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  • Writer's pictureCraig Thatcher

Andrew Wicks talks about balancing website design and user experience with Craig Thatcher

Summary of conversation

The conversation covered the design and development of the Rapport website, highlighting the creative freedom and use of videos. Frontend Website Designer, Andrew Wicks and Creative Director Craig Thatcher also discuss the benefits of using Elementor Pro and the success of the mega menu structure on the new Rapport website. They mention the importance of detailed planning, listening to feedback, and the collaboration between them both that contributed to the success of the design and build of the website.

The conversation concludes with a discussion on the key points and the overall success of the new Rapport website and gives some tips for clients who are thinking of re-designing their website.


  • Creative freedom allows for visually striking designs and experimentation with functionalities.

  • Using videos throughout the website provides breathing space and prevents overwhelming text.

  • Elementor Pro offers user-friendly editing for clients and a wide range of functionalities for front-end developers.

  • The mega menu structure successfully organises navigation for different audiences.

  • Detailed planning and listening to feedback are crucial for a successful website project.

  • Collaboration between designers and developers is key to achieving the desired user experience.

  • Balancing design and user experience is essential for an effective website.

  • The use of videos and imagery can enhance the user experience and convey information more effectively.

  • Careful copywriting and organisation of content can improve readability and navigation.

  • The success of a website project can be measured by client satisfaction and achieving the desired goals.

“The collaboration of Craig, Tom, Nic and myself means the website is made-up of stimulating text, photos and videos displayed within a visually stunning website that really reflects Rapport’s ethos of being people focused, while enhancing the end-users’ experience.” Andrew Wicks, Frontend Website Designer

Sound Bites

  • "Creative freedom meant I could design something visually striking."

  • "Using videos prevents overwhelming pages of text."

  • "Elementor Pro ticks all the boxes and is user-friendly."

Chapters within the conversation

00:00 Introduction and Overview

00:37 The Benefits of Creative Freedom

03:11 The Success of the Mega Menu

04:23 The Importance of Planning and Feedback

07:34 Enhancing User Experience with Videos and Imagery

09:04 Improving Readability and Navigation

09:36 Measuring Success and Conclusion

Learn more?

Contact Craig today to learn more about how we can help you or discover how our digital marketing team developed the new website for Rapport.


TRANSCRIPT of discussion on balancing website design and user experience

Craig Thatcher (00:21.644)

Ah, okay, that's great. Let's get underway. You've worked on a lot of client projects in the past. What was special about the design and development of the Rapport website?

Andrew Wicks (00:37.646)

What was special about this particular project? I'd say the creative freedom. It meant I could design something much more visually striking and was able to experiment more with the functionalities of Elementor Pro. Also using videos throughout the site meant there was more breathing space rather than pages being overwhelmed by text, which was a breath of fresh air. Normally a client just wants to squeeze as much information as they possibly can onto a page, which then impacts on the overall design and the user interface.

Craig Thatcher (01:15.052)

Yes, I absolutely agree with that. I think what really helped here was that we started with the design experience, didn't we? Or the experience that we wanted users to have and then worked backwards. And then we had a look at competitors and also looked at organising the navigation in a new way because we had those two audiences that we wanted to appeal to, prospective clients and prospective employees. Tell me why you particularly like Elementor because it's a great WordPress theme.

Andrew Wicks (01:51.31)

Yeah, I mean Elementor Pro is good from two points. It's good from the end user so the client can easily make amendments, updates, create new pages. And also from my point of view, being a front end developer, it offers so many functionalities. You know, embedding videos, different motion graphics, lots of different things like that. So,

It just ticks all the boxes. Also, it's based on WordPress, which most people nowadays are familiar with. So it's just user friendly, really.

Craig Thatcher (02:32.3)

Yes, it certainly did the job for us. What I enjoyed most about working with you on this project was the sort of the detailed planning that we put into the project so that the client got what they wanted. I also liked the way that you responded to my brief because I had some specific things that I'd uncovered from looking at the competitors and obviously Rapport's existing website and what we wanted to change.

And of course, above all, I like the contemporary design and the mega menu structure that we talked about and that you suggested. That was particularly good. Can you talk about that a little bit?

Andrew Wicks (03:11.47)

The mega menu, that was certainly very successful, being able to break down all the navigation into different sections and aiming at the two different audiences. So yeah, that was really good.

Craig Thatcher (03:26.252)

Well, I remember you saying that actually these two pages are particularly long, aren't they? So the mega menu came into its own because it enabled people to shortcut to sections of those pages. And so it's.

Andrew Wicks (03:39.886)

Yeah, people can navigate to different sections.

