Firth is a large and iconic New Zealand company with a many well-known products with hugely varying applications. Website audiences vary from councillors making decisions on major infrastructure projects, to developers and architects of multi-storied buildings, through to landscapers, and the average New Zealand DIYer.
The web design needed to present a large amount of product information in a manner which would satisfy the needs of diverse client groups, work well for SEO, and be easy to update. We worked closely with Firth and Chalis, their agency, to identify the needs of various client groups. Through audience research two areas of concentration were decided on - information and inspiration. Extensive work at the planning stage ensured that information of each type is available at different levels.
The design challenges were:
From the new home page there are clear paths into a large amount of information. Top navigation contains the links to the main sections, answering the needs of the main user groups, and providing standard required information. A panel at right provides categorisation by product type, and the centre of the page provides a slideshow of inspiration to explore different products and a direct link to each case study within the inspiration section.
to provide rollover information about each featured product. Contextual navigation on the left side of the screen gives access to further content. Each case study offers more information on the different products used and links to relevant products. This relationship between the projects and the products used allows for a natural linkage between the inspiration and product information areas of the site.
Getting to product information is made fast and rewarding by employing a 'predictive' site search function and a keyword search. Choice of a product brings up detailed product navigation on the left and product information on the right. Like the rest of the site, these can be easily updated by Firth.
Developing the Firth website was always going to be a challenging project, not only due to the multiple audiences and the complexity of the information that needed to be presented, but also the need to manage the requirements of a large corporate client. Phosphor Essence delivered on all levels. The process was clear and simple and the white site made writing and approving content quick and efficient. The collaboration was extremely good which meant that Phosphor grasped the Firth brand very quickly and the design was signed off with hardly a change. Overall Phosphor Essence were professional and easy to work with. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them for any project, large or small.Chris Ivers | Director | Chalis Group