When David Allen, owner of Racegear, contacted us about redesigning Racegear.com, I was pretty tickled. Not many people know this about me, but back in high school and my early 20’s I was actually a pretty big racing fan. I spent many a weekend with my parents, and oftentimes with my best friend, Becky, at Nascar tracks up and down the east coast. I don’t think I will ever forget watching qualifying from Pit Row in Michigan, our “camper village” with friends in Delaware, or the night races in Richmond. More often than not I was interested in the partying just as much as the racing (if not more) but that was all part of the total experience of being a “race fan.”
As part of Racegear, David also has an e-commerce site (shop.racegear.com), which is on a separate platform than his news site. The site is newer and had entirely different branding than the much older, main Racegear news site. Though the sites shared names and were linked to one another, there was a distinct visual disconnect, creating a confusing User Experience for users navigating between the two. Additionally, the outdated look of the news site led users to believe that it was merely a fan blog, and not a news outlet with professional racing articles and reporting.
Since the e-commerce site was not going to be changed, I knew that the best course of action was to bring over the branding from that site to the news site. This included the newer logo, the background texture, and the colors and typography. However, the shop site was built in Big Commerce, not WordPress, so it wouldn’t be as simple as creating a child theme or copying over CSS and templates. The previous Racegear news site had been a pre-made WordPress theme with a bunch of plugins to gain the functionality needed. I decided the best course of action was to streamline this by creating a new, custom theme. This custom build would have much of the functionality David needed built-in by way of the posts capability, custom fields via Advanced Custom Fields, and some of my favorite go-to plugins to extend it.
When creating the design mock-up, I stuck to the aesthetic of the shop site, using a similar container-style layout, the background texture, and the fonts and colors. I even put together a couple of sidebar “drop in” ads that David would be able to use in the future for his ad links to the shop site. For the rest of the site, I drew a lot of inspiration on the layout and User Interface from sites that David supplied as ones that he really liked during our initial planning discussions.
The new site design successfully highlights the news above all else, using a Soliloquy slider for the most recent news stories and a “Top Story” section for highlighted articles. The subsequent articles are then organized categorically by racing series, so that fans can easily find stories pertaining to the series that they care about the most. The sidebar contains call-to-action buttons to the race series point standings for the three main series, a staple to every race fan’s weekly water cooler discussions. Also, there are several spaces for ad widgets interspersed throughout, so that David can easily link to his e-commerce site. The large footer contains the more social community aspects that are so important to a thriving news site: recent comments, Instagram feed, and a call-to-action for the newsletter sign up. As you can see from the images below, the final result is a news website that is clean, professional, and has seamless branding with the sister shop site.
Sarah’s attention to detail during this project was amazing. One of our biggest goals was to achieve branding between our ecommerce store and news website. Sarah made it as smooth as possible. It was also key that when we gave her examples of things we like, that an original design be made. Great customer service, even after completion.
Well done Sarah!
Visit Live Site: http://racegear.com