James Dowen

Category: Case Studies

My thoughts on the 2019 16 Inch MacBook Pro

Since 2017, pretty much all of my work was produced from the then-new 2016 15 inch MacBook Pro with the touch bar. I never switched right away, as I was a stubborn Windows user at the time and sworn by it, but after some temptation (well, peer pressure), I made the switch and bought the 16GB RAM model off Amazon at a slightly reduced price.

I never looked back, and my Windows tower PC has been locked away in the garage ever since. I’m not even sure it turns on now.

Anyway, fast forward to 2019 and I’m in love with the MacBook experience. So in love that I ploughed nearly £4,000 on a more specced our 16 inch MacBook Pro in November just gone.

The specification I ordered.

I’ve now used the 2019 model for just over a month, and it fulfills every one of my needs and brings some much welcomes improvements on the 2016 model, including;

  • The new scissor switch keyboard, which hopefully means I won’t have to take this laptop to Apple 3 times
  • The return of the escape key, which is so much more developer friendly
  • The 16 inch screen, of course. That extra screen space actually makes a huge difference
  • The extra power with the much higher spec configuration

The MacBook is perfect for me because it allows for portability within seconds, but also allows me to use in “desktop mode” while connected to my ultrawide external monitor (which is 90% of the time).

Bringing PTW Sports to the leading edge

Through a mutual connection in the USA, Gary Cohn of PTW Sports contacted me regarding building a new internal and external system to increase the efficiency of his business and to boost conversions – leading to more sales.

PTW Sports’ investment included a system that allowed for the following to happen:

  • Internal staff to design and create forms for the events that they run across the US, and the consulting services that they offer
  • These forms can then be published directly, allowing customers to view and fill out the forms
  • Form data is collected in the system, and processed so that it can easily be used for registers, imported into external software, and so on
  • Based on the data customers have entered, they will then be prompted to pay their fee. Depending on the option, this will be a one off fee, or the system allows them to create a custom tailored plan, paid over their choice of monthly term

After deployment of the system, which seen an instant success by bringing benefits to the company that they never even knew existed, Gary wanted to invest in the company website. The website is a key selling point for PTW Sports, as it’s a point of reference for all upcoming events, company information, FAQ’s, and also acts as a strong lead generation platform for the company. His old website was not performing, and looked even more outdated than it already did when the new system was deployed.

A wise move was made to move forward with the redesign and rebuild of this website, which is now like at https://ptwsports.com

Gary is really impressed with the look and feel of the website and the system, as well as all of the functionality that the system offers. He had the following to say about the service I provided:

“We have contracted with James on several critical projects for Play to Win. He developed programs and a site for us that made our company relevant, leading edge, and focused. Our site is clean and direct and our ability to be proactive with clients and prospects has never been better. We are so thankful and appreciative of everything he has done for us and we look forward to our next project.”

A new website for Certes IT Recruitment

Certes approached me with the vision of bringing their current website at the time up to a more modern and sleek design, that better reflects the industry that they serve – IT recruitment. In a competitive market like this, it’s important that well established agencies like Certes maintain their high profile web presence with an update to date website to stay current. Below is how their website looked prior to design and development work:

As well as providing a new design, we also worked on eliminating many unnecessary pages, especially after they were advised of how easy it is to lose a users attention, and how simple navigation is vital to creating a positive user journey on any website.

The job searching process is more streamlined than before, allowing users to easily search for jobs through various filters. Following that, the simple application process is made simpler if the user has an account, allowing them to easily apply to jobs without having to fill in their information or upload their CV every time.

We developed an API alongside their job software provider to connect the two systems together, meaning when jobs are posted on their internal systems, they are also pushed to their main website. This works both ways; as when a user applies to a job, this application gets automatically sent to their internal software.

Content pages are also much easier to digest, with a reduction in lengthy text and the introduction of more relevant imagery.

Overall, Certes is well deserving of their long overdue redesigned and redeveloped website. Visit their new website at https://certes.co.uk/

Building a user content generated website

I’ve recently worked on a lot of projects, all of different shapes and sizes – which of course keeps things interesting. Crownion is a content generation site aimed at the African market, specifically Nigeria. The site allows for quizzes, surveys, and lists – collectively referred to as “Vibes” to be posted by site admins, and the site users. By participating in vibes, users are rewarded with points or cash, depending on the vibes they complete and how long it takes them to do so – these can then be withdrawn at any point.

As well as participating in Vibes, users can also participate in a regular “Payboard” what runs numerous times throughout the day. Users who are able to guess the four correct numbers within ten seconds. have a large cash prize credited to their account.

As standard, the website is fully responsive and comes equipped with reliable functionality all around, including via the expansive admin system used by the site owners to manage all users, content, action withdrawals, view stats, and more.

