Background to the project
Purbeck Heaths Grazing Unit (PHGU) is a partnership between RSPB, National Trust and Dorset Council on behalf of Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. We were delighted to develop the new website as a showcase of its international importance for nature, history and heritage.
The project comprised both the design and hosting of a website for Purbeck Heaths National Nature Reserve. The site required close following of the brand guidelines to provide a site that would become a hub for information about the nature of the heathland, conservation management, history and heritage, access routes and what visitors can do to make their visit more sustainable. This included:
- Building a new and fully responsive website to inform and enhance a visitors upcoming visit; to make it a more thoughtful, mindful, and sustainable visit, or to provide information post-visit telling them more about what they saw and heard
- A clean, visually inspiring look with lots of high-quality images, to create an immersive digital platform, connecting people to the internationally important nature and the landscape
- Easy to navigate, with a simple format and obvious menu headings
- Ensure the website page content can be easily updated via an easy-to-use CMS
- Include an illustrated, animated map which can be used by visitors whilst within the landscape on their phones
- Optimise for SEO and User Experience (UX)
Our goal was to develop a comprehensive website framework that supports the digital objectives of Purbeck Heaths and to promote its National Nature Reserve, giving the user a smooth online experience..
- Timeline of heritage & history – Purbeck Heaths has a fascinating 15,000 year history. Our timeline helps to contextualise this information in an engaging, intuitive and attractive style.
- Interactive map – discover things to do, cycle, walking and bus routes as well as pop up information cards for the six Purbeck Heaths visitor hubs. The map was initially created by a graphic designer to be printed material and used on display boards across the Purbecks, we were tasked with the challenge of making the map work on a digital surface, including animations, clickable layers & locations all with associated pop-up information.
- Resources and downloads – our custom built resource area is easily manageable to add downloadable fact files, walking routes and activity sheets
- User submitted gallery – which allows members of the public to upload their own photos of the Purbecks and have them showcased throughout the site.
Our dashboards are fully customised to each project to give clients quick links to their sites most used features.
Visual block options
We developed an easy-to-use set of options for content blocks. This means background colours and textures can be selected and previewed before any changes are published.
Visual block result
The results of the above options – it’s worth noting that the the colours and shapes of the page links are designed to be indefinitely sequential. No matter how many page links are chosen the colours and shapes will always work and never be the same colour as the chosen background colour either.
Image shape options
Images throughout the website are ‘clipped’, the client uploads an original rectangle image and then has a choice of shape to apply, again seeing the proposed shape before committing to publishing the page.
"Taking a flat image intended for print and transforming it in to an all-singing-all-dancing animated multi-layered map was a great challenge - but we cracked it!"Adam Montague – Senior Web Developer, Key Digital
"The Purbeck Heaths website is unique in that it represents seven different landowners and the country’s first ‘super’ National Nature Reserve. This complexity meant our scope and content for the website wasn’t completely defined at the beginning of the process which makes following a linear project management framework for delivery tricky. However, Key Digital had dedicated coordination time for our project and were always contactable.Alex Brocklesby – Project officer for Active Outdoors & Purbeck projects, Purbeck Engagement Team
Key Digital partnered with a local designer (who also created our Purbeck Heath branding toolkit) who is very flexible and adaptable in her approach. Our design ideas have been brought to life and there are some neat functionality aspects that make it user-friendly and interactive, as well as very easy to update and amend through the WordPress CMS. Thank you Key Digital!"