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The way that you’ve liaised with Gareth regarding content updates and Richard for the design and branding consistency, has ensured that the site has a totally professional look and will be a point of reference that we as an organisation will be proud to present to the banding community, not only in Wales, but globally! It is everything (and more!) that we could have possibly hoped for.

Andrew Jones, Chairman for Brass Bands Wales

Last month we supported the launch of a new organisation here in Wales, with a new, purpose-built, and fully bilingual website.

Brass Bands Wales is a brand-new organisation established to promote and support Brass Banding in Wales. The organisation is run by a voluntary steering group with a wide range of backgrounds and is ultimately supported by its members.

The initial launch of the website on February 4th was met with great interest from Brass Bands, their members, as well as other people and organisations from the Brass Banding world. Needless to say, this project is one with that has been met with great interest, making the perfect project to start the year with.

This project is not just another WordPress-based site however, with a large volume of data, dynamic data display and filtering, as well as a feature-rich community system for collaboration between members are a few of the key challenges this project had to offer.

The number of Brass Bands in Wales is something that projected the first hurdle this site would have going forward. Whilst having as many bands onboard as possible is great in one respect, the volume of data that would have to be added to the site, maintained, and consistency of styling between all those pages would soon create a maintenance-heavy task as the membership increases. To overcome this, custom post types have been created, consolidating all Brass Bands records, Supporters records, and Directory entries into their own sections within the Admin dashboard. What’s more, each of these custom post types has their own purpose-built forms, allowing the team at Brass Bands Wales to easily input just the required information for a Brass Band, Supported or Directory contact, making data-entry a self-explained and efficient task.

With the database structure clearly defined through the use of custom post types, the consistency of how that data is displayed on the front end, especially when it comes to page structure and styling was the next hurdle. Fortunately, the latest version of our theme of choice (provided free to our Designer clients) gives us the ability to define templates for individual post types, meaning we only have to design the one page how we like it, and the Brass Band or Supporter information is pulled from the databased and presented in a perfect, consistent structure and style. And should the layout of all Brass Bands or Supporters ever need to change, the use of templates for these custom post types means only one page layout has to be altered, rather than potentially hundreds of individual Brass Bands or Supporters pages.

Building on top of the custom post type defined for Brass Bands, we looked at how the site could be made more interactive. One of our favourite features on the site is the Band Map, a dynamically populated map of Wales, with a pinpoint for each Brass Band registered on the Brass Bands Wales website. We can’t take credit for all of this part however, thanks to the simple but effective plugin produced by Lodovic Riaudel, we were able to include a completely dynamic map, populated from our custom post type’s records, just by adding a couple of extra fields to the purpose-built form for that post type in the admin dashboard.

Looking at the last major requirement on this project – the community platform is another one of our favourites, and one used on a number of other sites we have developed. Vanilla Forums is the feature-packed community application empowering the users of this site, allowing the team at Brass Bands Wales to easily share news, offers, files and other resources exclusively with their members via a completely private forum application. Separating this functionality into a separate web application also proves to be no issue when it comes to styling, with the forum seamlessly embedded into the website itself, and also offering single-sign-on for the administrators of both the website and forum.

Finally, working on this project hasn’t been something done alone. This has been the first of what we hope to be many future projects collaborated on with Richard from Lovely Stuff Studio, the artist behind the branding and styling of many of the pages on the site, as well as the logo and social media banners used by the logo. If you’re a fan of the graphics design demonstrated on this site, be sure to check out some of his other works.

As always, we are grateful for every project we get to work on, and especially enjoy the challenge of something new. If you’re looking for a new website built, or maybe have one in need of an overhaul – be sure to get in touch.