Nathan Wrigley: 00:01 Welcome to the WP Builds podcast, bringing you the latest news from the WordPress community. Welcome your host, David Waumsley, Nathan Wrigley.
Nathan Wrigley: 00:21 Hello there, and welcome to the WP Builds podcast. This is episode 146 entitled refining our website building process with James and Martin Coates. It was published on Thursday the 19th of September, 2019 my name is Nathan Wrigley from picture and word.co. Dot. UK, a small web development agency based in the north of England. And just before we begin, I've got a few links I'd like you to follow. Please head over to the WP Builds.com website and over there you're going to find a whole bunch of links in the menu at the top. But the first link I'd like to mention is the subscribe link. It's WP Builds.com. Forward slash subscribe. If you head over there, you can join our mailing list. I've got two mailing lists, one just to inform you about this podcast coming out and the other one about deal alerts that are coming up. And there's also links on there so that you can subscribe to us on your favorite podcast player.
Nathan Wrigley: 01:19 Join our Facebook group of over 2,200 word all being incredibly polite and helpful I have to say. And there's things like links to our youtube channel and Twitter feed and all that stuff as well. The other link I'd like to mention is WP Builds.com forward slash deals. It's a bit like black Friday, but every day of the week we've got a whole bunch of deals on there. If you head over there, if you're in the, in the market for some WordPress plugin or theme or service head over there, cause you never know, you might find a coupon code to get yourself some significant discounts, people that are making use of those every day. I think. So that's, that's absolutely fabulous and thanks to all the people who've contributed those coupon codes for their product. Um, um, I'm sure our community are very appreciative. And the last one probably to [email protected]. Forward slash advertise.
Nathan Wrigley: 02:10 It does help to keep this podcast going. The the revenue that we create from advertisers. Uh, very grateful to those people who advertise. And uh, I would certainly welcome some more of you if you'd like to get your WordPress product or service in front of a wider audience. A bit like these guys have done, the WP Builds podcast was brought to you today by WP feedback, our client communications eating up all of your time. If so, check out WP feedback, a visual feedback tool for WordPress that is specifically designed to get you and your clients on the same page. Checkout WP feedback. Dot co and cloud ways. Cloudways is a managed cloud based hosting platform for WordPress. Unlike others, they let you choose the server from top cloud providers, Google cloud, Amazon and digital ocean. And there are no restrictions on the number of websites per server.
Nathan Wrigley: 03:05 Try cloudways using promo code WP Builds and get $20 free hosting credit and the page builder framework. Do you use a page builder to create your websites, the page builder framework as a mobile responsive and lightening fast WordPress theme that works with beaver builder elementor or brizy and other page builders with its endless customization options in the WordPress customizer. It's the perfect fit for you or your agency. Go to WP dash page builder, framework.com today and we truly do, as I said, really, really honestly do thank those sponsors for keeping the WP builds podcast going. Okay, what have we got in store for you today? Episode 146 it's called refining our website building process with James and Martin Coates. It was often David and I that are having chats about processes and things like that, but today we've got two brothers from the UK, James and Martin.
Nathan Wrigley: 04:06 They've got an agency called impact media and they go through how they did a recent project. They talked specifically about all of the wonderful tools that they've come across. So some of those are Sass apps and then we also talk about the WordPress plugins that they have as their, as their chosen plugin for a particular problem. And it's a really interesting chat. It kind of lifts the lid on a different agency, so if you're a freelancer or an agency owner, you might get some useful tips about how to do things and we take it in a sort of chronological approach. So the first thing that we mentioned is the first thing that is done in the project. Then we go through the project and the tools that they use to achieve it. So it's a wonderful chat and I hope that you enjoy it. Hello there.
Nathan Wrigley: 04:49 Welcome once again to the WP Builds podcast. Thank you for joining us today. A little bit of an interesting diversion. We're often talking about plugins, we talk about themes we have, I don't know, people who developers on talking about the plugin that they've built and so on and so forth. But today we're going to be talking about process and we have all the way from Essex in the UK. We have two gentleman Martin and James Coates, who I met twice now at WordCamp in Manchester. Hi Guys. How are you doing? You're doing very good. Yeah, we've had a lot. We've had quite a nice chat before this podcast was recorded and we've talked a lot about a particular project that this couple and their company impact media, which you can [email protected]. Dot. UK. No spaces, nothing like that. Um, because they've recently had a project that they've come, I'll say completed, let's, let's use that word. I think it's nearly completed. And on this podcast we never really dwell on the process. A lot of us are freelancers and so we spend a lot of time working on our own process. If I was to work for a big company, a large blue chip company, I would be told to do all the time and I would have to follow the guidelines. Whereas turns out as freelancers, we've all got our own process. So the guys today are going to talk us through a website build they did recently and the things that they used to get it from conception to completion. And it's really interesting because it's, it's a lot of the stuff they used is new to me. You've probably heard of some of it, but not all of it. So I don't know who's going to talk first, either Martin or James. That's always going to be the fun bit. Who's going to interrupt to, um, tell us about this little project that you've had going recently or large projects, uh, what it's been about, what you were trying to achieve and what the brief was and then we'll get into what it was that you did to, to complete it.
Martin & James: 06:40 Martin here. Um, yeah, we had a, a client would be working with for several years and with been lucky enough to do a, a rebuild for one of their consumer facing sites, um, several years ago, which actually introduced them to WordPress as that's gone along with the rest of the company. And they're a worldwide company, again, over 110 years. And it was their big corporate site that needed doing as well as their 24 other global sites. And at that time of discussion, they were, I believe, fixed, you know, um, separate separate sites. Being that we already got the client on board, um, with WordPress arrived was to deliver them Ay multi-site environment or WordPress that they could like overarching control. Um, so the, the tough, not only just kind of with kind of a say of refresh and risking, but also introduced, um, lots of other requests in terms of stockist locators for their, for their products.