 

A new FUTWIZ, ready for FIFA 19

A couple of months ago, I was awarded the contract of taking the existing futwiz.com website and providing a complete redesign. As they already have a backend developer on their team, only frontend development was required.

Although maintaining the same pages and features, I had to redesign and deliver frontend responsive code for the core pages and features of their website. With over 40 templates involved, it was always going to be a big task to ensure every single one was designed and delivered to the highest quality and standard.

Mainly generating their revenue through adverts, each page had to consider advert positioning to maximise their revenue – without inflicting on user experience. The website accomodates a series of both full page and banner adverts.

A large majority of the FUTWIZ target audience access the site via mobile devices, so it was of great importance to have the responsiveness of the website adapt to any screen size. The mobile viewport features a swipe navigational system, as well as an easy access player search feature – one of the most common aspects of the website.

Alongside that, with a database of thousands of players, including all player data, I had to make it easy for their users to access the basic and advanced search options.

Ultimately, the FUTWIZ website has enjoyed a well deserved refresh from the below – which better engages their audience and provides quick and easy access to the data they seek.

 

Redesigning RAMM Science

I was recently tasked with redesigning the RAMM Science company website. RAMM Science provide services and software in the blockchain and artificial intelligence industries.

James goes above and beyond to deliver clean design, clean code, on time and on budget. He was able to take my vague requests and churn out a beautiful and functional site. I look forward to working with James for our future projects. Dont hire him, because I want him all to myself. – Alain Richardt

This involved evaluating their existing website – and following a brief that they provided – to create the best solution for them. The website had to portray the services and software that they offer in a professional manor, but with a modern and quirky design to match their target audience. As RAMM Science were not too sure on what content they wanted to include, strategic direction was also given on this aspect of the project.

Below is a screenshot of how their old website looked (not the best, as you can tell):

The homepage was refreshed to the below (although this screenshot was taken from an original design concept, so it contains filler/example content). This new version provides a way for visitors to easily navigate the site, and provides two call to actions. The background is actually a smoke animation, and the vertical scrolling content slider provides needed effect:

The developer in me spotted an opportunity to also include subtle web animations, utilising video and CSS3 transitions – which compliment the design style of this website.

The new RAMM Science website will be live in the coming week once the team source and upload the required contents.

 

Rebuilding one of the nations largest pet databases

ProtectedPet are one of the UK’s largest pet registration databases, maintaining data on thousands of pets, pet owners, and microchips in order to allow pet owners to easily find their pet should they be lost. As it’s a legal requirement for every pet to be microchipped and registered on a database like ProtectedPet – the popularity has since grown.

They approached me to rebuild their existing website and database system to increase reliability, ensure it complies to government standards, and to make various enhancements. Due to the volume of data they look after and maintain, this was never going to be a quick or an easy task – but it was a task I was confident in taking on, and it was done with a great success. Since the relaunch, their website and database system has seen a 170% increase in pet registrations, and a 187% increase in revenue from platform generated sales. Reliability has also increased, with no downtime at all since launch.

One of the key features was linking microchip search functions with the other pet databases, which allows them all to communicate with each other – providing notifications when a pet (regardless of where it is registered) has been found or lost. Many use this function across the UK on a daily basis to find their lost pet, and to find the contact details of a lost pets owner.

The complex and thorough administration system allows the ProtectedPet staff to view and manage all data on their system, and to manually update and maintain details themselves, should that ever be required. Orders from the store can also be fulfilled directly from the admin system, which also provides shipping updates automatically to customers. The admin system gives the staff full control over the system, and allows them to edit various key aspects and settings that affect the day to day running of their service.

Overall, ProtectedPet is now a lot more functional, reliable, and easier to use for both the staff and their customers.

Testimonial from Joel Davis, of The Social Ad Team

Joel contacted me with an exact vision of what he wanted. He had everything from his logo, to his website, briefed in a document which he had given to me beforehand – which was great in assisting me to understand what Joel wanted from The Social Ad Team website.

I went on to do the following for The Social Ad Team:

  • Logo design
  • Website design
  • Website development
  • Responsive web design
  • Blog
  • On-page SEO
  • Content Management System (CMS)
  • Website analytics

It has been a real pleasure to work with James. He is passionate about his work, responsive, creative and incredibly fast.

This was a bespoke build, allowing for greater flexibility, easy scalability in the future, more customisation, and an overall more efficient website.

Most of my clients’ websites use my bespoke CMS to edit content, publish blog posts, etc.  but I’ve actually trialed something new on the CMS for The Social Ad Team – a new WYSIWYG editor (but a million times better than the others out there). This new content editor allows the client to edit content by simply opening up the live website, clicking wherever they’d like to edit and just start typing. How simple is that? There isn’t even a “save” button as it saves automatically. I hope to use this on all future websites.

Visit The Social Ad Team at socialadteam.co.uk.

I’m available to hire.

Copyright © 2020 James Dowen