Cape Town photography powerhouse Orms approached me to build them a brand new website for their new product - premium Safari Expeditions with internationally renowned photographic tour guides. The site needed to be aspirational and convincing, as well as informative. It also had to tie in nicely with the Orms stable of product offerings Orms, Orms Print Room and Orms Photo Art to maintain brand consistency.
I knew Rails was the way to go here, as the site needed a completely custom CRM to keep the tours information and photographs fresh, and it needed to be updated by a non-technical content team.
Since the purpose of the webiste is to market photographic expeditions to amateur and professional photographers, the imagery and photographs on the site had to be displayed beautifully. A key challenge where was maintaining image integrity on a responsive site - zooming and cropping an internationally award-winning photograph is just not an option!
To achieve this, I worked closely with Orms to select images that were already panoramic, and where we needed to crop to find images the photographers would be happy with having an altered aspect ratio.
Since the Photographic tours on offer would be constantly changing and the content team needed to be able to edit details themselves, an admin backend was crucial to the success of the site. This allowed all the images to be update throughout the site using PaperClip, and content teams could edit information and details really easily.
For this site Rails was my go-to technology for the backend, since I knew it would make things like database migrations, integrating third-party services and keeping new URLs pretty a lot easier and more maintainable for any future in-house developers who would take over maintenance of the site.
Having incredible photos to showcase is important for inspiring users, and prividing enough information to establish trust and serve as a resource for signed-up guests was crucial too.
To keep the site from ending up a wall of text, I added fun dynamic searching and filtering to the rental gear items, an image gallery sorted by destination so clients could identify the kind of photos they'd get on each tour and separated out the about section from a page dedicated to tour guides.
Where a lot of text was unavoidable, as in describing the tour details, maintaining a pleasant user experience when reading text on the dark background was done by reducing contrast of the text (high contrast causes small letters to appear blurred), increasing the x-height and letterspacing of the font and using a lighter font-weight.