Website Design for Birchwood Town Council

Warrington, Cheshire

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Birchwood Town Council approached us to ask if we would redevelop their existing website which was looking rather dated and did not display content very well on mobile devices.

This case study outlines our approach to creating a website design to meet the council's needs.

These needs included compliance with Level AA of the WCAG 2.1 Accessibility Guidelines, a legal requirement for public sector organisations in the UK and EU.

Read more: Understanding new accessibility requirements for public sector bodies.


Our Approach

When the council asked us to create a Responsive Website Design we first of all installed the latest available release of Joomla! CMS on a server with restricted access (limited to the council and ourselves) to facilitate collaboration during the website design process.

We then customised the Joomla! CMS website's Content (categories, articles and modules) and Navigation Structure (menus and menu links) to meet the council's needs.

Finally, we created a custom WYNCHCO template design, incorporating the design elements described in this case study, to project the council's website and brand across the widest possible range of devices (phones, tablets and PCs) and screen sizes.

Our aim: to create a responsive accessible website design.

What we mean by a Responsive Website Design is one that will look good on PCs, tablets and smartphones and one that will respond to your needs as well.

For example: your need to be able to change website branding or the look and feel of website content.

A custom WYNCHCO template design incorporates:

  • many many combinations of styles, which we call Style Sets, and
  • a User Friendly Interface

to enable you to make such changes with just a few simple mouse clicks or finger dabs (if you are using a touch screen device).


Some choices made by Birchwood Town Council

The council chose to display a solid colour as the background to their website.

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They could have chosen to display a repeated gradient pattern across the width of the screen.

Or one large image.

They still can whenever they wish, simply by:

  • uploading an image, and
  • toggling a couple of buttons in the Template Styles screen of their website's control panel.

To change background colour is even easier: simply select a different colour from the palette provided.

The council made the following choices:

  • not to change the default Text Size and Letter Spacing,
  • to insert 10 PX padding above the Container, and
  • to add rounded corners.

btc cheshire website design container btc cheshire website design container

The council can adjust these settings any time they wish, simply by toggling a few buttons in the Template Styles screen of their website's control panel.

For example, they might in future choose to:

  • square the container corners and remove the top padding, or
  • increase text size and letter spacing.

The Main Body is where all Articles are displayed.

The council opted to display Article Details below each article in their website.

But not to separate these from the Article with a horizontal line.

Should they in future decide otherwise they can toggle a button in the Template Styles screen of their website's control panel to make the change.

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The council wanted a full width Site Banner to be displayed at the top of their website.

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We created the image shown above for display on PCs and Tablets (landscape) when more screen width is available.

And a truncated version for display on Phones and Tablets (portrait) where screen width is much narrower.

The council could have instead chosen to display a Site Title on small screen devices.

And they still can, if they toggle the relevant button in the Template Styles screen of their website's control panel.

They might also choose to display a Strapline.

As requested we linked the website's Brand to the Home Page, but the council can quickly change this anytime they choose.

For example, link the Site Banner or Site Title to the Contact Us page.

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The council followed our recommendation to display a Copyright Statement at the bottom of their website.

The date can be changed via the Template Styles screen.

WYNCHCO website designs include a number of self-hosted Google Font Family Style Sets.

More can be added upon request, and you can even add your own, choosing from more than 800 fonts listed in the Google Fonts Directory.

The council liked the Open Sans font.

It is a versatile multi-purpose font and so we assigned the font to:

  • Branding text,
  • Heading text, and
  • Button & Menu Link text

as well as Body text.

The council may at any time separately change the font assigned to any one of the above text elements.

We make this possible via the Template Styles screen of the website's control panel.

We also show how to upload additional Google Fonts in our JOOMLERS.UK user guide.

The council wanted a Fixed Width website display.

Their website sits in the middle of very large screens but fills the width of smaller screen devices.

If in future they change their mind they can toggle a button in the Template Styles screen of their website's control panel.

They might for example want to change to a Full Width display (when the website will fill the width of even the largest screens).

WYNCHCO website designs include Image Style Sets to enable you to quickly style any one image when editing an Article.

For example, you might want to display a colour image:

  • in greyscale or sepia, or
  • display it as a polaroid photograph,
  • or change its corner rounding.

But we also make it possible for you to change Corner Rounding globally (i.e. for ALL images in your website).

How? By toggling a button in the Template Styles screen of the website's control panel.

The council chose to initially display all images in their website with rounded corners. See example.

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We recommend the Main Menu be displayed in one of several Navbar positions included with a WYNCHCO website design.

The image below shows the Main Menu as it is displayed on PCs and Tablets (landscape).

Note the rounded corners of the Navbar, chosen by the council to tie in with the rounded corners of the Site Banner.

btc warrington website design navbar btc warrington website design navbar

Sub-menu links are displayed as a drop-down list when a parent menu link is selected.


Optional Extras

The Joomla! CMS is available 'off the shelf' from The Joomla! Project, and when correctly installed, works 'out of the box'.

WYNCHCO website designs are not supplied 'off the shelf'.

Each one is created in response to the specific needs of the customer.

The council requested we include the following additional features when we created their website design.

In the UK and EU the display of a website Cookie Bar is a legal requirement (see the GDPR or General Data Protection Regulations).

For this reason the council asked us to install and configure a Cookie Bar Module for use with their website.

The council were keen to showcase their local area.

They asked us to install and configure a Slideshow Module for display at the top of the Home Page on large screen devices.

We sourced a 3rd party extension and configured it to display five images in rotation.

An image caption was selected and the images were linked to the Latest News article.


Joomla! Website Design Coaching Support Warrington Cheshire Manchester Merseyside UKKen Edwards - Website Designer

Ken has more than 10 years experience creating Joomla! website designs, including for public sector bodies, in Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Merseyside and North West England.

Need help? Just ask

Need help? Just ask