Craig Thatcher (03:44.524)

And the reason for having them so long was that I wanted to make sure that once we got people to the right page, they stayed there. They found everything that they needed there rather than having to click off. And you're right, the amount of video on this site is pretty impressive. I think I counted up 20 that we embedded in different parts of it. The other thing for me that I enjoyed about this was your patience in listening to feedback.

and making changes and not being phased by the feedback as well because I engaged our client very closely throughout and there were a few twists and turns but you seem to ride out those very well so that was great. What's your feeling?

Andrew Wicks (04:37.358)

No, I mean, I think it went really smoothly. I mean, I've worked on so many projects, clients seem to think they know what they want. But when they actually see it, it does sort of develop further. So I always expect lots of little changes. I mean, in this instance, I don't think it was anywhere near as bad as I've had before. Maybe that's because of the system, it was easy to edit and sort of we did different versions so that the end client could actually see what different options would look like without having to redo everything.

Craig Thatcher (05:14.86)

I think that worked particularly well because we did a few test pages, didn't we, where we could show them alternatives. We were actually working on a development site, but it was always as they were going to see it. And I think that helped them. I was a bit worried towards the end because it went through so many different hands at the client side, but actually most of the feedback, some of it...

was critical, but critical in a positive way. So I felt really encouraged by their involvement throughout. And I guess that's testament to the fact that they're really pleased with the end result, which is good. So for me, the things that I would suggest to clients that are thinking about having a website redesign are start with the desired experience that you want to give your visitors.

Obviously look at competitors, especially the new kids on the block. Every market has them. There are the traditional strong competitors, but they're also the new ones coming up. Think about the navigation like we did and then draft the copy. So what I did was interviewed 16 different people, organised the copy into chunks.

Craig Thatcher (06:40.364)

And the thing that worked really well between you and I was that we had the big main headings that people could skim read across. We had the sub heads usually in boxes with 50 to 75 words in each. So it meant that people could skim read the top level, drop down to the second level, still skim read the headings. And if and when they came across something they really liked, then drop further down.

And that for me worked really well because there's about, I think, 4 ,000 words on that website. And it's not a big website in terms of number of pages. So I know you said earlier on in our discussion that most clients like to cram a lot of information in. Well, we've managed to get it in. But the way you've designed it is that it feels it's got plenty of space and you don't feel hemmed in by it.

Andrew Wicks (07:34.894)


Andrew Wicks (07:39.182)

Yeah, I mean, I think that's the thanks to the videos and the imagery. It kind of speaks without too many words. And like you say, we only there's any sort of four or five actual pages so people can scroll down. So it's really easy to navigate. The information is right there. And like you say, there is quite a lot of information the way we laid it out. It's easy to navigate.

it doesn't look overwhelming, which in a lot of cases, you know, paragraphs and paragraphs of text can just look too much and people just stop reading, which is why the videos are so good. Without sounding old, the younger generation certainly likes to click on a video and just gets the, you know, to what they're after straight away and the videos do that.

Craig Thatcher (08:27.692)

Yeah, yeah, I'd agree with that. The way I wrote the copy as well was with the headings, but also in chunks so that we could then move them around on the pages as well. That helped. And obviously, writing the copy meant that we developed the key messages and that helped inform the photography brief. You know, it's a lot easier to decide what images you need if you know what you're trying to say.

Andrew Wicks (08:30.766)

Thank you.

Craig Thatcher (08:54.668)

and do it the other way around and you'll end up throwing away a lot of photographs. Similarly in terms of the videos the same thing applies. For me the highlight is the what we call the day in the life films, the six Rapport Ambassadors that really get across their personality and but their individuality as well and that was a key thing for us to show that actually there's more than just

front of house receptionist roles available and that's why we choose different six different ones and what better way than to actually show real people in those real jobs. I think that's a that's a highlight for me but the overall design works really really well and I'm pleased to say our client is is delighted as well. Is there anything else you wanted to add because I think we've covered the key points really anything else?

Andrew Wicks (09:36.782)

Thank you.

Andrew Wicks (09:53.23)

I don't think so. I mean, like you say, most of the websites we build now are based on WordPress and using the Elementor Pro system. And that really pushes the technology that is available now. You know, everything's responsive, embedding of videos, motion graphics, everything can be embedded. So you get that rather than just a really good design, user interface is there.

and the end user experience. It's making sure there's a balance between design and user experience. There's no point having a website that looks really nice, but it's really clunky. And again, coming back to the mega menu, being able to navigate was one of the key things on a website where there is a lot of information, but being able to break it down into little chunks so people can go and get straight to what they're after.

So I think it was really successful, one of the most successful websites I've certainly worked on.

Craig Thatcher (10:57.1)

Okay, that's great. Right. I think that's it. Thanks. Thanks very much.

Andrew Wicks (11:03.406)



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