James McQuarrie is a UK based Senior Product Manager who helps teams design, build and deliver digital products and services that delight their users.

Flights of Nancy

Natalie Chandler is a freelance marketer and technology journalist who also runs a company that sells leather bags online at Flights Of Nancy

Screenshot of the Flights of Nancy homepage Figure 1 Flights Of Nancy – Natalie Chandler’s online homepage

Natalie is an ex-colleague and long time friend. We first worked together at a mobile advertising start up that was run within the PA Consulting venture program. Since then we have worked on a number of different projects together, combining her editorial and marketing skills with my user experience and technical know how.

So when it came time for Natalie to have her own website she turned to me for help.

She had a good idea about what type of content she would like to form the site, and a rough idea of a style that she would like, and that she would like to use the popular (and familiar to her) WordPress blogging / content management system to power her site.

Understanding the audience

Before I could start the design process for the site we spent some time understanding Natalie’s target audience, answering questions about what they would be looking for and why they would be visiting the site. We also took time to understand Natalie’s own goals for the site, looking at what she wanted to sell, promote and get across to the audience that we were targeting. This allowed us to define the content and functional requirements which, in tern, I used to inform the Information Architecture.

Structured content forms the design

Once we had the Information Architecture worked out I was able to start working on the a individual page layouts and designs. Which I mocked up in a HTML and CSS prototype so Natalie and I could both see and test the designs in a browser to really understand how each page would look and feel. It took a couple of rounds of mocking up, reviewing and refining to come up with an overall design that both Natalie and I were happy met our objectives, but by working with real code and reviewing the designs in a real browser we were able to iterate through designs and arrive at the final design quickly.

Custom WordPress theme development

Once we had a working mock up of the site and its design I then built a custom WordPress theme, keeping the content management of the site as vanilla and as simple as possible to make sure it was in keeping with Natalie’s previous WordPress experience.

Flights of Nancy – Leather and Batik bags

Screenshot of the Flights Of Nancy leather and batik bags online store Figure 2 Flights Of Nancy leather and batik bags online store

As well as offering writing and editing services Natalie also runs a leather and batik bag company. Inspired by the leather and batik bags she discovered while traveling in Indonesia she now works in partnership with small, family run businesses in the region to design, import and sell her own range of bags.

When she decided to open an online store to sell the bags, she turned to me for help.

I helped her set up her online shop using the popular ecommerce solution Shopify. The store is set up to allow Natalie to run and maintain her catalogue and payments system herself, and I help out and advise if and when any customisation is needed.