First in Flight: WINGS Web Site Launch

simpledream web studio is very proud to announce the newly revised wingsbirds.com, home to WINGS Birding Tours Worldwide. It was a large undertaking—ten months in the making—as well as a fun and challenging project.

The goals of this site realign included modernizing the behind-the-scenes workflow at the company, bringing the code up to current web standards, and realigning the visual layout to improve readability, accessibility, and cross-browser performance. As an added bonus, the cosmetic changes provide a better showcase for WINGS‘ spectacular collection of photography.

design screenshot

The WINGS site is very content-focused, and my intention was to allow the content to engage the visitor. The design is simple and clean, readable and friendly. See older versions of the site for comparison.

Creating an administrative interface for WINGS staff to edit the site content online was the project’s biggest challenge. Previously, all the static HTML pages were generated in Word, Excel, or Adobe GoLive and then sent via FTP to the web server. The ability to update the quickly and easily was an important change.

The new site uses CakePHP, the rapid development framework inspired by Ruby on Rails, not only to serve the public part of the site from database-driven templates but also to create the administrative interface for content editing.

cms screenshot

I partnered with Sam DeVore of TeachesMe.com on the CakePHP work, and he did a marvelous job implementing the CMS and programming both public and admin sites. Sam’s advice and development expertise were influential in the overall success of WINGS‘ new site.

The administrative part of this project will continue to evolve, but for now the public pages speak for themselves. Explore the web site and get a taste for the amazing amount of quality content such as photo galleries, narratives, and bird lists.

Launch Date: August 21st, 2006
Work Done: Two projects in one: the public site realign and the CMS administrative site creation. Both projects included graphic design, front-end coding in XHTML/CSS/JS, PHP programming, and content migration from thousands of static HTML files into the new Content Management System (CMS).

Author: Lance Willett

My name is Lance, I am a blogger and web craftsman making high-quality, engaging, and user-centered experiences for people that use WordPress. México-born. Excellence Wrangler at Automattic.

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