Martin & James: 07:48 And they provide bakery ingredients across the globe and a lot of them had their own products and recipe databases. So we had to work with them on designing the backend interface of WordPress to get their content in. So obviously I put it for the, for the, um, for the public to view. And along the way we obviously used a lot of toes and there's several plugins that we, we use to obviously deliver the final, um, final project. Now the project was split into three phases. Phase one was the, the corporate site, which is live and that's um, backhauls bi, k e l s.com. That's the, uh, overarching site that endings to the sub-sites. And the second phase was to deliver the UK site. And that came a site with more bells and whistles that kind of had all the functionality, all the features, all of the custom work I required built into that local site. And then the third phase was to take that second site and clone it for the rest of the world to use or put their own information in terms of products, recipes, news posts and stockists. And that is, we are with the project currently from South America all the way through to the Philippines crossing China. They're all logging in, adding their content. And what made it really good was obviously the tools along the way. So let me know if you want me to,
Nathan Wrigley: 09:09 yeah, well we'll get onto that I think in, in due course, but do the society, this is not your like brochure website for the baker living down the road. This is a, um, a much larger affair. You've got a multi-lingual site, 25 sites each with their own language and, and user input data, which has gotta be spat out onto the front end and so on and so forth. Um, so it's a big deal. How many guys do you have working with you in order to accomplish sights of this magnitude?
Martin & James: 09:38 It wasn't an easy project. Um, there's six of us in total, so everyone obviously, you know, done their bit and it, you know, definitely was one of the largest projects we've done as a company.
Nathan Wrigley: 09:50 Yeah. Um, I, when I go around the process of building a website, I often find myself at the minute speaking with the cohost of this podcast, David Waumsley, and we, we to and fro our processes. And, and although we've got a very different process, we've got a fairly similar array of tools that we, that we use to achieve certain things. We've got a suite of plugins that we always rely on a suite of SAS apps that we rely on and he's on window. So he uses such and such a thing. And I'm on a Mac and I use such and such a thing. So that brings me to this question. Let's go through the list of tools that you've been using in order to, uh, in order to achieve this project. I mean, it's a given. We're using WordPress. Um, is this current site, before we get onto the list of tools, is it using multisite now or is it just a whole bunch of single installs of WordPress?
Martin & James: 10:43 It is a multisite. Right.
Nathan Wrigley: 10:45 Okay. So we've got in front of, I have in front of my eyes a list of the, the tools that we've used. Many of them are SaaS apps. Some of them as we'll get to later are WordPress plugins. Again, I don't know, don't mind which one wants to talk it through with us, but if you want to go through that list possibly in that order because it makes perfect sense to be in that order, what you use and why you use it. Starting with the first one called slick plan.
Martin & James: 11:11 Yeah. Also to be honest, slick plan is, um, we use it for collecting content from the client. So I, where we've been in the scenario in the past, we crane word docs and files and you know, and then we're doing everything through email. We look to essentially managed citizen that if the client was to hire an a copywriter, the copywriter could jump in and provide content, provide images, we can help set up the site map and then create the actual pages that we need content for under that site architecture. So it's not like, um, yeah, it's just basically reducing the amount of word docs and emails getting miscommunicated. And to be honest, it us, when we're in our roadies wireframing stage, we tend to sort of work out a uh, content outline and we help to inform the client what they should be using on the site.
Martin & James: 12:04 If they need tax areas. I need this amount of text, et cetera. So after the wire frame has been signed up and we know this page might have this amount and a number of words on it or it's got a slider, it's got a paragraph there, we can actually input that the field into slick plan to say that we need a hundred words for this. We need a photo for here. Um, and really slick plan is used to just allow the, the client really to look in and provide the information with it's in and bonds as well as not, it's not overly complicated to use. And as I say from the, not been using it too long, but in the last sort of 18 months, um, clients have been using that and seem to get on it relatively well.
Nathan Wrigley: 12:43 Yeah, I've never, I've never heard of this one. I've tried, uh, oh myriad, different number of ways of getting this sort of thing done from, from designing the, the wire frame, which I tend to do a little bit less than I ever used to. Um, and then sending it off and then they would criticize it and then I'd do it again and then send it off and they criticize it. And then, you know what I mean? It's that back and forward with email. So the idea of this is it's one tool which you've, you now favor and it does it sitemap building. Uh, I'm just reading off their website at the moment. Content planning, um, diagram making and you can do mockups as well. But the best, the best part of this is because you've got a team, you know, six of you plus presumably copywriters coming out of your, you know, the Wazoo and um, and graphic designers and what have you. They can all be given credentials and log into this one system just to give you an idea of what the site will look like before you actually start doing any real work on it.
Martin & James: 13:40 In the, in terms of content planning I believe the guys here is that Devs, there is a plug in so you can actually import that into your WordPress in just the wet the box just to make life a little bit easier rather than a copy or paste or an export import exercise.
Nathan Wrigley: 13:53 Yup. It was there any tool that you use previously that you fell out of love with?
Martin & James: 13:58 Oh, I can't remember off the top of my head whether it was called site tree. Um, we've used gather content in the past, but I think what it's tourists gather content was a great, lovely system as well. Um, it, it all depends on the type of clients and their expertise in it. You know, it's sometimes needs to kick off on a bit of onboard training like with some of the other tools that we mentioned later. But once I got them over here it's fine. But in some cases at time, I think this is going back a few years ago now, it was like word doc days sending it in because that was easier. But you find things get missed off and this is where this becomes much more managed and then you lock it down and sign it off.
Nathan Wrigley: 14:36 Um, are you going to be sticking with this tool?
Martin & James: 14:39 We've got no plans to move on to another one at this moment. I like new and shiny.
Nathan Wrigley: 14:44 So yes that's the problem isn't it? Me Too. Well
Martin & James: 14:47 slick plan, originally it was literally just used creating site trees and site maps. So there's all we use it for and we use gather content after sleep was only develop this as you can add content to it. Now, it just seemed that we didn't need gather content anymore and it's, you know, it's like any business you want to reduce your sort of monthly overheads and it was a probably a monthly subscription gather content. So if you've got a plugin or an app that does two things, it makes sense just to sort of stick with stick player. What I say. Let's think of the client cause you know what they're looking into so many different systems or different login access cause they output cheese them off as well. Yeah.
