I’ve also helped build some cool ‘real’ stuff as well

Beeching Gardens :: WordPress Website

Simple one-page website for a leading London-based garden design company.

Seqirus :: WordPress-based Playbook for Intranet

Seqirus is the second largest influenza vaccine company in the world. It is a global organisation with offices in the US, UK, Germany and Australia. Its growing client list now includes the NHS. I was contracted by Seqirius as a wordpress consultant to plan, architect, design and build a new rich, interactive Playbook for use throughout the company. The Seqirus Playbook is about what the company does. It tells the story of how Seqirus makes its seasonal influenza vaccines every year and it provides its staff with the key building blocks, tools and knowledge that they need to be on the front line of influenza protection and public health. Users are taken on a journey, from planning, right through to timely delivery of the vaccines. It helps them learn together, constantly improving their processes and ways of working. It is a living, digital resource where they can share ideas and best practices on their journey to become the world’s best influenza vaccine company. The planning phase consisted of taking requirements from different parts of the businesses (from scientists to management), aligning with the content team (technical copywriters and 2 design agencies) and establishing the best way to utilise their existing infrastructure in order to deploy new, previously unused technologies like LAMP etc. I was also required to travel during this phase including a week long trip to Australia to meet Seqirus management and the project lead. The architecture was fairly straightforward with the one caveat of Security. Seeing as Seqirus is a billion-dollar pharmaceutical with significant IP a lot of thought and effort had to be put to the security of the playbook. Ensuring only the right people could view the right content, securing this viewed content so it could not be easily copied, exported, extracted or exported too. User rights management was done outside wordpress via Microsoft’s Active Directory and this then communicated with WordPress to temporarily permit access for the session. Significant and sophisticated user tracking was also incorporated. Full security audits were undertaken. The design phase was kickstarted by myself by creating a variety of HTML5 prototypes that were shared within the business for feedback and UX testing. The best elements were progressed, the worst omitted. Eventually a uniform, usable design started to manifest itself and through wireframes, proto-framing and, eventually a static build, an ultra flexible, useable, powerful UI was created that could support and enhance the massive amount of content (interactive animations, technical copy, graphs, stats, tables, videos etc) that were required. Towards the end of the project, Seqirus design agency, Blue Dog – London, who also created the brand guidelines, reviewed the site and gave a further round of brand-centric feedback. This was then incorporated to ensure that every pixel was both visually perfect and exactly on-brand. The build phase was straightforward due to the high degree of detail and effort that was put into the preceding three phases. The most significant area was the incorporation of the new WordPress Gutenberg editing suite as one of the client’s main prerequisites was to be able to edit and create advanced pages and sections within the playbook at will. Luckily i was very well versed in Gutenberg having been developing with it actively over the last 12 months and so i managed to build an extremely powerful and flexible set of playbook centric blocks, and a range of backend supporting features that could be used to enhance the overall editing experience both seamlessly and efficiently. Another notable aspect of the build was the heavy usage of the WordPress Rest API via a wealth of handwritten javascript based modules alongside traditional php theme-based templates having decided that this hybrid JS/PHP approach was best suited re time and long-term support constraints.

UK Government (Planning Inspectorate) :: WordPress API Architecture, Plugin Development & Stack Upgrade

I was contracted by the UK Government to review, architect and develop a new set of Rest APIs for the Planning Inspectorate, the body responsible for all national infrastructure and local planning information. The Planning Inspectorate were leveraging a combination of technologies and legacy APIs to allow the seamless transfer of the different documents, imagery, data and content between their respective platforms and third parties.

Through my detailed review I was able to identify numerous architectural inefficiencies that i was then able to re architect into a simplified, stable, standardised, documented, flexible Rest API. Some superfluous requirements were sidelined under my instruction to be coded as standalone Laravel solutions in the future. The API was constructed using WordPresses new core api (WP-API V2) as a series of plugins, each one catering for a different document type. In addition to the above i was responsible for managing and documenting the upgrading of their frontend WordPress site and all the supporting environments (test, dev, staging) and the wealth of customised plugins that their stack required and ensuring that all areas of the site continued to work as desired. I also was responsible for setting up version control on all of the stacks plugins and source code.

Woodfords Investment Management :: WordPress Portal, Architecture Proposal & MVPs

Woodfords Investment Management is one of the leading Fund Management companies in the UK and it is headed by Neil Woodford the UK’s top fund manager, they are based in Oxford, England. I was contracted under a strict NDA to work on their highly customised WordPress-based Investment Portal that included a brand site, a secure client portal and a wealth of advanced printing functionality.

