While listening to an episode of Gary Vaynerchuk’s podcast, a caller asked for advice on how to expand his web design company. Gary gave some great advice about finding small business on Instagram and seeing what their current web site looks like. If its was outdated, unappealing, or just didn’t exist, that was an opportunity for business growth. The caller’s business model was akin to SquareSpace; he would design and create the website for a fee and then host and maintain it for a monthly fee. Its a simple enough action plan, and while my goal is to hone my skills and build my portfolio, the business model is something I would like to take on as well.

 

Step 1: Find a business and identify its needs.

I did a google search for local restaurants. I wanted to narrow it down to business that already had websites that needed updating. They would comfortable paying hosting and domain fees since they run an active website. I found a local Caribbean restaurant near the University of Maryland called The Jerk Pit. The current site isn’t the greatest design, nor does it incorporate a lot of features it has links for (i.e. the events page doesn’t list any past or upcoming events). Take a look at the screenshots:

 

 

Step 2: High Level Design Plan.

I want to take a minimalist approach for the website. From my own user research, a lot of potential customers who land on a business website don’t “need” dynamic interaction as long as they see the information they came for. That includes:

  • Business Address
  • Open Hours
  • Contact Number

That information more than likely will end up on the search results page (google maps, yelp, etc) before the user gets to the business’ actual website.
What brings them to the website (specifically for a restaurant) is being able to see thing like:

  • Menu
  • Business Services
  • Pictures of the food

My goal is to prioritize how this is presented to the user. A large image that represents what the restaurant is offering and the basic business information (address, hours, contact) needs to be at the forefront; especially for users coming directly to the site and not a search listing.
The menu and catering service will be the next uses of the site so those would be reworked and more presentable.