Nathan Wrigley: 15:22 Yeah I was wondering about that because we are going to go through like a, a fairly small laundry list of plugins and I was wondering about the, the sort of burden of kind of logging into this and then a couple of weeks later, okay we finished that stage, here's, here's the next thing and here's presumably, you know, again, like everything, if you write it all down and make it a process, those emails can be sent out fairly trivially. So we're happy with this one. We like, um, we like slick plan. Um, I've never used it so I can't, I can't speak about what I think of it, but you guys seem to like it. So I'll, I'll take that as a good one. So in the initial phase, the wire framing and gathering little bits of content from the client, Slick Pan, that is your go to. And then the next one on the list is probably something that most of us will touch at some point, whether that's us in house doing it or getting somebody else to do it. It's um, it's making designs and um, and so on. And your favored weapon of choice for that. Well, the first one you've got mentioned is sketch app.com, which probably most of us just know as sketch. Um, why that one? Why Not Photoshop?
Martin & James: 16:24 Uh, I'm a proper advocate of a Photoshop and have been from for many years. That's where I've started to visual sort of years and years ago. And it was just, uh, always having a large PSD far. We had multiple sort of outfalls. Um, we've got, you know, a founder of say 30 different pages, 30 different PSDs, whereas when we got introduced to sketch, you've got one fall, you can have mobile view, tablet view, you can have desktop view, you can have each of the pages running side by side. You can share symbols as assets excite a hell of a lot of time. And, and we found a shot. We just found natural process slow. Um, you know, although there, I think that they've integrated, uh, multiple art books now and I think you can do a lot with smart objects so you can link fouls.
Martin & James: 17:13 But sketch was already doing that and it loads a lot quicker. It saves a lot of time. And I think it was about 2015 ish. I think we, we fully moved over from Photoshop to, to sketch. We still use Photoshop for you got to create, um, clipping empowers or um, you know, I think you're doing some heavy image manipulation or something. We did that in Photoshop, but they don't suddenly being poached in that or, or copied into sketch and or they need. The other big factor for the sketch move was the export features in Photoshop is a little bit sort of fiddly to get sort of retina images out. Whereas sketch allows you to sort of export individual assets and and retinas already, um, images as well. So it's a, it's been a big, big plus for us for isn't it quite good time-saver.
Nathan Wrigley: 17:58 Yeah, it does. It seems to be the, like the, the direction of travel. There seem to be a lot of people who are fed up with the Adobe pricing structure for their creative suite. I mean not fed up, just, you know, when there's an alternative like sketch, which is super affordable and so many people seem to be adopting it, it seems like a bit of a no brainer. I have it, I confess I'm no expert with it. This is not my area of expertise at all. Design. Where did you, where did you pick up the skills? How did you become adept at using sketch? Was it like a youtube binge or do you have a course that you recommend or,
Martin & James: 18:35 uh, um, uh, one of our designers uses it is, um, and I think he started using in his free time, so many come to work using Photoshop. And then when he was Greg stuff at home, you'd be using sketch and he came in, he said, I'll check this out once. And I think I've looked at first and where your now Photoshop is my baby and you know, I've completely a no, we're not gonna use it. Um, he would start using it for projects here and it was only when sort of, he'll be using it for projects anyway. And then I start using it and you force yourself to use it and you'll see that a lot of the similarities of all these apps and I think, you know, we're going to touch on Invision and things like that. There's lots of apps that do a lot of very similar things. Um, it's just understanding where they keep that particular function and then hit it around. It's, some of it would have been self. So we have Lynda training, we had yes, Treehouse, Udemy coaches, things like that from time to time we'll Google or do something. It's sketchup but you know, whatever it is and it tells you what to do. So yeah.
Nathan Wrigley: 19:40 Um, my, my, my opinion of sketches that it's going to just sort of keep going and going and potentially become kind of the default for people in our industry. And obviously, you know, this is not something which the clients are going to be interacting with. It's, it's difficult to, you know, sketch, um, presumably there's a career in being really, really good at using this app. Uh, your clients are not going to touch it. So yeah. Great. I totally appreciate that one.
Martin & James: 20:09 We're doing some work for someone that has their own in house development team. And I know from this, this might help sort of listeners, but I know that it doesn't work on PC because we've sent the files across to them and they struggle to open it. And I think that's where we introduced them to Invision. So you can kind of pull the assets out. But um, yeah, I know for PC it's not a PC app. It's just for Mac
Nathan Wrigley: 20:32 go. I did not, I've been in the MAC system for so long. Um, I kind of don't look into that anyway. Yeah, yeah. We should probably check, let's go to the, let's go to the download page or something. I can find out. It's
Martin & James: 20:43 funny cause I, because you come on both several years ago with you and it doesn't fell open and you just, you use it. So it may have at a PC one, you never know since it's one of those things. But we haven't got PC here, so
Nathan Wrigley: 20:54 it is seriously nice. I really like the way their site looks. That's just a funny Photoshop. That's genius. Imagine if it was, imagine the shame. Right. The next one on the list then. So that was basic, um, sort of graphic design and what have you. The next one on the list is one that I've, I've heard of a many, many, many, many times, but never used at all. And that's invision app, which you, while it's Invision, which you can find it, Invision app.com I don't really even know what the, the, the proposition for this is. I don't even know why somebody needs this. What, what does it do that, that the other software doesn't? Yeah,
Martin & James: 21:35 so I'm predominantly for the larger projects that require custom page template designs or very in depth for say advanced or high definition wire framing. Um, we obviously use sketch and then sketch talks to Invision and pushes those files. And it allows us to then share the Invision screens where you can stitch together a walk through wire frame for the client then to have access to my comments. So it helps us in more of a collaboration with the client. And Invision had been evolving over the years because Joe has mentioned it about the assets. So you could hand the Invision file over to a developer and I wouldn't actually need a sketch, um, license. So I would need to install sketch because I can actually get all their assets they need out of Invision, even down to some of the styles, settings and everything. So we found that to be really helpful, you know, um, with with clients we have tried other systems.
