45 South manages over 250ha of Orchards in the Cromwell basin of Central Otago, New Zealand. These orchards produce over 30% of New Zealand export cherries, enjoyed globally. 45 South is a well-known brand in the world of cherry exporting. As they continue to grow their website always felt like it was an after thought. My aim was to design and build a website that was responsive and better promoted their business to the outside world. This website has two main focuses, promoting their export offering and hiring staff during their busy summer season.
Breaking down their old website
45 South's website hasn't been updated since 2013. This meant that it was no longer fit for purpose. Yet their online job applications worked fine. The fact that this website wasn't responsive meant it was very hard to use on a mobile device.Possible improvements
Make the website responsive.
Create a clear visual hierarchy to highlight key areas of this website.
Understand the types of people who use the 45 South website. Serve the information that is most important to that user.
Showcase the Orchard and the fruit that that 45 South produces.
Make sure the job application form is only available when 45 South is hiring during the busy summer season.
Simplifying the information architecture
A lot of the information required on the new 45 South website remains the same. It was important to understand and think about the most vital pieces of information to show the user. The easiest way to highlight the important pages of the new website was with a site structure. I wanted to make sure I understood the structure of the information.
Understanding user problems
I ran a guerrilla test of a few previous 45 South employees as well as users who have never used the 45 South website before.
"Website felt dated"
"Did not work well on smaller devices"
"The job application worked well and was easy to find"
"Was hard to get an understanding of what the orchard and surrounding area was like"
"A video or way to showcase the orchard would be a nice touch"
Creating a responsive web presence which showcases 45 South
Making things responsive
45 South had been operating for years with a website that was non-responsive. The first thing I looked to improve was the ability to be able to view this website across all devices. Data suggested 45 South' users were accessing their website from smaller devices.
Showcasing the location
Cromwell, Central Otago New Zealand is a beautiful part of the country. Luckily for 45 South, Cromwell is their home. They wanted to showcase their local environment with this new website.
Gearing up for high traffic
45 South experiences massive increases in traffic over a four to five-month period between October - February / March. This increase is due to the mass hiring they need to do to make sure fruit is picked, packed and exported on time. 45 South receives a huge amount of job applications over this period. For this reason, their job application remains the key link in their navigation. The new design allows them to show and hide this link as and when they need too.