Our Capital Waterfowling Success Story By Kate Gollogly, Jackie Liu

Our Capital Waterfowling Success Story
By Kate Gollogly, Jackie Liu, and Reshma Mathew
Let us introduce ourselves; our names are Jackie, Kate, and Reshma. We are
all currently enrolled in the Web Development program at Humber College. We
recently completed our very first ecommerce website and would like to share our
experience with you. Near the end of January we were asked to create a website
for one of Kate’s friends. He wanted to start a new business with a few of his
friends and needed an ecommerce site. Kate decided to ask two of her
classmates to join her in creating this website as she knew that their skills would
work well with her own to create something really great. We first met with one of
the clients to go over everything and learn more about what it was exactly they
were looking for. He shared with us his ideas for the design and layout of the
website. Jackie took on the design of the website. In the end, Jackie ended up
designing the logo, banner (that the clients will use at events), business card,
and complete website design, all of which she completed in a two weeks. Jackie
chose to create the website mockup in Adobe Photoshop. She then created a
PDF to display all of the design options for the client, which we presented to
them mid February.
Initially, we had discussed building the site including the HTML/CSS, admin
side of things and shopping cart completely from scratch. We later learnt that for
security reasons it would be best to use a pre-built third party shopping cart.
Through hours of research we also discovered that pairing a secure shopping
cart along with PayPal we could meet both the clients needs and provide
sufficient security for the complete payment process. The client had requested
that we create a payment option for the user to use a credit card directly on their
site, as well as, to offer a PayPal option.
We faced many challenges throughout the project but together we were able
to overcome each and every one. The challenges we faced with design was that
the client was requesting a very masculine style, not something Jackie had ever
done before. When researching similar websites, none of their designs were up
to today’s web design standards, therefore giving us very little to get inspiration
It was challenging at times, but also a good learning experience working with
clients who do not have any development background. Up until this point we had
been submitting our work to our instructors who were developers themselves.
To no surprise we also faced many challenges with the technology we were
using. This being our first ecommerce website, we really didn’t know what
technologies were best for us to use. Figuring this out took a lot of trial and error.
We had never been taught how to build out an ecommerce site before, so this
was very challenging for us. Another challenge for us was the time constraint.
Being our very first ecommerce site and only two months to build it, we found
ourselves scrambling to find answers and solutions without much time to properly
research each step of the process. Our biggest challenges were with our hosting
provider, and PayPal. The customer support and constant unforeseen issues that
kept arising really took a toll on us all.
With every challenge came a good lesson learnt. We learnt how to customize
our own Wordpress theme after having already designed and coded out the
HTML and CSS for the entire site and then choosing to use Wordpress as our
CMS. We learnt the importance of pre project research. Completely
understanding the project before getting started is extremely important. Looking
back now, we wish we had talked to others that have built ecommerce sites
before hand to get some advice from them. That way we could have saved
ourselves a lot of work and headaches. We learnt a bit about Drupal during our
trial and error period for our shopping cart. We also learnt how to use Zurb
Foundations, a very popular CSS framework, which we used to help with our
responsive design.
In the final stages of creating the website we of course had to perform some
testing. For that we chose to use PayPal’s sandbox to test the payment process.
We even gave access to the live site to the clients prior to launch so that they
could navigate through the site and make sure everything was working as they
had requested.
In the end, we chose to use our own custom theme within Wordpress, along
with the shopping cart plug-in Shopp we installed with Wordpress, and PayPal
Pro as our payment gateway. All in all, it was a fantastic learning experience. As
challenging and stressful as things got, we managed to stick together and push
through. That feeling after the site was launched and everything was working
was worth all the struggles we faced. We hope that by sharing our experience
with others they can learn something and gain the confidence to take on
something challenging of their own.
Check out the final product!