Martin & James: 22:32 We have tried one that's growing a belief called avid code. Um, but at the time we were using it, it's, again, it's probably a couple of years ago, it was being a bit buggy for us on some of the larger projects and that's a very similar tool that that does things like that and gives you kind of the style was used from your style sheets. But I think Invision has been a good move because sketch talks to Invision and then recently Invision believable thing called [inaudible], which is the next time we talk about NSX or easy, it's going in the right direction. It's if like they're all making a nice flow that comes into handy for the larger projects to, to sign up from a permit design and wire frame perspective. But kind of a workflow for the clients. We, you know, the more you've mentioned that we've done the wide frame and we want some feedback on it, Invision allows it to make those comments.
Martin & James: 23:19 So give an example of that one. Um, the, the con, the multisite, um, global one that we developed, they wanted a product custom product catalog built. So we'd done a custom product and recipe plugin in the back end. We met their existing database system but we had to put things in place and I can not get it wrong because it would have been very expensive and timely for both parties if we did. So the wireframe was very dates out, down to the values, the options to get sign off because obviously from that, this is just the backend of WordPress, we've got to sign off the client new or fill to the options that we're going to have, the requirements, it might, the development, how easy are you internally and also save less questions at the end of, Oh, I thought it was going to work like this, you know, kind of thing.
Nathan Wrigley: 24:03 Yep. So were you using this before you came to sketch or was it the, was it the amalgamation of sketch with this that kind of,
Martin & James: 24:10 yeah, all the deals, right? [inaudible] we were using Photoshop, but from the reason the, that sketch and invision works so well together is through Photoshop. We're exporting or savings or jpeg layouts of the two pages. They're not blown in all the, the pages to invision and then putting them into the order that you wanted to, to allow the clients to walk them through. Right. Then it was more work, stuff to do. Sketch actually allows you to sort of automatically send the, you don't even need to explode the pages or Maddie talks to Invision and puts the page together for you. So when you're doing revisions, it also sends that automatically and then creates a little history afterwards as well.
Nathan Wrigley: 24:50 Okay. If, um, if none of this is making sense to you, uh, apologies, but if that makes perfect sense to you and, and yet you don't know how to do it. A check in the show notes and I'm sure these guys all get in the Facebook group and, and you know, make the connection with you and give you some information about how to connect sketch with Invision. If you want to, you know, um, if you want to demonstrate to your clients through the Invision app,
Martin & James: 25:16 ah, plugin called craft craft, I Invision as well. Okay. Last, what allows you to collect sketch to Invision?
Nathan Wrigley: 25:22 Okay, great. Great. Good stuff. Okay. Um, never use that one. Um, me being me, just one person, I tend to make the layouts and I'm quite happy to make those modifications, but then, then we move on to, so, okay. We've built the wire frame, we've done things in sketch, we've shown it all. Um, with the sinking through Kraft with Invision, we've got like a nice, um, a mockup. It's got all of the bells and whistles. We know what we're doing and now we move on to something called track doc, which I've never heard of before. What on Earth is track doc?
Martin & James: 25:53 So after, um, the, the sign off for the visuals is honestly down's development when put any kind of internal tools with development and code and and whatsoever. But it's when it gets to the point on the staging server ready for sign off, tracked up is like vision but it allows you to walk you through the actual work and Gubbins of the site and Mike mark up and comments. So we use it internally and also externally for clients to then make feedback because that's when your navigations come live, your sliders come live, we'll get transitional elements come live and you can then use track that to make those comments and you can put links into, you know, if you have got something wrong or there's gotta be a change, you can hyperlink to the reference that you mean and you can actually see a work and examples. There's another kind of collaboration. So again, size a lot of time and getting a big email with 400 million bullet points and not knowing what part on the page you're talking about always.
Nathan Wrigley: 26:49 Exactly the third one down under the, under the picture of the cow.
Martin & James: 26:55 Then you can obviously read a lot of these. You can assign those task member yes, tasks, um, to individuals and they can be marked off as completed basically. Right?
Martin & James: 27:41 So this one is a chrome extension. I believe they might have a Firefox extension that installs, um, you, once you've set the site up and shared it with the client, that's all they need to kind of make the comments. You get a coding thought. We put a snippet of code in the site, if you, uh, if you're doing, I believe feedback on mobile, something like that. Um, forgive me, it's more developers, sorry. Um, but say for, we now at Invision have recently, probably a year ago now has bought track back out. So whether there's plans to then make that move synchronized, you know, without coming out and use another system. We don't know if that's in the pipeline. Um, but as I say, I'm not sure if there's a WordPress plugin on it for trekked up. I know there is a snippet of code for so,
Nathan Wrigley: 28:27 so if I'm a client and I'm, and I visit this site and you've obviously instructed me, go and install this in your chrome browser and go to the website, what does that allow me to do? Can I literally click on parts of the site and then make commentary on that? Like, okay, I don't like that font on the, the, the, the heading of that page. Uh, the, the red here is not the red. I'm after. I want something slightly darker and so on and so forth. Um, can they actually just click and comment on the site?
Martin & James: 28:56 Yes. Like yeah, click anywhere. And like I say, if I, if you picture from visuals, if you're saying scrolling down the page or sliders moving, it will then detect where on that page and drop that comment basically and you end up with a good comment list. When
Nathan Wrigley: 29:09 do you get like an email that you can then assign to various team members and so on sort of like this is your job. You do that when you do that one, you've got it. Yeah. That's cool. I like that. I confess I've got a, I've got a WordPress equivalent up my sleeve. There's one called a project huddle project huddle.io. Um, which I'm sure quite a few of our listeners have heard of it. Very similar. You install a WordPress plugin inside of your main website. So in my case, you know, it might be WP Builds com and then when your site goes to their website to inspect it, as long as they've logged in to your website, they get the same functionality and they can upload things and they can comment on things. Do you find, um, do you find this step, cause this is quite a new idea, isn't it? You know, this can't have been the, the technology for this didn't exist five years ago. Have you been inundated with like meaningless comments, comments that really were best kept to themselves or do they, do the clients use it frugally and give you decent feedback or was it, yeah,
Martin & James: 30:12 it depends on if that they don't is we liked with these obviously it's nicer ways talking to client or you know, or for feedback. Sometimes you can't always arrange them right time. So they sort of sit tools work well for them. They might be providing comments like knowing if it's convenient to them, but then they might share that with other members. And then you might get feedback that might not have been on the same wavelength site for your journey with working side with the marketing manager or so on. She might get the odd comment come in, but then it's a good thing to say, yeah, I like the idea. We can put down a backlog as a, as a feature request if you now want it to do this or you know, things like that. So it's not the end of the world and it gets documented and either shut down or move to kind of a backlog.
