this stage are requirement gathering, user personas and the first draft of the site map.
Then we start laying out the user journeys and test our ideas with interactive prototypes. This is where we think the dpc process excels. We use Axure software to create an interactive prototype for all key pages and functionality so we, and you, can test our ideas and concepts. This forms the basis for the specification for the website.
Included at this stage are user journeys and information architecture/prototyping (prototype and final design illustrated on this page)
Then the second key phase, the style tile… dpc will produce a style tile depicting all colours, fonts, textures, typography, buttons and styles that will be used when designing your site. Using the IA as a blueprint and the style tile as a design guide, it then becomes a much easier task to design every element within the site. We then test designs and functionality.
Testing and deployment
We carry out rigorous QAT and when we are happy, hand over to you to test yourself. We populate your site via the CMS, and ensure your site is fully integrated into Google’s available suite of tools, ensuring all ‘on–site’ SEO elements have been set–up correctly. When we are all happy we launch your new website to the world, managing all 301 redirects from your old website so you do not loose any rankings on Google’s natural search
Optimisation and online marketing
Then we get to the really interesting part: Optimising the site for your conversions and ensuring we drive the right traffic to your site. Blending SEO, PPC, social media, and content together to create a really successful digital campaign.
Ensuring Canada Life remain one of the UK’S leading providers of pensions and savings plans, with a new site and financial planning tools.