WD Hearn Overhaul

Background

WD Hearn was founded in 1937 and is one of the largest distributors of high precision engineering equipment in Africa. That is made possible by their large network of partnered suppliers in Europe, America, Taiwan and Japan. WD Hearn is also renowned for the quality of their CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machinery and excellent after sales services - they have sold well over 1,100 CNC machines to-date.

Brief

A partnered agency was consolidating their portfolio and requested that we take over operations of WD Hearn and following a short discussion, we agreed. The client requested that we have a look at their website and come up with a list of improvements and recommendations to be considered at our first meeting with them. The website functioned well, but there was room for additional features, improvements and some polish that would increase sales.

At the meeting we produced three documents, a 7-pager that indicated URL structural changes to improve SEO, a 4-pager that summarised the count of types of content on the site and field usage statistics, and a 19-pager that detailed our recommended functional and visual updates for the websites. The client agreed to all the recommendations and we scheduled them all in.

They included the following:

  • Restructure main and footer menus, moving all secondary and non-priority links to the footer to focus user attention and removing duplicate links,
  • Add categorisation to news so articles can be filtered and then add an exposed filter with Ajax on the news landing page,
  • Improve and standardise the look and feel of all CTA buttons across the site,
  • Update carousels on the homepage to have equal heights and more clearly defined CTA's
  • Update products from a waterfall list of all information to a grid of product teasers that click through to product specific pages,
  • Add a product menu to allow browsing products and their categories,
  • Add a product enquiry form to product specific pages to increase user engagement,
  • Hide the rendering of accordions and tabs on products if they are empty,
  • Add a branch selection drop-down on the contact form to be more clear as to who a query should be forwarded to,
  • Change stock level indicator field to an integer to facilitate a no results response and other functions,
  • Add functionality to automatically generate a thumbnail from the first page of PDF's loaded on product pages and make that thumbnail click through to open/download the PDF,
  • Restructure all URL's to more clearly display hierarchy,
  • And 99+ other recommendations.

Challenges

  • The Drupal website was making use of a pre-bought theme that was customised so there was a lot of overhead, especially in the theme layer,
  • The site was Drupal 7 so we could not leverage more modern approaches that we use in Drupal 8/9.

Solutions

  • We restructured the theme folder and added a number of custom templates to apply our work,
  • We made use of Better Exposed Filters for Drupal to allow for ajax filtering,
  • Pantheon has native support for PHP Imagemagick which allowed us to generate the thumbnails for the PDF links on product pages.

Results

  • The homepage and secondary pages look far cleaner and more professional,
  • A user's attention is more focused when arriving on the site,
  • Navigating products is significantly easier and there is higher customer engagement,
  • There is an increase in useful information for the end user to make use of,
  • SEO on the website has been substantially improved.

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