Nathan Wrigley: 30:54 Yup. And do you curate who gets to make these comments? So for example, you know, with your, uh, the site that we've been talking about, this sort of bakery site, I'm going to call it, um, in an ideal world, one person makes those decisions, not a, an army of people who, you know, write conflicting comments on the exact same part of the website. The Font is wrong. Oh, I love the font, the colors wrong. I love that color. It's exactly right. Um, how do you, how do you manage expectations and conflicts? Do you, do you have a conversation with them insisting that there's one point of contact or,
Martin & James: 31:26 yeah, so with this particular project, uh, Ma main point of contact with the UK, uh, moxie manager, he then liaise with other parties, but he generally work, he was out main contacts and obviously since the launch of all the other sites, he's still would like liaising with those and it's worked very well because we can just get one it list of things or feedback in one setting rather like you say. Then April saying the same thing over and over again. Yep.
Nathan Wrigley: 31:52 How long do you typically allow this process to go on for? Do you give it like a week? Do you step away and do something else? Um, you know, work on another project or are you reacting as these little tickets come in or do you kinda like leave it for a week and see what happens?
Martin & James: 32:07 It depends on the size of the project, but if you imagine a site say it had I know. So it depends if you're delivering it in phases. So sometimes we deliver things in phases. While I might just get the home page and then I'll provide feedback and we'll provide a window while we can provide design for two or three other pages and then it's not too much for them to sign off. But that widget where would only generally work on making the changes after it's all been closed off. So that does differ. You know, we will literally wait for a comment and work on it straight away because sometimes you remove the comment or see something else else and it wouldn't be be efficient. So we kind of wait for with feedback, lock it down then book the changes.
Nathan Wrigley: 32:45 Yeah. So it's interesting although we've got a very different process and a very different set of tools. Deep Down we've got the same idea. Um, you know we want things to work smoothly and we've obviously stumbled across a, a way of doing it. You're going to stick with track doc. Um, any reason to move away as it, as it proved to be worth. It's, well, I was going to say prove to be worth what it costs but I can't figure out what the cost is cause all there is is a login button.
Martin & James: 33:07 I think. I think the plan we are thinking might have been 29 or 50, 20 $159 a month or for a certainty that we are on at the time. Okay. Did run into some issues with it. When GDPR came in it was some weird thing that happened with the chrome chrome browser. We run an issue with, um, and we needed to get some, we did raise something with support and because we were under pressure with the climb, I did use a, another tip system introduced them called Zip book, which isn't too bad then you said at a developing company on there. Um, but it's very interesting what you mentioned earlier with your current project huddle. Um, I'd be very interested to take a deeper look at that as well because I like unlimited licenses. I personally don't like us having x amount of sites and restricted so users and so on. So we haven't looked at that. But overall I like the interface of like how I track that works. And while things are great with Invision, I think it's still a good move to stay with them if we can.
Speaker 5: 34:04 Yeah. Every stage here. The actual philosophy of what you're trying to do won't change that. The tools you may use may change over time because like anything, someone will come out with a different feature that's quicker. It does, you know, something better, whether it's cost or whether and, but the actual principle of this flow seems to be working relatively well. So whenever we stick with track back or move to project cuddle, cause uh, you said there's a 10%,
Nathan Wrigley: 34:32 20%, 20% discount if you go to the WP bill's forward slash sorry. Dot Com forward slash deals page. Yeah, I think it's worth worth mentioning. Thank you. That was a good plug like that. Um, uh, yeah. So the next one is something that I have used. Interestingly, David Waumsley put a post in our Facebook group about this just yesterday, uh, because this is, um, I'm going to say a chrome extension. It's more than that, but it's called use loom, but I'm just going to call it loom. Um, and do you want to tell us how you use it? What it does?
Martin & James: 35:06 Yeah, they, it's been a fantastic tour. Now it's funny, simple when you think about it, but it literally is a chrome extension that records a video and we coach you on a journey of a website and then if you want to you can turn your Webcam on and have it bit more personal. Now we started using it internally, so if we've got any internal feedback for the guys when they were on a project, it's got videos because you're recording the video, you can literally open another tab and go, you know, this needs this functionality on the site needs to buy this and this. Um, and then we've also used use loom links in the trek doc feedback, you know, things. I think it goes together. I would look at, sorry, the biggest thing for this, for getting from a reader's perspective is when you talk to someone and they say, I want to make that button red.
Martin & James: 35:53 And you're saying what your button, you're talking about the video and I will do to a of the mouse and literally pinpoint which area you're talking about. So again, even if you weren't using something like invision for your track dark, you could use use loom and record the video and say this paragraph, I want this update to this bit of text or something. It just makes it really easy and visual for someone to understand what's going on. Yeah. And we slowly introduced it all for feedback from clients as well. So bear only mind you having a bit more onboarding. There's a bit more learning but it makes life a lot easier than if phone call or biggie emails. They can literally in their own time record a video and since we've done that, try and do one to two minutes rather than 30 minute video.
Martin & James: 36:34 You live in land and it's just become easier, you know? Or they might have an idea if you think of scoping out and they project, so they've got an idea for a new feature. They can actually record a video on their own time sharing what they need to send you out here. We can watch it at depths, can watch it, is everyone can watch it and get an understanding. And then from that when we record training videos, so we do a lot of onsite training approach, but then we'll do the bite size usually with videos that go in the back end of the dashboard.
Nathan Wrigley: 37:02 I've kind of given up on, um, emailing written replies to just about any client query and instead using the equivalent of loom, I use loom a lot. I also have an app called cloud app, which basically does exactly the same thing, but it also allows me to sort of like capture screenshots and annotate them a bit like something like a Skitch used to do. But it's the same principle. But I've never, never, and this was David's question, I never, never got a client to use it, um, ever. And I think that's a really good, as long as you can coach them, not to give you the 40 minute, uh, extended play version. You know, the director's cut of the, uh, the problem with the red button. Um, that's great. I think that's ingenious. I love it. I absolutely love it. And who, who would have thought five years ago a tool like that would exist, which is so ludicrously simple.
