Creating the home of Gift Experiences for disabled people - Paul's Latest Blog
Founder Paul Nicol embarks on his own personal blog, taking you on his journey from diagnosis of a sight losing disease through to the present day as he makes the UK's only gift experience provider for disabled people a success in the midst of tough economic times.
Happy Monday blog readers, I do hope you have had a good weekend and still managed to get outside despite the cooling weather and onset of rain!
The Launch Date
As I have previously mentioned, my original launch date for the website was 31st May, on hind sight, this was a bad date to pick as I had forgotten about the family holiday that we had booked the week before this date! I recall spending many frustrating evenings trying to get the wireless network to work, which it did with annoying randomness and there was no mobile signal either, which ruled out alternative methods of getting connected! As a result, the launch on the 31st May was never going to happen and was in fact postponed by 2 weeks! In normal circumstances, the holiday destination would be perfect, no interruptions, no access to the internet, just a nice relaxing break! Where did you go? you may ask, well, it was a great place called Bluestone in Pembrokeshire on the West coast of Wales, I’d highly recommend it if you have a young family!
Uploading the Gift Experience content
So, the launch date was moved back to 18th June. On my return from holiday, I had the task of uploading all of the content to the website, we had a starting point of 19 gift experiences and about 25,000 words worth of content! It was a mammoth task. As part of the gift experience content creation, I had enlisted the help of a copy writer who worked with the gift experience content to turn my lifeless words into something that you would enjoy reading! Despite this, I still wanted to spell check and proof read every single gift experience to ensure that it was absolutely right. I then had to add in all the links to internal and external pages and make sure they worked etc. My wife played a key role in making sure that images looked correct and that the font styles were correct and consistent.
All in all, it was a much larger task than I had originally thought it would be, there was so much editing and re-editing, checking and double checking, it wasn't simply the copy and paste exercise I had thought it would be! So, if you ever find yourself creating a website with content to upload, plan in twice as much time to get the task done!
Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3.
In between uploading the gift experience content, I was also heavily involved with the testing, this was so very important and did raise so many small changes. There were areas of the design where my interpretation didn't match those of the developer and in some cases, I actually asked for some of the functionality to be removed, whilst it was amazing to have it, it wasn't what I wanted for the site at the time.
Never the less, we tested, tested and tested again until I could walk through the process of finding, purchasing and paying for a gift, with various gift experience voucher options, and with all of the right text in the right places! It was at this stage that my Web Developer was critical! I had so many changes, literally a hundred and probably more, in most cases they were minor spelling mistakes and other such changes, but my developer responded to every single one and most importantly quickly! He knew my deadline and worked tirelessly to get it just perfect! This was one of my biggest fears right from the outset was what if the developer produces something and it's not quite right, well, in my case, the developer was bang on and made it perfect!
Gift Experiences for Disabled People goes live!
On Monday 18th June, the site was made live, we were open for business! The site did go live with a couple of minor snagging issues, but it was nothing that was hugely noticeable or that impacted the overall functionality of the site. I should also mention, being blind, throughout all of this process, I was using my Jaws Screen reader to test the site, so when I came across something that confused me, I would flag it with the developer and we'd change it. The site is accessible to screen readers and usability played a massive part in the development process.
So Launch day you might of expected to be a fan fair event, I am afraid to tell you it wasn't! This was on purpose, I didn't want a big song and dance, I wanted to ease people onto the website and make sure that we had got things right, the concept is so different, I wanted to get feedback from visitors in such a way that I could respond to any changes quickly and put it right before the business really got going!
Okay, I now have a website that looks great, has some great gift experience content, now how do I tell people about it? This is the $64 million question! I will share the promotional work that I have done so far next week. So for now, have a great week.
A Free Gift Experience!
Whilst I remember, we are considering offering customers the chance to take part in one of our amazing experiences for disabled people at a reduced rate or possibly even free if you Raise money for charity! We think it's a great idea, but would like to know your thoughts, so drop us an email and let us know.
Please browse through our huge range of gift experiences for disabled people, if you like what you see buy it, if you don't see anything you like, tell us! We welcome feedback, be it good or bad, we think we are excellent at what we do, but can only continue if you tell us what’s good and what’s not!
Get in Touch
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