WildCRU is part of the University of Oxford. Founded in 1986, WildCRU was the first university-based conservation research unit in Europe. Today they are recognised as a world leader in their field.
Hold were first approached by WildCRU's Adam Dutton in October 2008, and after a short consultation period were commissioned to design, develop and build their new website.
WildCRU essentially work with very beautiful creatures and wanted to show that clearly through the new site without detracting from the serious science.
The website's primary purpose would be to publicise the WildCRU's scientific and conservation projects and achievements, both for the benefit of academic colleagues and for policy makers around the world.
Secondary aims were to provide a channel for donations, thank donors, advertise voluntary and paid work and advertise seminars, events and conferences.
After having met with a focus group of Adams colleagues at Tubney House, Hold developed a series of initial design directions that considered layout, tone, font usage and colour palette. At this stage the various sections and content began to be put in place and working together we established a sitemap that became the blueprint for the development stage. Alongside this the final design direction had been established, with an authoritative tone being taken in the look and feel but with an engaging and evolving image area designed to showcase the stunning photography that WildCRU had commissioned over the years.
Now that we had the design of the site in place we began to roll it out to the various template pages that were required. Each section followed a tight structural grid but within this bespoke pages could be constructed for specific functions. All these designs formed what is known as the Frontend, that being the part of the website the user (you) sees. We now had to build the Backend, that being the part of the site the administrator sees.
For the Backend we used a bespoke CMS (content management system) which allowed custom information to be uploaded and retrieved using various databases. This functionality allows the site to be easily maintained by the owner once the site has been finished, saving time and money.
The large amount of information that needed to be displayed such as books, theses and other publications, as well as the ever growing research documentation meant that the site needed a flexible and easy to use search function. After identifying and solving many technical issues surrounding information retrieval and the overall functionality of the content management system the site went live on August 7th 2009, to a very warm reception at the WildCRU launch event.
“The WildCRU could not have been happier with the new website Hold built for our research group. The designers produced a stunning crisp site which showcases the beautiful animals we work with whilst retaining space for text in our content rich site. The development team have gave us an accessible editing tool managing content for a well laid out front end. However most pleasing was the flexibility of the relationship we had with Hold during the development as they were happy to work with us in the way we needed them to. We at the WildCRU feel it was this flexibility and customer service which helped to make sure we gained the site we needed.“
Adam Dutton - WildCRU