Nathan Wrigley: 37:52 They've got a pro plan, I think they've just released and they've also got a desktop app. Now, I don't know what the benefits of those arts probably you can annotate the, the, the, you know, the, the video with text or something. I don't really know, but it, I'm going to throw another one at you. I have another one called crank wheel, which is a very bizarre name. It's a chrome extension, but what this does is if a client phones you up, so you're actually on the phone, you enable crank wheel and it, um, it creates a, a short link. So I can't remember what it is, but it's very, very short. And you read it out to them over the phone and then they type that into their browser. And whilst you're speaking on the, they can see what you're doing on your screen. Um, and, and, and there's no audio because the whole point of it is you're already on the phone. And I, I've, I found that to be really useful as well. So you know, you, they phoned you up, there's a problem, right? Go to this link and we'll fix it and I'll show you how to do it for next time. And that's been quite good. Um, but yeah, video, absolutely brilliant. And that moves us on to testing Bot testing bot.com. I think we're probably from its name, have a vague idea of what this is. What, why do you, why do you use this?
Martin & James: 39:09 So some of the largest sites, um, when they've got a lot of say custom features and functions is there for um, manual testing and automated testing. And both of them also record a video. So if you've done a low written, an automated test script, it would automatically test, it could be a contact form, for example, or a big application form. It was submitted, it record a video, but then you could then assign that set of roles to different devices, different browsers. So if we get a request that it's, you know, the sites got rebuilt for I know him 10 and 11 compatibility or things like that, we can spin up one of those machines. It recorded the videos, um, for ongoing work and support after if we ever had in any updates. Um, we can use that and run automated tests as something we look into. Um, rollout this year is linking it with things like big bucket where we can um, deploy it, uh, before we deployed the code. It can set off a, an automated test. If it fails, it won't deploy the passes and you go into the deploy pipeline. So a very handy tool for us.
Nathan Wrigley: 40:15 Yeah. So d when you say you write these little tests, this is, how is that done? Do you, is that like a gooey, a user interface where you, you tell it what the URL URL is and then you sort of highlight, okay, I want that field filling in. It's a text field. I want that field filling in. It's a submit button and I want to check for this, this, um, I don't know this text message coming back returned or how do you even set up these [inaudible]
Martin & James: 40:39 so that, um, we've been using a thing called selenium, which is like, um, forgive me again, not the self been doing it, but it's like a, a framework for testing, um, that you would write that sends to testing. Um, from there you would tell it to look at the classes and ids. Oh, okay. And there's Ha and then would tell it to input this and what's the expected result is going to be yes, yes. Or now or foul, go to the next, post it. That's how it generally works. At the end of it. It's, it'll provide you the feedback pass or foul. And I think in some cases if it fails, you can then send off notifications for slack or email that things have failed and so on.
Nathan Wrigley: 41:19 Okay. So basically it's keeping you aware and obviously with a bit bucket integration it's, it's alerting you before you push something which ultimately breaks, but it's keeping you aware of of the, well it's like a sort of care plan thing isn't it? You this site is working, we can prove it's still working. The tests that we set up a are passing every time. What about the, the whole manual thing, do you ever actually get human beings, cause this company apparently does one of their, their strapline is automated and manual browser testing. Do you actually ever get physical human beings to sit down and do this stuff?
Martin & James: 41:52 Ways and presented it to clients as an option. So it's the one, the way it's produced is user testing.com they charge you. So you'd set up a, I want to how many people? And you can select sort of the demographic and everything else that you want and then you get real time based recordings and again screen recordings as well. If someone using a site and you can just set tasks as well. I want someone to buy a product and then they carry that journey. They're gaining just that from a client's perspective. If you've got, you know, already a quite a long list of, of, you know, largely part of the process and then you can add something further testing sort of budget flows. If the clients say on the Patrick and I've got the timeline there, then it's always a nice thing to get that manual testing and feedback.
Martin & James: 42:35 If you were going to go along the lines of accessibility test, and I remember we went to work camp last year to give me a comment that the company that they specialized in that manual accessibility and disability testing facility, if you've got the client and the, and the requirements in there in Apache, then the more test in the area, because you can never test enough. We said the dream so early it was a, you know, you'd have everything in the process, you'd have copywriters and photographers, but you've declined timeline budget and you always go for it in some way.
Nathan Wrigley: 43:08 Yeah. And this is one of those things where it, you know, nice to have it. Um, but not necessarily, uh, essential. I do like it. It's a great, you know, if you, if you're an enterprise client and you've paid really good money for your site to be built, this stuff I think would be derive rigor. You know, you're not going to miss out on this and not the whole manual thing and listening to what somebody says and watching the flow of the cart because you know, people skipping their, their shopping cart and leaving it in, abandoning it, that could be costing you millions if somebody simply doesn't understand what to do next. And also it gives you, I suppose as a website, the, you know, the, the nice kickback of this is you also as a, as a web designer and a developer get a bit of information about, okay, next time we'll do it that way first. Um, you know, we, we, we didn't do that as well as we could have done a, yeah. Fascinating.
Martin & James: 43:57 So another two months, very net, that's more of a, a post launch tool that we can put English with his hot jar that you might heard about.
Nathan Wrigley: 44:06 Yes, yes, yes. In need for heat maps,
Martin & James: 44:09 big time for recording, you know, um, hate maps and videos of what their users are doing and so on. And you can tag it specially and, and stuff like that.
Nathan Wrigley: 44:17 As Fun. Watch those actually happening live. It's curious watching. It isn't, it's really, I feel a bit, it feel a bit weird watching people on, on websites, um, as they're browsing around and seeing what they're doing.
Martin & James: 44:29 It's a great way that, um, if you're looking
Speaker 5: 44:31 for an office to sow 10, eight, besides live, it's functional. You know, you're getting traffic to it to be able to look at what people are doing. And if you've got, you know, you've, you've done IB testing on a home page, you said, I think this is going to be the best version. Or you've, you've discussed internally that this is the page layout and then you find out that the user is not doing the expected journey you want to do. Absolutely. Yeah.
