Flow Communications

At Flow, we love challenges, so when our client Gibela approached us to help the company build a new website, we jumped at the opportunity and took the task head-on.

Formed in 2013 as a black economic empowerment company, Gibela Rail Transport Consortium comprises French rail company Alstom and South Africa’s Ubumbano Rail.

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A snippet of the new website’s home page. (Image: Gibela Rail Consortium)

The consortium has a R51-billion contract with the South African government to manufacture 600 trains for the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa. The contract includes train maintenance and technical support, as well as the manufacture and supply of spare parts.

The brief was to help give Gibela a facelift by building the agency a modern and chic website that would operate using the latest design user interface to ensure a seamless and meaningful web experience for users on both mobile and desktop machines

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Gibela has a wide range of production and service needs to be met in order to successfully fulfil its rolling stock. (Image: Gibela Rail Consortium)

Gibela’s head of communications and media, Loyiso Jiya, explains why the train manufacturer decided to redo its website: “Our website is for the purposes of providing credible information to our stakeholders. Job seekers want to know about available employment opportunities, and those who come for interviews go to our website to learn more about the business.

“On the other hand, business owners, such as local suppliers, want to know about our available business opportunities they can tap into, while some stakeholders go to our website out of curiosity after reading news articles and social media posts.

“We decided to redo the website so that everyone who clicks on it gets what they want without a hassle. We wanted to repackage our information and have a site that reflects our core values,” he adds.

Building a website from the ground up is an interesting thing to do, because just like with the trains Gibela manufactures, everything has to go through a seamless step-by-step process between design, development and content.

If one element fails to speak to the other elements, things quickly fall apart. This is why it is crucial to have the best images and compelling content to complement the other elements of the website-building process.

Gibela train
The state-of-the-art X'trapolis Mega commuter trains that Gibela supplies to Prasa. (Image: Gibela Rail Consortium)

Flow UX/UI designer Cara Wares says, “When designing the website, we needed to make sure that, at a quick glance, users would immediately know what Gibela’s main message is and what the company is all about. The design needed to ensure a smooth and easy process for suppliers to register on the site, to highlight its projects and people, and to make sure that users could find information easily with a filtered search.

“We improved the usability of the website navigation by making sure things work well and are easy to use, and by categorising content. For the look and feel of the design, I was inspired by the shapes and movement of the trains and the strong colours of the brand CI [corporate identity]. For the UI [user interface], I used triangular shapes, blocks of contrasting colours and simplified icons, and images showing the trains, the people and the factory in progress.

“The new website has an easy-to-use Craft CMS system to update content and images, is responsive on different devices, and has a much better supplier registration form that is more user-friendly and quicker to fill in than the previous version.”

At Flow, we always strive to meet the needs of our clients by exceeding their expectations. This new Gibela website will be added to our diverse digital portfolio, while providing a seamless and elegant user experience for our client and its stakeholders.

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