Built using WordPress, this website features a looped video banner displaying the inflatable sculptures changing colors. The website has e-commerce integration to allow visitors to purchase an inflatable decoration along with an optional warranty. There is an advanced Rental Request Form on the homepage which is used in combination with a custom Electronic Contract for the customer to sign and pay for once the request has been approved.
Astro Botanicals inflatbale sculptures look fantastic at events, festivals and weddings. In designing the website I was mindful to show the decorations to their best effect without having any other visuals distracting from their minimal yet powerful style. Upon reaching the homepage the visitor is first presented with a short movie on loop displaying the sculptures in their full color changing form; my intention was to display the sculptures in a similar set up to how you would first see them at a live event.
Spacing throughout the website it very important, I presented just enough information to convey a understanding about each sculpture, its form and effect. I paid particular attention to maximizing the size of the photos on the page to dynamically fit any screen size; if you re-size your browser window on the homepage you’ll see the images of the decorations smoothly scale in size accordingly.
More detail about each sculpture can be found on their product page following the respective ‘More Details’ buttons on the homepage. Here the visitor is able to purchase a sculpture, add an optional warranty of various lengths and then pay via debit/credit card, check, ACH bank transfer or even in BitCoin; which I’ve set up with a service called BitPay who convert the currency instantly over to USD at equal market value and deposit it into my clients bank account.
Animated Video Banner
I rented a warehouse for an afternoon video shoot. I wanted an environment without any background distractions, ideally one that is pitch black so that the shapes and colors would have the best setting to really shine. I worked the video into a 15 second fading loop then compressed it for web viewing as best as I could without losing too much clarity. The file is an .mp4 which can auto-play on most devices except for mobile and tablets; smaller devices require input from the user to display and after many tests it didn’t prove to be sensible to try to get it to work without breaking the flow of the page. Instead I provided a fallback static image of the first frame of the video. If you re-size your browser window on the homepage you will see that once you get to a certain narrow screen size the video is replaced by the image.
Rental Request Form
Astro Botanicals can either be directly purchased or rented for an event. My client needed a form in which a visitor can easily fill out and submit the basic required information for an event rental. I developed an advanced contact form to capture their contact details, a short message about the event, how many decorations they want and how they want them to be delivered and set up. Upon submitting the form an email is sent to my client and to the visitor with the details submitted into the form. Upon reviewing the email from this form my client can respond to any questions and provide a link to a electronic contract for them to full out and pay the rental and deposit fees.
For the rentals part of this business I created a custom contract that can be filled out on any computer or mobile device which saves a lot of time an wasted resources over the traditional method of printing out a PDF document, hand signing it and then scanning and emailing it back to the business. Electronic contracts are legally binding and simplify the entire process for both my client and their respective clients. The contract is hosted on the Astro Botanicals website behind a hidden link, each contract can contain pre-filled information gathered from the original Rental Request Form above and it can include all fees, decoration count, supervision details, extra contact details so that the customer doesn’t have to waste any time filling in information twice. Once they have verified that all information is correct they can fill in their debit/credit card details and pay either the full amount or a set partial payment. The form then must be signed and the customer must agree with the terms and conditions of the contract. Once it has been submitted both my client and the customer will receive a receipt containing all the forms details. I have set up the payment processor with Stripe who provide very reasonable flat rates for card transactions and offer free refunds which is beneficial for issuing refunds of collected security deposits as part of the rental fees.
Google Calendar Integration
Along with sales and rentals, Astro Botanicals also attends events in the California Bay Area. My client wanted an easy way for visitors to be able to see a list of events they would be attending. I set up an events listed that synchronises with my clients Google Calendar. This way they can enter event details directly from their emails (using either Gmail or Mozilla Thunderbird) to the calendar and allows collaboration with other staff members. This works really well for keeping everything updated and easy to manage.
Photo & Video Gallery
My client needed both video and photos to be displayed in a modern looking online gallery. The videos are hosted on YouTube and embedded on the website, this reduces bandwidth load on my server, provides fast loading times and ensures that the videos will work on all devices. It also boosts the websites online presence and page ranking in search engines, especially with Google.
I develop all of my websites using WordPress so that it is both easier for me and my clients to add or change content with ease. This makes adding and removing photos from the gallery a breeze. I include plugins which will automatically resize any overly-large photos (i.e. 4 MP+) down to a size more suitable for web browsing and then compresses them without any loss of visual quality.
As I develop each website I keep SEO best practices in mind. For example I ensure that there is only ever one H1 tag per page, and that most if not all images have good descriptors in their meta tags (Google has stopped observing meta keywords however) and I optimize all code and images to improve page speed as best I can.
I provide a service of making weekly backups for the 12 months for all websites that I develop, after that I charge a yearly fee for this service or it is included for free with my web hosting plans. I keep encrypted backups of all files and database in at least 3 separate locations located around the globe; two of which on different servers and another copy on a local offline hard drive that I keep in a safe. This ensures that should your website be compromised, accidentally deleted or fall victim to a major catastrophe it will be possible to recover all files from the previous week.
It is important to know your visitors demographics, behaviour on your website and how many are visiting and when. Google provides these tools to use for free. I set up and link these reports directly to each of my clients Google accounts and advise on best industry practices to make the most of the data and how to improve page views.