Driving the digital hotel experience

This week, we launched a new digital initiative for our client, Beaufort Park Hotel and Conference Centre, starting with the launch of a new website.

The Beaufort Park Hotel has long been delivering superior guest experiences, as recognised recently when it was named Best Place to Stay at the Flintshire Food and Tourism Awards, but until now the online experience didn’t deliver the same standard of service.

The old website wasn’t mobile-friendly and, after a few years service, the design was beginning to look dated and uninspiring. Cumulative content bloat was also blunting the structure and flow, making it increasingly difficult for users to find what they were looking for.

We worked closely with the team at Beaufort Park, along with a customer focus group, to plan, design and develop a new website that is built with logical information architecture and drives satisfying user journeys.

The new, responsive website is the first in a series of customer-facing outputs that will use various channels and technologies to help to create the best possible online experience for guests before, during and after their stay at the hotel.

beaufort-park-hotel-homepagebeaufort-park-hotel-responsiveSusan Warnock, General Manager of the Beaufort Park Hotel, said: “We’re delighted to now be offering an improved online experience for new and existing customers. Our website is often the first line of contact with new customers, so it’s important that we immediately send out a message that customer experience is at the heart of our business.”

We’re excited about the nest stages of the project with Beaufort Park and we’ll keep you updated on its progress.

Find out more about the work we’re doing with Beaufort Park and some of our other clients.

Hello, What Next?

We’ve just launched a new website for Northwest-based HR and coaching company, What Next Consultancy.

We developed a bold new brand identity, which not only provides a distinct and recognisable look and feel, but also act as a vehicle for delivering core marketing messages.

Here’s a taster…

wn-homepage1Check out the snazzy video interludes on the homepage:

wn-homepage2Does this page make you want biscuits and coffee?

wn-blog1Most importantly, what did the Jo say about the result?

“When I decided to completely revamp my website, I approached Group Dane because of the unique and very different websites I’d seen them produce for their clients. I wanted a website that was quirky, but chic, reflecting the personality and ethos of my company. I was not disappointed; I’m now the proud owner of a very individual website, which matches my brief exactly and is streets apart from my competitors. I have been extremely impressed with Group Dane’s professionalism and how they truly go the extra mile. Their customer service is exemplary and I’d recommend them to anyone.”

– Jo Banks, Managing Director at What Next Consultancy (UK) Ltd

Take a look at the finished product: www.whatnextconsultancy.co.uk and find out more about the project on our case study.

One very happy Scouse Bird

Last week, Group Dane was pleased to launch the brand new Scouse Bird Problems website…

For anyone who doesn’t know her (where’ve you been?), Scouse Bird is a popular anonymous fashion and lifestyle blogger, famous for her characteristically Scouse-witted tongue. With a growing social media following of more than 250,000 people, her reach spans from Merseyside way out across the globe, while her website attracts tens of thousands of visits every month.

Souse Bird asked Group Dane to create a new website, which is not only in-keeping with the brand from a design perspective, but also includes a easily manageable blogging platform and functionality that simplifies management of advertising.

We designed a beautiful, responsive website, which supports and builds upon the Scouse Bird brand and, through effective information architecture work, displays a large amount of content in an intuitive and user-friendly way.

scouseGiven the majority of Scouse Bird’s audience visits the website via portable devices, we knew from the outset that it was crucial that the site works well on all mobile devices, such as mobile phones and tablets.

sbp4We opted for Umbraco to handle content management (including blogging platform) and developed an integrated system to manage advertising across the site, which scalable management and reporting.

The verdict?

Another beautiful and perfectly engineered website by Group Dane and one very happy Scouse Bird.

scouse-bird-problemsSee the website for yourself at: www.scousebirdproblems.com

 

Famous last words: “Coming soon”

Have you ever noticed a huge empty shelf in Tesco with a “Coming soon…” notice on it for weeks or months? No. The reason they don’t do this is because it’s a waste of valuable space, it’s inconvenient for customers browsing and looks unsightly. So why would you do this on your website?

coming-soon-supermaketInconvenient

Website visitors hate being disappointed and that is exactly how they’ll feel if they click on a page or section of your website and are greeted by those famous last words “coming soon”.

