Wall St. Plaza is a fun-filled section of downtown Orlando dedicated to good times, live music and special events. Consisting of eight bars, Wall St, Plaza has something for everyone within walking distance.
They approached Authentic Web for a redesign of their current site and SEO with a design goal to make features of their initial site – event organization, photo galleries, drink and food specials – more available and easier for visitors to find. The latter site was busy, difficult to navigate and full of purposeless features. The scale of the new site provided new (and stressful) opportunities for looking at our current developmental processes and seeing how things could be improved.
We began by looking at the existing analytics data to determine who Wall St. Plaza’s primary visitors were and what they looked at the most. Generally, most visitors are young 18-32 who are familiar with the Wall St. Plaza but check the site to find nightly drink specials, upcoming events and photos from events they attended. However, with such tourist attractions as Disney and Universal nearby, Orlando receives a fair amount of tourists, and Wall St. Plaza wanted to provide information to them as well.
From there we developed a responsive layout (viewable on desktops, tablets, and mobile phones) with a focus on venues, weekly specials, and events. Additionally, we planned for an interactive map feature for those not familiar with Wall St. Plaza’s location or venues.
In development is where we met our first real challenges. Initially, features of the site – especially event organization – were not fleshed out fully. There was a lot of struggle with different methods internally, until we finally settled on one that allowed an easy method for adding and tracking events for the clients. It was a struggle that ate up a lot of production time, especially when initial goals were to quickly put a “necessary features first” version into production to gather additional analytics and reveal new features over time.
The project developed a serious case of scope creep, features kept getting added and new problems would arise from the new features. It felt like a never-ending process. Yet, this process helped to highlight where we as developers could make improvements on communication(both internally and with clients) and initial site planning.
Once primary functionalities, layout and styling were hammered out it was finally time to go live! In contrast to development, the conversion was relatively problem free and our developers met positive reception from site visitors and Wall St. Plaza.
But, the work doesn’t stop there. Once any site goes live, it’s important to show the client how to use it. Due to the site’s complexity it was necessary for to show the owners how to add events, photo galleries, and edit venue information. After a couple short phone sessions, they were creating new content with ease. Comments such as “Oh yea, this is easy.” and “That makes sense.” were uttered by the owners during the “training”. This, in part is one of the many reasons we utilize WordPress because aside from it’s powerful framework, it has a user-friendly administration panel that many customers are already familiar with.