SpeakerCraft had a massive website that was struggling under an outdated back-end and content management system. There were over 250 products and 1,200 product images each with manuals, print resources, brochures, and other associated files. To complicate things further, each image had up to four views of the product in three different sizes and two different file formats.
SpeakerCraft’s goals were for a consumer-friendly site, with subdued colors that transitioned between the various sections, and kept a focus on visual elements, namely, the product imagery. They also needed a site that could grow quickly and be able to handle the easy addition and removal of content related to products, press releases, and articles of interest. The website also needed to provide a well-organized resource center, including software, training presentations, print material and product displays for dealers and installers.
Our goals were to support not only the aesthetics of the site, but to truly focus on a well-thought out information architecture and back-end content management system so that SpeakerCraft’s in-house team could efficiently access and change content and quickly, and upload new files without impeding their overall workflow. We wanted the site to handle as many of the company’s old assets as possible, without the system breaking from inconsistent naming conventions or folder structures created in the new site.
To meet these various needs, the product pages were built on VirtueMart, but were heavily modified to bring in extra content and functionality. To maintain a clear mental model for the user, we integrated tabs into the product pages to organize the myriad product views and supporting documentation, and also incorporated breadcrumb navigation. Given the vast quantity of images, we also sought to automate the process on the backend to allow for integration of the old and new content. For this, we wrote a server-side script to find and organize images for each product page based on the product’s ID set in VirtueMart to ensure the system accurately found and displayed the images according to the correct information. In order to support content creation by both SpeakerCraft’s in-house staff and national and international dealers, we created a modification in DOCman to use custom groups within the Joomla! core user management system.