“Coming soon” pages are usually added out of pure excitement for the glorious content that will soon take pride of place, right there for all to see. But in reality, your visitors will feel like they’ve been thrust back into the 90s to play an annoying game of Take Your Pick. Your visitors may be excited to see the content you’re hinting towards, but when they look behind door number 3, they’ll find an out of date pork pie.

Unsightly

Just like empty shelves in Tesco, a blank page with “Coming soon” or another derivative of “Nothing here for you” looks bland. Even if you try to cheer the page up with a nice image, it’s only about as effective as a nice bunch of flowers lodged between the empty supermarket shelves.

The fact you’re spending time thinking about how you can make an empty page look pretty should set alarm bells ringing. Save yourself the headache and hold off publishing the page.

Waste of space

If Tesco are eagerly awaiting a big delivery of a new product, they don’t empty the shelf until it’s due to arrive. This is obviously because they would be losing potential sales by wasting the retail space. The same goes for your website; whether you’re selling products, providing a service or sharing information, poor use of site space will affect performance by diverting customers away from the content.

Wait until the content is ready to be published and only then add the page or section to your site. Your users won’t thank you for waiting, but they certainly won’t hate you for not waiting!

How is your UX affected by responsive design?

“My experience of your website started at my desk and ended on the train.”

While on my lunch break yesterday, I visited a travel website on my work computer. My experience of the website was very good, so much so that I didn’t even realise when my lunch break was over. My boss will be pleased to read that as soon as I realised, I got straight back to work (honest).

Train - London Later, on the long train journey home, I pulled out my smartphone to finish browsing the same website. At first, I was pleased to find that the website was responsive (which means it adapts to the device it’s being viewed on). But wait. Something didn’t feel right… It looked completely different. I double checked it was the same website I visited on my lunch break… It was. Why was the look and structure so radically different from the desktop site? Why could I not find the information I was looking at earlier? Why was the navigational structure so different that the only things familiar were the colours? Without wanting to sound too dramatic, I felt confused, agitated and impatient with the website.

This got me thinking about how important it is for a responsive website to have a consistent user experience (UX) across different devices. If you’re not familiar with the term, UX is basically concerned with the emotional aspects associated with the use of interactive technologies like websites and web applications.

The whole point in a responsive website is that it will work and display adequately according to the user’s device. However, the fact it’s adapting means that the quality of UX is also potentially changing with it. It is important that any differences across devices must be logical and intuitive.

How is my responsive website’s UX?

Slip your feet into your customers’ shoes and think about how they might want to access your site.

Customers' shoesTest your website’s UX on all screen sizes and devices you intend to support, such as smartphones, tablets and desktop computers. Just remember that you don’t have the power to choose which devices you support – you must always, always go where your customers are. Remember, you can look at your web analytics to determine what devices are most commonly used by your customers.

For help with UX or responsive design, get in touch.

From Liverpool to New York City

Taxi! On Thursday this week we’re off to New York City to launch the new website of fashion and lifestyle production company, Red Stiletto Media.

Group Dane New YorkRed Stiletto Media is an award-winning media production company, focusing on the fashion and lifestyle industries. The company’s glittering portfolio includes some of the biggest names in fashion, lifestyle and PR, including People’s Revolution, Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa, Douglas Hannant and Libertine.

We’ve designed and developed the new website, which boasts robust and user-friendly functionality with striking visual features and a strong brand identity. Beyond the launch of the new website, we’ve been appointed Red Stiletto Media’s digital marketing and communications partner. This pleases us greatly!

New York CityWe’re very proud to be based in Liverpool and hope that our relationship with a company based in New York City reinforces the message that Liverpool has a strong international offering, with world-class talent in digital communications.

We’re off to start packing our cases…

Stay posted for the link to the new website later this week!

What would Jack say?

If Jack Nicholson took at look at your website, what would he make of it?

Well, you know Jack… he’s right down the line; he tells it like it is.

Take a look at his video:


Good news

You can get in touch with us to find out exactly what Jack means. Either visit Group Dane, or email Jack directly, at: jack@groupdane.com

Sensational meeting you.