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Multilingual WordPress website

Sedex is a not-for-profit organisation working to help businesses improve their supply chain responsibility and ethics.  With our colleagues at Neo (design & strategy) we have worked to rebuild their website for the responsive age.

The brief

With a diverse audience spanning over 150 countries it was important to build a site that works for everyone. This meant making sure the site adheres to best practice for accessibility, localisation and performance. For the accessibility requirements we built the site to WCAG AA, meaning that the site can be used with assistive technologies and will be usable by those with visual and hearing impairments, learning disabilities and other requirements. Despite this we have still managed to make the interface modern and interesting with subtle animations and effects.

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The site is available in 5 languages at launch, with plans to add more. The site has been built using WordPress and WPML which means Sedex staff can update the content & translations at any time. Once the English content had been added by the Sedex team we extracted the content into structured documents for the translation agency, and entered the translations once provided.

One of the 5 languages is Chinese, which caused some interesting issues. For example, the non-Latin alphabet required us to do some custom coding to WordPress dynamic rewrite rules. In addition the Chinese Government prohibits some services that are commonplace in the West to be used (like YouTube and Vimeo), so the site had to be able to handle these restrictions.

Optimised speed

WordPress can be slow out-of-the-box, so we have worked hard to improve the default page load times. On the backend we have implemented a sophisticated caching strategy, which increases response speed and reduces server load (and therefore hosting costs). On the front-end we have made a number of optimisations including compressing images, minifying resources and suppressing parts of WordPress which are not required.

Continuous co-operation

Lastly we worked closely with Sedex to ensure a smooth and successful handover and launch. Before go-live we had weekly progress calls with their internal team and SEO consultants, and we’ve worked together to resolve the inevitable minor niggles that come with the launch of any big site. The saying goes that a website is never finished; that is true, but we are proud of what we have achieved so far and have given Sedex a solid base on which to build their refreshed brand.