Rickshaw Travel UK
Twenty websites into one
Rickshaw Travel UK provide authentic holiday experiences to 24 destinations around the globe. Since they were founded in 2008 each destination had been given its own website – we helped bring these into a single unified ‘One Site’, allowing Rickshaw Travel to build a single brand and refreshing the company’s online presence.
There were some interesting challenges to get to where we are now, which we think is a fantastic looking site!
We are delighted with our new website, the team at Brightminded did an amazing job and working with them was an absolute pleasure. Not only did they work hard in delivering the designs but they also understood the commercial need for the site to be prominent in the search engines.
In many respects the biggest challenge was the sheer size of the project. Rickshaw Travel had over 1,000 pages and 5,000 images at launch and because of this content migration was a concern for the Rickshaw team.
To take the pressure of this process while still ensuring we met their go-live deadline we allowed content entry to begin before development had finished. This required careful management of the impact of code changes on the content editors! We also worked with content strategists, SEO specialists, and professional testers to ensure that the CMS and the front-end met the demands of all parties.
The ‘One Site’ was built from scratch and required a number of integrations with existing systems. Rickshaw Travel have their own system for storing price data, customer details and booking records. Each night we pull the latest prices from this system, synchronise them with the WordPress database, and update the front-end of the website. We also exchange data with this system when a customer requests a quote, makes a booking or fills in a customer questionnaire through the website. We communicate using a JSON interface, using a fully bespoke WordPress API.
Other third-party integrations included TrustPilot widgets, Disqus comments, Google Tag Manager and Pure360 email service provider.
Although all destinations were to be brought into one site, Rickshaw Travel were keen to retain the individual brand that each destination had. To achieve this each destination was given its own colour scheme and imagery which are used on destination level pages, and pulled into various promotional areas.
This feature required some creative CSS. Our first thought was that we could simply put the destination class on the body and let the colour cascade. However this would not work with promotional areas which may include resources from multiple destinations. Additionally the CSS would have to be more complex as each colour scheme has multiple colours.
Instead we harnessed the power of SASS (our CSS pre-processor of choice) to keep everything clean, and to automate the hard work for us. We created a mixin (like a function) that accepted a destination name as the first parameter and a map of colours as the second parameter. The mixin outputs that destination’s CSS for us, saving hundreds of lines of repetition.
The front-end was designed by Andy at DigiFingers. He created a beautiful and engaging design that in many respects felt like a traditional paper brochure.
Because of the high level of detail, many areas of the design could only be achieved with the use of images. This presented a challenge given that performance was understandably a key concern of the Rickshaw team. In the end we worked hard to reduce the impact of this by using modern CSS techniques (icon fonts were a godsend), and by heavily compressing all our assets.
We cannot wait to work together with Brightminded on taking our website plans even further. Thank you Brightminded – for us all to be still smiling at the end was no mean feat!