Kenny Gordon is a Dunwoody homeowner and business owner who has a long history in the jewelry industry. His specialty is in everything you can't find at a mall or department store. So when he gave me a call one day to discuss upgrading his 2009 website I was thrilled for this unique opportunity.
I get a lot of these requests lately: upgrade the look and feel, upgrade the animation technology, make it mobile-friendly. Below is the original site that I worked with. It was built in 2009 and at the time, it was the state of the art. The site included Flash animation and an introductory "splash" page and background music.
But redesigning this site was not just a paint-job. There were some unique challenges.
First, the site was created in a developer's tool called CodeIgniter. CI is a powerful framework that allows a professional gear head to create highly customized websites with unique features. The original developer was no longer available, the umbrella company that built and maintained the site had been sold at least once since 2009. And like any custom code, one developer's "simple" is another developer's Rube Goldberg Machine.
Most of all, the back-end maintenance of the website's product galleries had to remain intact. Normally, when a site is being recreated as mobile-friendly for smartphones and tablets, it's often easier to just rebuild the site from scratch. That wasn't an option. Kenny and his staff were very happy with the hidden admin panel and the layout of the product catalogs. If a visitor wants to inquire about a specific piece in the galleries, or add it to their personalized "wish list", the contact form automatically populates with the relevant information. I have to admit they are a slick piece of work and blazing fast on your browser, even six years later. I agreed, it was worth it to invest some time in learning about the source code and working around it.
First, I created a design for Kenny that was a more current reflection of his upscale merchandise and impeccable customer service.
The new design had to incorporate all of his current product photography as seamlessly as the old one.
The navigation bar reflected the original site map and content and work with the dynamic catalogs. The animation loads quickly and gives a modern feel.
Social media plays a larger role. Visit the footer for a link to Instagram alongside the previously existing Facebook and Twitter. Each piece of merchandise has a series of "share" buttons. Makes it easier to drop a hint when your birthday is coming up. You can join Kenny's email newsletter (hosted by Constant Contact) in the footer too.
Content styling has evolved a lot in six years. Spring cleaning took out bloated and redundant code that was replaced with a streamlined styling that loads faster and allows for more styles that don't rely on dozens of tiny little images. That makes a big difference when it comes to both SEO and smartphone ease of use.
Speaking of search engine optimization: there wasn't any. A fresh look gets a fresh start with modern SEO standards; the responsive mobile-friendly layout will boost its search engine rankings too.
Christmas / Hanukkah / 3 Kings Day and their shopping seasons are approaching fast. The valuable and unique element of Kenny's service is that it is entirely private. Review the offerings on the website, then make an appointment at a place and time convenient for you to examine them in person. (Helpful if you're planning a surprise gift....) Most of all, you don't have to go far. This luxury service is a local Dunwoody-based business. It's not just a shopping service, you're working with a neighbor. If you intend to Shop Local this holiday season, there's no better place to start. Don't wait for Small Business Saturday: this Distinctly Dunwoody opportunity is available all year round.