Martin & James: 44:55 We are. If the coin is declining, we've got time. We generally, um, when we're onboarding a new client, how do we know in times I tend to go Google analytics to look at traffic, but if they've got the window, we like installing hotjar anyway for a month just to review what the data, when the current site is doing before you even consider. But the redeveloped. Absolutely. Right. That was going to be my next point is you've got to have data. You can't just sort of put hotjar on or the whatever rover you're using and then two days later go back and get anything meaningful. You've got to wait and wait. And then actually it is amazing how quickly it comes in and suddenly the whole screen is red and you think, Oh God, they don't know what they're doing. The whole screen is red. Uh, yeah.
Martin & James: 45:35 Brilliant, brilliant suggestion. There's um, there's just been a product out on one of the sort of website deal sites called Cox, c u X. Dot. Io, which does a very similar thing. Um, maybe that's one to check out as well. And then the final one on the list of, uh, software as a service or apps to use is bit bucket that suppose we need to dwell on that too much. It's version control and sort of repository for things. Anything particular about that you'd like to talk about? Obviously we'd probably use it. I could one else with obviously keep versions and the code and just the thing this year, like we deploy look into deploy like more the pipeline for rather than a straight deployed, we're going to link into review code because we are working with all third parties. They might be competing code, a code, the code reviews yet.
Martin & James: 46:23 And that's where I'm looking to integrate. This is what this is testing Bot, um, as well. Oh, I see. So it's don't commit because it's failed. Yeah, that, that is a really nice step actually. I think that's really ingenious. And then we've got 'em we're going to change tack completely and now we're suddenly, we're changing to WordPress itself and we're talking about plugins that we've used and you've got a list of what have we got? Two, three, four, five, five or six WordPress plugins that you've used that you like this project, this project needed. What are your, um, what are the ones that you're going to mention? So, um, one of the requirements here, um, that there are 25 websites and needed to be multi-lingual. We had to do 13 languages in the end, which the client got translated and, and WPML was our plugin of choice.
Martin & James: 47:12 Moreover, compatibility with other plugins. That's why most as it could have been gravity falls and so on. Cause I know there's some other great plugins out there but it's been a fantastic plugging for us and helped us obviously at a luck with the translations. Um, one of the biggest with this particular project that we worked on, um, this, this phase two, phase three approach, I mentioned the, the phase two is like, let's say the king's set up and we managed to get it translated from English into another 12 languages, taking it to 13. And then the I was, that was the entity per week for the rest of the world, which goes on to how we cloned it. And that's where Ennis cloner that we found to be a fantastic plugin that allowed us to literally clone the site. We wanted set up the obviously URL, what it does, the URL rewrites itself and managed to deploy it a lot quicker in a multisite environment.
Nathan Wrigley: 48:07 I mean, I'd confess, I've never even heard of this one and s cloner so it's um, and so it's wp.org forward slash plugins ns hyphen cloner hyphen site hyphen copier. Um, cool. I mean, I know that like cloning, I mean there's a million ways of doing this, you know, from the command line right through to probably a hundred different plugins. This one never seen before, but I know it's hard to do the whole like sucking out a multisite site, uh, individually. Um, and a lot of plugins simply don't do that and you'd been happy. No fails, no ruptures,
Martin & James: 48:42 absolutely fantastic. I mean, the reason we use that is because the, the direction of, or the requirements slightly changed from where we were going to slowly release, say five websites with the rest of the world over a certain period. And the requirement changed to actually deploy all their sites at the same time to give them a window to populate their products, recipes, news and so on. So that's when it was kind of like, okay, let's, you know, we'll type this on there but we are personally never done it before that, you know, that scale from a plugin managed to clone it 23 times and everyone's been fine logging in in their content in, you know, in a quick time frame as well. Yeah.
Nathan Wrigley: 49:18 Headache gone and free. Presumably it's on the work.
Martin & James: 49:22 Well we did use the paid one but in our finalists we didn't actually use the features. [inaudible]
Nathan Wrigley: 49:28 still good too good to give. Never settle who looks like the developer for this. The uh, the cash I suppose just to keep that stuff going cause it's great. Um, yeah, never used it, never heard of it. But I'm glad. I'm glad to have come across a new one because it's always nice to have a few. Um, obviously. And then the next one, we all know, we've all heard of this one gravity forms. Any reason that one over another one. Is there some connection between that and WPML or compatibility that works?
Martin & James: 49:55 Yeah, a bit at WPML at the time. And I think we had tried contact form seven and other ones in the past. And what took us several years ago was we ended up using gravity forms were very complex application process for a company. Um, and we loved all its features. We train clients on it and it's just become easier. I know there's lots out there. They will have their pros and cons, but it went into it, you know, when their application forms, their contact forms and everything and it's, you know, the client was also used to be using from their existing consumer facing site.
Nathan Wrigley: 50:25 So you're using gravity forms to the data from the clients. I you, so this, this information that they're putting in is going through a gravity form.
Martin & James: 50:34 Uh, so for the client, gravity forms would have gone in, they've got a, a vacancy module in there and then the submission of the application would have used repartee codes. Okay. Okay.
Nathan Wrigley: 50:44 People are obvious options. You know, you've got WP forms and Ninja forms and formidable and all of that kind of stuff. But I think you're right. If one works and they've got no problems with it, use it, stick with it, learn it, make, make you know, understand it truly very well. And then this one's nice. Um, presumably this is for the benefit of the client, not so much you WP one oh one, which is a suite of training videos that you can drop in and the client can watch. Is that, that's what you're using it for? I'm guessing?
Martin & James: 51:11 Yeah. So, um, all the sites that we develop, it's very, uh, we generally would support them after anyways with the support plan. And one of the parts of it is using WP [inaudible] in the backend for them to keep up to date with the latest WordPress videos. We do provide remote and onsite training, but if the client is onboarding new staff and training, they just come in very handy to go over the basics. Then we use use loom videos and actually use the WP one-on-one custom video area to put it in our own ones. Because you know, products area on this site that we launched the recipes, they're not standard WordPress stuff. So they're videos. We've done that use as a WP one-on-one plugins into to put them in.
