The Highland Soap Co. has been a client of ours for 10 years and we’re proud to have been part of this wonderful company’s story for as long as we have. Their ecommerce website www.highlandsoaps.com has flourished since it’s inception in 2003, and now that we’ve just launched version 3.0, we thought we’d take a look back at how the site has evolved over the years…
This was first ever Highland Soap Co. ecommerce website designed in 2003 and powered by our very own ecommerce software Ch-Ching 1.0. We were given free rein on the design, although it was always the idea to develop a light, relaxed, and welcoming feel with a varied colour palette dictated by the colourful natural ingredients in the soaps. At just 775 pixels wide, the design featured a left side-bar of shop categories and allowed the main nav-bar prioritise links for exploring the not-yet-established brand. Version 1.0 did well to help get sales moving and establish The Highland Soap Co. firmly online.
By the time 2010 had arrived, everyone involved was itching to give the site a new lease of life and make some crucial changes to improve the design, usability, structure and SEO. Technology, standards and trends had changed a lot in 6 years and it was time to crank it up a notch. Staying with the Ch-Ching 1.0 platform, we focused on enlarging the canvas, improving text and imagery, the overall layout and presentation, and made way for product promotion. The greatest improvement, however, was to the navigation system and site structure. We re-categorised products, moved and renamed categories, and moved categories to the main nav-bar.
Both parties cherished Version 2.0 so much so that when we agreed to redevelop the site responsively on the Magento ecommerce platform, we all wanted to keep as much of the 2010 site’s look and feel as possible. The rise in tablet and smart phone users made building a responsive site compulsory – that is, it needed to respond to the device it was being viewed on (be it iPhone, iPad, laptop etc.) and optimise its layout for purchasing on that device.
We also took the opportunity to (once again) review and optimise the structure and navigation, particularly as the new Magento system allowed us more flexibility with filtering and cross-categorisation of products – none of which were possible with the now retired Ch-Ching 1.0 system. This involved making the core ingredient-based ranges more prominent by allowing users to “shop by range” and by customising the colour scheme and setting depending on the range being viewed.
Overall the redevelopment of the beloved highlandsoaps.com website has been a successful exercise in evolving a design rather than simply starting from scratch. And, it offers the necessary opportunity to review systems and code to ensure an ecommerce website is consistently able to thrive as technologies, standards, and search engines change.
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