We designed and delivered the first website for Alison of Pilates Leeds in December 2013 and in December 2017 we delivered a totally redesigned site. The reason for the new project was two-fold. Firstly, there is now more competition in Leeds for Pilates classes so there was a need to modernise and refresh the site to ensure it matched or exceeded the websites of others. Secondly, Pilates Leeds has grown and developed greatly in the three years since the original site went live. There are now 4 Pilates instructors apart from the owner, many more class types and several new venues. The site needed a different structure to allow visitors to easily find the information they needed.
We started by focusing on site visitors and considering the types of people who would use the site, what they needed to know and how we could provide that information in the most straightforward way. We defined 6 different groups of people and then created a ‘persona’ for each one. We also looked at competitor sites which is also part of our process when starting a project of this type.
The personas helped in determining the navigation and in content creation, ensuring we took full account of how the site would be used and in the provision of the content that the different audience groups would require.
The client did not want to change the branding in any significant way so we retained the logo and the orange colour from the previous site.
The previous website used WordPress as the CMS (Content Management System) so it was a natural choice to continue with this. The client was familiar with using WordPress and we were able to migrate all the existing blog posts to the new site very easily. The WordPress theme (i.e. the implementation of the design) was created from scratch rather than using a pre-built theme. As such, the client has a fully tailored design specific to her business but which can be adapted in future to accommodate change.
An experienced photographer took many of the photos on the site so we could show real people doing Pilates rather than using stock photos which tend to give a false impression of the type of people who attend classes.
On particular challenge we faced in this project was the secure transmission of confidential health data. Every new attendee is required to fill in a health questionnaire to assess their capability to exercise. Rather than having people fill these in on paper at the start of a class, Alison was keen for there to be an online solution to this to save time in class. The questionnaires have a series of standard questions and a specific layout. After some research, we opted for capturing the data in a form on the website which, when submitted, places the data into a pre-formatted PDF template which is password protected and then emailed to Alison. The data is not stored on the server. As the site has a security certificate installed we were confident that the data could not be read if intercepted between the user’s device and the server as it is encrypted, but the risk was in the email transmission which is generally not secure. The password of the PDF provides a reasonable level of security and we will change this password regularly.
Once Alison was happy that the test site met all her requirements, we went through the rigorous testing phase we employ on all projects, checking page load speeds, appearance and functionality across a wide range of browsers, operating systems and devices. We always include older versions of these in our tests so we can be sure that the site looks good and works well on the vast majority of devices that are currently in use.
Pilates Leeds now have a new website that properly represents the business as it is now. It is easy to use, fully mobile responsive and secure. The implementation of the online questionnaire saves on admin in classes and helps ensure that the necessary data is reliably collected.
All the pages from the previous site are automatically redirected to appropriate pages on the new site so visitors and search engines are not left with ‘page not found’ errors and it also serves to make sure that all social media posts that reference pages from the site, still function.
We look forward to seeing how Pilates Leeds continues to develop over the next few years.