Flow Communications

Flow is delighted to end 2019 with the satisfaction of having delivered on a major website assignment for Wesgro, the official tourism, trade and investment promotion agency for Cape Town and the Western Cape.

The brief was to build a brand-new web platform for the agency, with the expectation that it would essentially function as seven sites combined into one. The main site at www.wesgro.co.za directs access not only to the Corporate site, but also – through the homepage – to the Trade, Invest, Film, and Air access sites, as well as separate Travel and Convention Bureau mini-sites.

With Flow Cape Town manager Sarah-Jane Viljoen at the helm as project manager, the process kicked off with the drawing up of a digital strategy, after which Flow designed a large number of wireframes based on the site structure.

Flow head of digital Richard Frank explains that the platform was developed “as a multisite architecture”, with each site representing a key user journey.

“We used the Craft CMS content management system, which has native multisite support. It also allows for deep customisation of the publishing process – for instance, enabling writers to publish content to several sites at once. This ties into the philosophy of ‘create once, publish everywhere’ that we follow on all our website builds,” he says.

In order to keep design and user experience (UX) consistent, Flow‘s developers followed the atomic design methodology. “We developed a digital style guide from the simplest ‘atom’ components, such as buttons, to more complex molecules and organisms, such as slideshows,” he explains. “This enforces a consistency to the UX design.”

Screen Shot 2019 12 23 at 5 36 55 PM

Custom plug-ins

Richard’s team also developed a number of custom plug-ins, including an integration into the Algolia search platform to return near-instant results; an integration into the online file converter CloudConvert for indexing of PDFs for full text search; a bucket-list mechanism on the Wesgro travel site; and an event planner for the Convention Bureau site.

The client had specifically requested that the website’s back end should be relatively simple for Wesgro staff to use themselves, so one development challenge was to maintain a level of flexibility for content administrators to be able to change nearly any part of the website, without burdening them with unnecessary complexity.

“We did this by providing a level of default functionality and fallbacks, with the functionality to override when required,” Richard says.

One of the Flow team’s favourite pieces of functionality is the 3D tour through Wesgro’s innovative One Stop Shop. Take a virtual tour here.

Wesgro Virtual Tour Screen Shor
The site offers a 3D tour through Wesgro’s innovative One Stop Shop.

Drawcard destination

When it came to the design of the business sites (Corporate, Trade, Invest, Film, and Air access), Flow crucially needed to consider that the destination – Cape Town and the Western Cape – was the main drawcard. This was paramount to the choice of images and text.

Wesgro owns a wealth of information, such as research reports and studies, that are of great value to potential investors in the Mother City and the province, as well as to those wanting to export services and goods. It was therefore important to also include a Resources section that can be accessed from the homepage.

Considering the scale of the project, planning and writing copy for the business sections of the site – with guidance and content also supplied by the client – was a large part of the job. News articles, press releases and research reports, however, were migrated from the old site.

Flow Cape Town project manager Riefkah Adams, who spent many days uploading all of the content written by the client and much of the copy written by Flow writers, as well as helping to trouble-shoot, says she loves the final site.

“It’s a piece of work that Flow and the Cape Town team will have as a showpiece for years to come – we can be incredibly proud to have produced it.”

The client was pleased with the final product, and the Wesgro staff who attended website training at the end of the process expressed how much easier it was to work on their new content management system and said they were eager to start uploading content!

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