Dakeyne Farm is a historic farm with an incredible history and a wide range of services offered to visitors. In addition to being a historic beacon for British Home Children, it also offers Nova Scotia’s first (and only) sunflower maze. Because their website was dated, one of the owners met with me in early 2016 to discuss the options for updating it to provide mobility and upscaling options.
The original website was built entirely in Flash, using one of those “trendy” website builders that can sound like a good idea–at the time. The Farm has an enormous range of services, and “fixing” the website was consistently put on the backburner until suddenly it went from being a small issue to an enormous one.
The problem: local attractions
The content of the website was very difficult for users to navigate. Sometimes it was inaccessible–or only half visible. Flash can be very difficult to manage, and it doesn’t play very nicely with search engines. It was not mobile-friendly, and in fact the mobile version was downright awful.
With most users accessing the internet on their mobile devices, a non-mobile-friendly website can be a real Achilles’ heel. Since Google’s new mobile algorithms in April 2015, a non-mobile-friendly website can actually hurt your rankings. In addition, there was a secondary blog hosted on a subdomain using not only a different CMS but had a completely different user experience.
A critical consideration was the broad range of services the farm provides, including:
- fresh produce
- unique history (as a location for the British Home Children program, how cool is that??)
- unforgettable sunflower maze
- heritage breed of cattle called the Beltway
…and more. Therefore, designing a website that is simple to manage and yet reflects these rather disparate business aspects was not an off-the-shelf solution.
Starting over from scratch with a fresh wordpress installation, we combined the desired features of the original site and add a blog, with the original posts kept intact. With the new wordpress CMS, we added all kinds of wonderful features to help showcase the wide range of products and services provided by Dakeyne Farm. A catalogue of products for e-commerce was an important feature as well.
- Clean and simple to manage
- (authors: nikeo)
In addition to making a functional website that reflected all the aspects of the Farm, I also spent some time refining the logo for Dakeyne Farm. I took a silhouette of the actual barn and created a design to incorporate both the sunflowers and the maze itself. Then we used the distinctive black-and-white pattern of the Beltway cattle that the Dakeyne Farm is known for. Finally, I used a font that was as close to the original lettering on the side of the barn as we could manage.