28 November 2010 · About 4 minutes read

Plymouth Software Case Study: Mark Stocks (Vistas de Murcia)

One of Plymouth Software’s first customers, Mark approached me for a complete revamp of his website promoting his landscape photography and calendars. As well as promoting his photography and painting portfolio, Mark also wanted to sell the his Vistas De Murcia calendars through the website. After a chat about his aims for the site, it was clear that Mark needed something running quickly to maximise sales of the fresh-off-the-press 2011 calendar. I immediately set to work, sketching out a few design ideas and prototypes to get a feel for the site.

Phase 1 - Calendars

The new site needed to take a back seat, and focus the reader’s attention toward Mark’s stunning photography. After a couple of rounds of revisions, Mark and I settled on a very dark color scheme with off-white accents.

Initial sketches for markstocks.com

The charcoal background frames Mark’s bright and vibrant photography which makes up a continuous slideshow on the front page, instantly capturing the reader’s attention. A subtle purchase link sits within the slideshow bounds, whilst the rest of the site gradually reveals more about Mark and his work.

“ One of the strengths I would recommend in Chris’ work is his ability to interpret the essential information from the client and create designs and solutions to match. ”

The other two pages that made up this release, promoting Mark’s paintings and contact details, contain more general body text. To ease their contrast and differentiate them from the home page, they sit on an off-white background.

With phase 1 launched and Mark taking online orders for his 2011 calendar, the next step was to build a gallery for Mark’s complete archive of photos. Mark wanted to integrate a simple online ordering service such that customers could order several photos (at web or print resolution) and have them delivered via digital download.

Mark and I discussed the need to keep the ordering process simple; the process should be as fast as possible to complete. Photos would be delivered through a zip-file download, but would only be valid for one download. Payments were to be handled by PayPal Express, whilst Mark needed a way to manage and organise his growing collection of photos for sale.

A simple administration interface was built that allowed Mark to upload and tag his photos. The application also watermarks full-resolution previews automatically. Mark is able to rate each photo to dictate the order in which they will be displayed in the gallery, whilst premium photos are always promoted to the top of the list. The administration area also lets Mark see a list of received orders, and re-activate any used download links.

“ I could not be happier with the design and function of the website throughout, but especially the new gallery section that far exceeds what I imagined would be possible for the promotion of my work. ”

On the public side, I built the gallery using an infinite paging technique. As the reader scrolls down, the next row of available photos is displayed, allowing Mark’s portfolio to be viewed in its entirety on one page. I’ll be publishing technical details of developing the gallery on my development blog.

Just a few days after launch, Mark’s gallery is already attracting people to his photography. Mark is now promoting his new site throughout the Murcia region, and is planning phase 3 for launch in early 2011.

“ The final result delivers on every level and looks fantastic. ”

For more information about Mark and his work, visit markstocks.com. To find out more about applications Plymouth Software can build for your business, please get in touch or take a look around the portfolio.

This case study was originally published on the Plymouth Software site.

Chris Blunt
Chris Blunt @cblunt
Chris is the founder of Plymouth Software. As well as code and business, he enjoys being a Dad, swimming, and the fine art of drinking tea.