client spotlight: The Rules of Life

Client-Led WordPress Website Design: The Rules of Life Book Series Site

For many individuals or small businesses, one of the biggest challenges when building a website is identifying the correct approach for the development process. For each new project, the developer must understand the client’s needs including budget, the site’s expected lifespan, the client’s desired level of involvement, and especially the site’s intended audience and function. When a client isn’t involved in those choices and isn’t adequately educated on the site building process, there can be major problems before the development process even gets started. The development process may become a headache, and often the client will wind up dissatisfied with their website upon launch. It’s easy to understand why; after they’ve dropped a hefty sum on the site, it’s still not what they had envisioned, but at that point the client feels helpless to create change and achieve their vision.

At Berry Interesting, we believe in doing things differently. One of our goals is to make sure we understand the client’s priorities at the beginning of our relationship so we can create customized products and find tailored solutions that meet our clients’ needs.

Berry Interesting client Melissa Abbott-Cooke, author of The Rules of Life book series, is a great example of how our process works. Melissa needed a WordPress website to promote herself and her new book series to publishers. Unfortunately, a bad experience with another web development agency left her frustrated:

I hired a well-known web design company to create my site. Two months after launch, it was clear my site needed a makeover. The design process with the company was riddled with miscommunication and critical updates lost in a maze of conference calls and emails. This was my first website. I was relying on their expertise to guide me on design, but their advice was rare. My site was more important to me than to them; I was just another widget. Frustrated, I tried to update the site myself, but their coding made my changes impossible to make.

Click the thumbnails above to see Melissa’s ideas for her site, composed in PowerPoint. You can also review the design elements used during design brainstorming (download the original .pptx file)

Melissa’s original choice in a partner for helping bring her website to live backed her into a corner. Working with an agency that had their own goals in mind rather than with a team prepared to work closely with her to balance her design aesthetic against the practical demands of the job left her feeling dissatisfied with her site and frustrated at its limitations. She turned to Berry Interesting looking for a different kind of experience and found a new way of doing things that worked much better for her:

Commitment-shy but determined, I arrived at my meeting with D’nelle with a two-page PowerPoint mock-up of my site. Fairy godmother wand in hand, she spoke truths of website design that my lack of experience couldn’t articulate. A week later, D’nelle and her team at Berry Interesting took us by the hand and into the world of website design showing us just enough while they artfully managed the details.

In Melissa’s case, the design of her site, like the composition of her novels, was extremely important to her. Although she was limited in her ability to provide graphics and assets by her own knowledge of design tools, she was quite clear on what she wanted the site to look like and what she needed it to do. Thanks to careful listening combined with years of development experience, D’nelle and the Berry Interesting team were able to bring Melissa’s dream to life:

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Their insights and expertise with WordPress created a website that’s not only engaging but easy to manage in the post-launch world. I was astounded by their project management, ahead of the game and never behind or losing a piece of information. Most importantly, it is their integrity and work ethic, so involved in the process of my site’s creation that they would tweak little details that made a huge difference in the user experience, running them by me to see what I thought. The whole process worked so quickly and so easily, I had to keep pinching myself. They went above and beyond in so many cases, pushing themselves and guiding me to what I couldn’t imagine my site could be, with the newest and brightest.

Click above to see screenshots of Melissa’s new site at launch, or visit the site directly.

Ultimately, this author’s story has a happy ending: Melissa got a new website that looked and worked the way she wanted it to and a positive web design experience, and Berry Interesting earned another satisfied client. If you’ve had an experience like Melissa’s before, don’t give up on your goal of having a beautiful, functional website and a development team that keeps your priorities top of mind.

The Rules of Life series website was built using the Divi Builder from Elegant Themes. If you’re curious about how Berry Interesting Productions can help your team build an outstanding website, we’re always happy to help! Drop us a line or book a consultation directly with our fearless leader, D’nelle. You can also sign up to get emails from Berry Interesting and we’ll keep you in the loop.