Nathan Wrigley: 51:54 Okay. Uh, so with WP one oh one, I've, I'm not a user, I'm not a subscriber. There's an option to actually dropping your own videos and it sits with their stack of videos. But obviously they're, they're costumed to whatever it is that you've built for them. That's cool. And then a white label CMS, do you, um, do you use this to sort of hide the existence of WordPress or you're happy saying this is WordPress? What, what you're doing with that?
Martin & James: 52:18 So we were pretty happy with scent. It's WordPress. Um, we put in client logos to make a bit more personal to them. And the reason we use that for this particular project is air contact. Being UK was then the contact had to deploy with the rest of the world. So we needed to make an onboarding. They, at this point would've had remote and onsite training and you know, and so on. But obviously guarantee it'd be lovely to travel the world for training or do you know or we could have done within hours? Yeah, there was lots of custom use loom videos done on their site. All in English. They all the companies obviously spoke English, so it was fine. We didn't have to use any subtitles or anything, but then they went into the white label CMS or as they locked in I a very clean dashboard without all the other stuff that loads you left hand panel. Just had what they needed to because if it raised questions and contact was going to be overwhelmed with feedback of things I didn't really need to know or understand and that worked really, really well because yeah, we've got some audit logins on the site and we can see when they're looking in what pages are updated. We haven't spoke to them. They are using the videos, they're using the dashboard and populating their content and they've not had any one to one WordPress training either, so it's been fantastic.
Nathan Wrigley: 53:31 Yeah. Again, there's a whole load of other options. There isn't. I know that for WP one oh one, you've got things like video user manuals and a white label CMS, which is also from the guys who make video user manuals. Um, there's things like, um, oh white labels so well there's a whole bunch of other plugins. Should we say? I know that wpm you devotee one called Brenda, I think it's just been rebranded to um, and, and all sorts. I can't even remember the names of them off off the top of my head, but I know that white label CMS is a nice, straightforward on, it's just been updated. So, uh, so there's obviously a lot of work gone into that recently. That is cool. Do you know what, you know, we've been talking for 50 minutes and it seems like about eight. Um, but that's it.
Nathan Wrigley: 54:12 That's your process. That is a really interesting set of tools. Um, and it w it, like I said, right at the top, completely different to mine. I me, there's just me, I've got nobody to report to except me and the clients. So I have a completely different set of things that I use. No doubt. Whoever is listening to this will go, yeah, I use that. I use that. I don't use that, I don't use that. But they look like interesting tools. What I'll do is I'll put all the, all the links in the show notes if you want to go and click on them and download, find views and I'm sure that um, Martin and James will make themselves available when this podcast goes live. Thanks for coming on today guys. Just before we finish, I always leave two or three minutes if you want to drop her to a Twitter handle or a promotional bit of content or you know, your web address, whatever. Uh, the floor is yours. Talk about yourselves.
Martin & James: 55:02 Yeah. So, uh, impact media. Um, we are brothers as you probably mentioned. Um, we're a dedicated, um,
Nathan Wrigley: 55:12 no, actually I didn't know if you stood next to each other. I wouldn't have pinned you as brothers. Anyway,
Martin & James: 55:18 a dedicated WordPress agency and we managed to be fortunate enough to get involved with word press in around 2009. Um, we initially started bolting it in as a blog, a blog as you do with kind of some custom, it's like not very good CMS. So C word WordPress com come out. And then obviously nowadays that everything's built from WordPress CMS. So I'm, yeah, and then I say a typical approach is to provide clients a, a custom solution would generally take their existing website to the next level. So they might have had a site that's restricted. I might need to integrate with a third party system that might need some custom page templates designed. And that generally comes over to air flow of obviously designing that from the ground up basically. Uh, we usually see it as a kind of the four kind of types of businesses. And you've got this, this stage one business that, um, is a start up and buy generally water, water carrier projects in sales. They model need, really need to know or understand what they need from the website. So anything
Martin & James: 56:24 that's going to serve as a purpose until people start hitting their website and they start seeing the value in a contact form or this needs to do this and this needs to talk to that. They need to start going to the next stage where they might be looking at something like press things and templates where again they might be an off the shelf solution that is going to serve their industry and like Martin marching cities. When you say, I don't know, you're going to state Asia for example and you are about into your backend CRM system. So when you're uploading properties like an automatic on right move and on your website at the same time, that's when you might need that next level sort of capability and that's when you speak to someone like ourselves.
Nathan Wrigley: 56:59 Very cool. So James and Martin cotes from Impact media.co. Dot. UK. Thank you so much for coming on and tell us, tell it, telling us all about your, your process of your latest build. Nice one. Cheers guys. Thanks very much. Well I hope you enjoyed that. That was certainly refreshing. It was very nice to chat through these problems and solutions I may add with somebody other than David. So yeah, really nice to chat to James and Martin Coates. I don't know how it is that they managed to to be brothers and work together and still be friendly but they seem to manage it well enough. Hopefully you got some useful tips in there. Perhaps you've written down some new tools. If not everything that we mentioned pretty much is in the show notes. So if you go over to WP Builds.com you'll be able to to find the podcast in the podcast archive and uh, and you should therefore be able to click on links to go to the tools that were mentioned.
Nathan Wrigley: 57:55 The WP Builds podcast is brought to you today by WP and UP one in four of us will be directly affected by mental health related illness. WP and ops supports and promotes positive mental health within the WordPress community. This is achieved through mentorship, events, training and counseling. Please help enable WP and UP by visiting WP and UP.org forward slash. Give. Okay. That's it. We will be back next Thursday for a brand new podcast. We'll also be back on Monday for two reasons. The first one will be our weekly WordPress news roundup. We have an audio version of that, which comes out very early in the morning, UK time. It's about 20 to 30 minutes long, and I sum up the WordPress news, but also we have at 2:00 PM UK time, we have the live version where we talk through that news with some special guests. So join us for any and all of those things, and all I've got to do now is fading some cheesy music and say, bye bye