Graham Sanderson

Graham Sanderson

Graham Sanderson Interiors is a UK-based retailer, specialising in stylish, high-end fabrics, wallpapers, homeware, curtains, blinds and more.

Having developed a strong customer base with its existing site, Graham Sanderson sought an update which would further elevate its market position, attract additional quality brands and importantly, increase the user experience in line with its competitors.

Graham Sanderson website in a desktop browser & in a mobile browser Graham Sanderson website Luxury Wallpaper tile

Objectives

Design

The previous design had served the business well, but the overriding aim of the redesign was to establish a look and feel for the brand which conveyed to customers the quality of services and products on offer, while attracting further prestigious suppliers.

Calculations

Although the clients previous site had served them well, and established them as a big player in the online market - technology had moved on. So the decision was made to redesign the site, encompassing all the new technology available, and continue to be at the forefront of the luxury online fabric industry. The new site needed increased, more effective functionality to ensure that customers could enter their own measurements, and suitable product options, without the need to speak to staff - therefore enjoying a swift, online quote experience.

User Experience

With plans to launch the website with around 20,000 products, 15,000 of which could be made into four different fabric products, a highly intuitive, easy to navigate site was essential. Couple this with the importance search engines place on customer experience and it was vital to ensure these factors were appropriately addressed to make the site a success.

Responsive Design

The previous site was particularly difficult to use across different devices, which meant a responsive site was another key change when redeveloping the site. so adding responsive functionality was a priority. This was made of further importance by the recent Google update, prioritising mobile optimised sites in the search results.

SEO

While the previous site performed well organically for a number of designer and brand terms it struggled to rank well for specific fabrics and ranges. The challenge was to ensure that the site continued to perform well for designer terms as well as increasing the site’s visibility for the collections too. Given the site witnessed a drastic change as everything from the content to URL structure changed completely, particular attention had to be given to setting up the 301 redirects to ensure that the transition from the old site to the new was as smooth as possible.

Discovery and design

We began the process by exploring the brand values of Graham Sanderson and understanding where the business wanted to be positioned within the marketplace. We then set about developing a suite of assets that would support and communicate these objectives.

We worked alongside GS to develop the identity and created a tailored logo which expresses the craftsmanship that goes into the products they sell and also conveys a more sophisticated visual message.

Graham Sanderson website tile Graham Sanderson Interiors

The typography was selected and considered for both the identity and the online application. We achieved a balance of both a vintage and a high end feel by combining a modern hand-written typeface with a traditional serif font.

Made to order - Shop & Discover

With a predominantly female customer base in mind, we chose a softer more delicate colour palette. The neutral and muted tones look clean and sophisticated and do not compete with the busy imagery.

Graham Sanderson Website colour palette

Our thinking behind the layout of the site was that square grid style designs are a great way to keep large amounts of information from looking too cluttered (an issue the previous website struggled with). It also helps the user to digest chunks of information and to navigate the page. We were able to better utilise the strong rich photography that was supplied by GS which helped enhance user engagement, as well as creating an icon set to fit with the new look and further aid the user to navigate the site. We also supported the existing photography with some sourced imagery which had a more crafted vintage style to help convey the craftsmanship at GS.

Graham Sanderson Website viewed on an tablet & mobile

Target met:

Attracted additional high-end suppliers pre-launch

Showcasing products and bespoke ordering

The products the client wanted to sell online could be broken down into four types: wallpapers (sold by the roll), fabrics (sold by length), bespoke items made from their fabric ranges (curtains, cushions, roller blinds, and roman blinds) and (non-customisable) homeware items.

To ensure accurate results, this required a digital translation of what had previously been a traditional, analog process, honed into a skill by a team of craftsmen.

During the discovery phase of the project, the Extreme Creations team worked with the client to document the measuring and costing steps involved for the different types of items they create. We then refined the details through an iterative prototyping process. This enabled both teams to develop an understanding of how the business process logic had to be deconstructed, to allow it be implemented in an approachable manner for customers, while still ensuring that the resulting product configurations were viable for production and accurately costed.

The responsive user interfaces produced, guide a customer through a series of steps, with contextually placed help, adjusting the available options based on the choices made in previous stages & dynamically updating the quotation as selections are made, or measurements amended.

Key stat:

25652 lines of bespoke code

Maximising user experience

The most valuable resource when considering UX is learning from the performance of the current site. Therefore in depth research was conducted within Google analytics, taking into account insight such as the most popular landing pages, or pages that had a high bounce rate - so that valuable information could be utilised and improved on within the new sites structure and design.

Taking into account the findings from the analytics research and our knowledge of UX, the sitemap was carefully planned out prior to the design stage, ensuring that huge amount of products didn’t become too nested within a category.

Graham Sanderson website viewed on a mobile

Then, working closely with the client, each page and key functionality such as the filter was digitally wireframed, allowing the delivery team to piece together a consistent and easy to navigate user experience, funnelling the user through the sales process.

Post launch, EC will continue to monitor the user journey using specialist tracking software, and Google analytics, to ensure that the key areas of the site are being found and utilised effectively.

Responsive design

To cater for the ever increasing number of varying screen sizes found on desktops, tablets and mobiles; we designed and built the website using a technique called ‘Responsive Web Design’. Using this technique results in a website which adapts to the screen size of the user’s device.

We created a dedicated mobile friendly navigation which allows users on smaller devices to navigate the website without having to use fiddly and frustrating drop down menus. We also optimised the search and filtering menus to fit onto a smaller screen without compromising on the functionality.

Graham Sanderson website viewed on a mobile
Graham Sanderson website viewed on a mobile

The product calculators were also optimised for smaller devices by splitting up the input fields into steps. This is to help the user build up a product to their specification without having to scroll through a large list of input fields.

Key stat:

55% increase in mobile and 30% increase tablet traffic in the first month

Standing out through search

In order to increase the site’s visibility for fabrics and collections we paid special attention to how the pages were going to be optimised, especially when you consider that many pages share similar characteristics, which raised duplicate content issues.

The emphasis was placed on niche searches from users already familiar with the actual name of fabric to give this pages the best possible chance of ranking. In addition to this we wanted to increase the site's visibility for broader search terms from users at the beginning of the purchasing process as well as those further down the line who are searching for a particular designer or fabric. This was achieved by optimising the top level and designer pages for these terms as they perform better as landing pages and allow the user to explore the ranges from here. When it came to ensuring a smooth transition from the old site to the new, 301s were made a priority.

The site was built with the functionality to allow the client to add their own 301s for the vast range of fabrics covered on the old site that were being continued to the new. All remaining 301s were handled by us directly. Prior to launch we checked to see how all of the 301s would work once the site launched by changing the host file so that we were seeing the development site as a live site and running a crawl with Screaming Frog and checking the redirect chains. Given so much of the site was changing there was inevitably going to be a short-term loss of visibility when the new site went live as Google had to reindex a completely new URL structure. A measure we applied to reduce the impact of this was to run a small AdWords campaign, which targeted the best selling designers to ensure that the site would still be visible when users searched for any of the key designers.

 


What the client says

“I was very impressed with the service from Extreme Creations. They took our vision, listened carefully and they 'got it' very quickly. Really easy to work with and we felt appreciated as a customer.

“Extreme Creations has taken our digital strategy to the next level.”

Graham Sanderson, Managing Director

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