After a few months of fixing a variety of legacy issues and deploying some new features (coupled with my Technical Direction experience) i came to the conclusion that in terms of efficiency, scalability, cost and time it would be far better to overhaul, refactor and re-architect all things WordPress within Woodfords!

The reason a new WordPress architecture was required was the same as in many organisations that adopted WordPress early on – years and layers of code added to patch WordPress’s legacy shortcomings that are now obsolete due to improvements within the WordPress core. In addition to this the stack had a complete reliance on a third party page building software package which meant that non standard WordPress code had to be written (and sometimes learnt) at every opportunity making all updates and fixes both harder and more time-consuming.

The future too looked bleak too – the take up of the Gutenberg editor means page editors become obsolete, non-standard and impossible to support effectively and their inability to work alongside the ubiquitous WP-API was inherently self-destructive.

I thus spent the last few months researching, architecting and prototyping a next-generation wordpress based hub that would allow the agency, Jerram, to demonstrate to Woodfords what they could have in a hands-on interactive way. Once this was completed I was responsible for creating a slick HTML5 presentation based in Reveal JS and Revolution Slider to help convince the client that they need to rethink their current approach.

Unipart Group :: Enterprise-level WordPress Architecture, Design and Development

The Unipart Group is one of the world’s leading manufacturing, logistics and consultancy companies whose components and services are used by clients including Tesla, Apple, Mclaren, Land Rover Jaguar and Sky. I was recruited by H2O, Oxfords Top Marketing Agency, to migrate and re-architect all their group company websites into a enterprise-level WordPress multisite environment.

In order to deliver the right solution for all the parties involved I had to attend numerous high level meetings with the respective stakeholders, including management, to ensure that all requirements were factored in at the start of the project. Great care was taken to ensure that the overall product was both intuitive and logical to maintain, manage and update whilst allowing a high degree of creative and interactive functionality in the front end. It also had to be very secure and easily scalable, following WordPress conventions at every opportunity.

New branded sub sites could be added at will by the client, all maintaining the parents overarching brand but allowing certain areas to vary, permitting each child to have its own, unique identification including colors, fonts and layouts.

High speed, detailed, rich animations formed a key part of the front end design and in order to minimise the use of heavy videos, and not detrimentally impact page load speeds, i decided to utilize AirBnB’s Lottie ( https://airbnb.design/lottie ) & the BodyMovin plugin. This was both massively beneficial and cutting edge. The reasons are as follows:

  1. The Agency (like most) liked to create animations and adverts in Adobe After Effects. This enabled them to export their animations directly from After Effects into BodyMovin’s Json format.
  2. Json could then be uploaded / updated in real-time and remotely. It could even be pushed via the WP-API. This means that animations could be changed and amended remotely at anytime.
  3. The resulting animations were incredibly quick to load
  4. The performance of the animations was second to none as it utilises the latest browser hardware improvements.
  5. The same animations could then run in their native apps and via their smart tvs too – and be updated in real-time! Bingo! 🙂

Once the basic platform was archirected and deployed it was also my responsibility to manage the migration of the data between the different databases.

The original designs were supplied in PhotoShop and XD, it was y responsibility to create semantic HTML5 designs from these. The resulting theme was built from scratch by myself and utilised the underscores (_s) starting theme and Bootstrap 4 for the layout. Other libraries like Slick JS, FullScreen JS, Reveal JS etc were used too. There was a theme options page too to allow generic sub site settings to be added, inherited. Custom plugins were also created to allow subsites to choose which functionality they required by default.WEBSITE: www.unipart.com


Gracelands Yard :: WordPress Site

Ibiza Delivers :: Magento-based Yacht Provisioning Website

Ibiza delivers is a online supermarket offering 24/7 deliveries to hotels, villas and yachts on the island of Ibiza. It has been compared to Ibiza’s version of Ocado and is used regularly by thousands of customers including celebrities like P Diddy, Jay Z, Kate Moss, Sienna Miller and David Cameron. I have been heavily involved in all aspects of their Magento-based site from its inception and on an ad hoc basis as a Technical consultant. I have just created a new site / app for them that caters for their growing business in Yacht Provisioning enabling Chefs to order provisions for same day delivery via boat. It has been optimized for both Mobile and Tablet.

Prana Wellbeing :: WordPress Website

Prana Wellbeing is one of Londons top Health and Wellbeing centers offering a range of services including Yoga, Pilates, Physiotherapy and Nutrition. I was asked to evaluate and then rebuild their existing WordPress based site. The work involved unpicking the legacy code and rebuilding a multisite-enabled platform allowing each part of their business to function with autonomy whilst allowing management to access all key areas. The site was based on Bootstrap 3 and the work also included some custom plugin development.