The AVIRE website
AVIRE is a Halma company (opens in a new tab). I worked at Halma in the PR and Communications Department for 17 years. One of my main roles was to develop the corporate website and keep it up-to-date. It is one of the reasons I taught myself website design and development, and continued to develop my skills.
AVIRE was originally four different companies – E-Motive, Janus, TL Jones and Memco. All were involved in lift / elevator safety all over the world. It was decided to merge the four companies into one.
The rebranding project was going to be a lot of work, and I was brought on to advise on the new company’s website and work with the website developers. However, as the rebranding progressed it was clear that the website would take AVIRE over budget. I was asked if I could build it.
The website structure
The website’s Home page and a few other pages had already been designed by the developers. I worked closely with Faye Bartlett, AVIRE’s Marketing Manager, to create a structure for the site. I also designed the other pages to match the pages that had already been designed, and the new promotional material and the new company brochures.
We also had to incorporate multiple companies products all on one site and make them seem a new, cohesive group.
The website build
I then started building it, which was reasonably easy. AVIRE did not want anything too complex. I created a Custom Post Type for News, as they wanted to keep News and Blog posts separate. I also created a Custom Post Type for Careers. All this made the site easy to use for administrators.
These have been kept in the company’s new website.
There were also a few more difficult pages. For example there was a History page that had a wide scrolling timeline that I wanted to make as accessible as possible and not just use a graphic. This is no longer a feature of the new site, but was felt essential to establish AVIRE’s pedigree as a new company brand.
AVIRE and the companies that made it up sold all over the world. They wanted the site to be multilingual. I made sure to code it so that every bit of text on the website would be translation ready.
I used the well established multilingual plugin WPML (opens in a new window). I found it very easy to use. The site was translated into German, French, Spanish and Italian.
However, it was time consuming inputting translations for every element of the website. Updates were also very time consuming as every change had to be made five times.
I also built a complete copy of the website on a Chinese server, in Chinese. This ensured that it would be within The Great Firewall of China. It would therefore load faster for users in China than if the site had been on a server outside the country.
This lead to another level of complexity for updates as they had to made on the Chinese website too.
The launch, however was a success. At a Halma Marketing Conference Faye, the Marketing Manager, gave a talk about the whole merging and rebranding process. At the end of the talk she opened the floor to questions. One was about whether AVIRE had come in under budget. She replied that the project had come under budget, but only because I built all the websites.