Why training is crucial piece of our accessible website process

Client and friend Seed Biggar just launched their new online shop at knitboneceramics.com! We did the branding photography (#allFilmAllTheTime) and configured a Shopify theme to match the brand and take the shop live.

I want to talk about this project partly because I want to show off our film photos of Seed’s beautiful work and bright studio, and partly because it’s a great example of what we mean when we say your website needs to be accessible for your customers AND for you.

All the Tools You Need, None You Don’t

Seed, artist and owner of Knitbone Ceramics, reached out a little while ago after subscribing to Shopify for their online shop. They’d hit a wall, and were looking for some support to learn the system and get the shop up and running in time for the holiday rush.

Despite being marketed to small business owners with the promise that they can set up and administer their own shops, most website builders aren’t super intuitive (especially if it’s not your job to know about a variety of website builders). It’s not uncommon for clients to come to us at their absolute wits’ end when their chosen website builder won’t behave.

Your website should be your favourite tool. Powerful, versatile, and just the right size for you. It shouldn’t be shrouded in mystery. While we pride ourselves on our ongoing client relationships, we don’t want you to have to call us every time you want to update your website or make a small change. This philosophy guides the software and services we use. It also informs our approach to the training we offer, regardless of the tech stack.

Here’s how we approached this project.

Step 1

The first step (as with all our projects, big or small) is to learn about the brand. Seed was looking for a free theme, and Shopify has a decent selection, so I needed to know more about how the site should feel (clean, calming, photo-forward) and who it should speak to (pottery collectors, people interested in one-of-a-kind work, appreciators of experimentation, creative expression and the beautiful imperfections inherent to handmade objects).

Step 2

After choosing a theme and doing the basic set up, we had our first in-person meeting (conveniently coincided with shoot day on the mainland!). I gave a demo of the theme itself and went over the basic functions like how to add products and group them into collections, and how to access the page layout customizer. Then we proceeded to shoot a handful of rolls of film, and I left the draft site with Seed to poke around in.

Step 3

We met over Zoom a few weeks later, and both of us showed up with a list of things to go over and questions to ask. We went through each item and reviewed the things we’d first looked on shoot day. It meant the meeting was thorough and efficient, and Seed left with the knowledge they needed to make the site match their shop vision.

We picked a launch date and we scheduled a final site review so I could give feedback, Seed could ask final questions and we could both ensure every page looked tip-top and ready to go forth into the world.

This multi-step situation is really important, because in the majority of cases, it doesn’t matter how thoroughly you address every detail of site function. A person still needs to get in there themselves, play around, check out the options. Only then will they know what questions they really need to ask to become confident using their website.

A New Approach

In the past few years I’ve been involved in so many projects where the intention was to be client friendly, with software and design geared toward you updating your own website whenever needed, but the reality was that clients felt intimidated by their sites and defaulted to calling the developer to make simple changes. That’s an expensive and disempowering way to manage your site. When we launched Flegg Creative, we knew we wanted things to be different for our clients.

If you’re looking for support with your website and are curious about how we can help, drop us a line! hello@fleggcreative.ca.

And without further ado, have a look at some of Knitbone’s photo collection! We’re pretty proud of these ones.

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