Case study: Biofolic

Or: How to Build an Online Community on a Commercial (WordPress) Website with a Tight Deadline

Biofolic was an intriguing project. A long-time client asked us if we could create a separate website with a webshop and, more importantly, an online community. Not something like Facebook, but an option to schedule doctor appointments, maintain a timeline of user actions, incorporate basic chat functions, etc. After further inquiries from our side, we agreed to take on the project with one condition: to spend as much time as needed testing if WordPress could be used for such a website.

Now, we know what you're thinking, "WordPress is not meant for these kinds of websites in any case," but bear with us. If Shogun and many other big players can do it, why can't we? Besides, we've been without a significant challenge for some time.

So, we dove into research and testing. The client insisted on WordPress, so we had to tweak many things on the user side to not look like WordPress, yet remain fast and simple. Another challenge was assessing how the website would handle a large user base. Would it break, become slow, or unstable? Additionally, we needed to connect it with external services via microservices, introducing AWS into the story. A lot was going on.

But it also took a considerable amount of time.

Everyone was eager to see the final product, something that could be viewed online. However, it couldn't happen until uncertainties were resolved. Consequently, we started some processes simultaneously. Every day, hours devoted to the Biofolic project grew longer. We commenced with theme design, concurrent with microservice development and the user panel. The deadline loomed, so we pushed ourselves as hard as possible. When in doubt, we referred to the extensive documentation built during the testing phase. It seemed like we might not finish on time—our client thought so too.

Yet, we managed to do it. How? To be honest, by accepting that we couldn't test every little thing that could happen in production. We had to have a little faith in our product. So, after the QA phase and with fingers crossed, we released our project into the digital ocean, ready to address any bugs that might come our way. Surprisingly, WordPress proved to be a platform that could handle this kind of website after all.

And were there errors? Of course! Nobody is perfect. But what's important is being ready to act when they arise.

Case study: Balkan Hidraulik

Or: How Much Involvement in the Client's Industry is Enough (or Too Much)?

Alright, so here's the deal – when you're crafting a website for someone, knowing a bit about their industry is like the secret sauce. It's not just for making things look pretty (that's UX/UI for you), but also for talking the talk and giving killer advice when your client needs it. Now, the burning question: how deep should you go into the client's world when you're building their website?

Let's be clear – we're talking web design here, not the nitty-gritty development stuff, which is a whole different ball game.

Picture this: We once had a client dealing with heavy construction machine parts. Easy, right? Wrong. When it came to figuring out what goes where on their homepage, we were drawing blanks. So, we went on a deep-dive mission. Checked out CAT, Volvo, SANY, XCMG – we practically stalked their websites looking for a magic formula. Spoiler alert: there wasn't one.

Now, faced with a tough choice: do we become industry masters or roll the dice with something unique? We went for a mix. Some parts of the design had rough edges, giving off a vibe like, "We're tough and strong."

How much did we really know about heavy-duty machine parts? Enough to not get lost in the weeds and sacrifice time we could spend on other cool projects, but also enough to tell our hydraulic springs from our lifters. There's something oddly satisfying about learning the ropes of something you knew zilch about. It gave us that cool, calm feeling when we wrapped up the project.

And guess what? The client noticed.

We didn't brag about our crash course in heavy machinery lingo, but the client's first reaction to the homepage draft was, "Have you worked in the industry?" Boom! That right there told us we nailed it. Another successful mission under our belt, and now it's time for a well-deserved beer. Cheers to rocking the web design world!

Case study: Neurokard

Or: Sometimes, simplicity is the key.

Every business should have a website, and that's a fact. Additionally, considering there is a website for every 8th person in the world, it's hard to be innovative.

But do we always have to be innovative? Perhaps, sometimes we just need to present the right information, list our services, and include several pictures and a contact section. At the end of the day, no one will care about fancy animations if we don't convey our business with the right information.

So, should we make websites without CSS?

Absolutely not. The point is that it's entirely fine to have a website that's simple, clear, and done on a tight schedule. Neurokard was one of these websites. The client called us and wanted to have a website done ASAP, which we are very accustomed to. We began to explain to him how it is important to respect the website creation procedure.

However, he told us to stop. He doesn't want any of that. He just wants to have a clean-looking ID-type website that gives him a basic presence on the internet. And he needs it fast. So, we skipped a few steps in the design process and listened to his inputs, which gave us the result done in just three days. He was happy, we were happy. What's there not to be happy about when everyone got what they wanted?

In the end, that was the reason we left Neurokard on our portfolio. To show that it's okay to have a simple website and that we're proud of every single project, no matter how small it is.

Case study - Novi Dorćol

Or: Maintaining websites doesn't have to be boring

Novi Dorćol is a fancy new block in the center of our beautiful Belgrade, and they wanted us to maintain their website. Of course we accepted! After the initial talks and agreements on what should we do and how often, we started with the work and discovered one thing: it's pretty straight-forward. Do we like straight-forward? Sometimes - yes. In this case - not so much. Why? Because we knew there is potential for something more.

What can be exciting in maintaining websites, for god's sake?

Everything! For example, you have to add new blog post with several images and few CTA. Why don't you make a responsive slider out of images, with headlines over them? Or, CTAs can be so much more than a link. They can be blinking piece of text which can't be missed. Now, tell me that's not exciting!

Maps can be fun too. Instead of having all the stores and commercial spaces listed in one boring, black and white list with the names we decided to make a map with their logos. Now, people will have no hard time navigating long hallways looking for the store 27B.

But, be careful.

It is important to know your boundaries. So we didn't went too far and changed the UX of the website because we're bored with some simple maintenance. No, we kept it interesting but still did a lot of backups and other manual tasks that had to be done. At the end, someone else did the website and it would be not fair to mess that work. We are here to help and make it perfectly safe, with a few helpful tweaks, and that's it.

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