Guard-Lee is a small Aerospace Replica and Restoration company out of Apopka, Florida. They are one of only a few companies in the world that can build high fidelity full scale replicas of the space shuttle and just about anything space related. They have also done restorations on numerous space artifacts. Their work can be found in museums, theme parks, and even tv and film in some cases.
They came to us with a problem. Their website was created around 1999 and was now in disarray. The original website was professionally done, but Guard-Lee has never had a web developer on staff to maintain it. Updating the website on their end was understandably tedious and problematic. But it was low priority with most of the company's business coming through word of mouth.
Guard-Lee contacted us initially to do a technical and stylistic analysis of the existing website. We found that there were many irregularities in formatting and design. Without having any sort of content management system it can be difficult to ensure that kind of consistency. It also featured a lot of out-of-date content, which was a known problem.
After discussing our findings in a design meeting, we outlined a list of ideas and features to explore in a prototyping phase. We prototyped some page layouts complete with proxy images and placeholder content. We also put together some proof-of-concept systems for a custom content management system(CMS). After reaching a shared vision for the website and making some final tweaks, we launched into full production.
On the graphical side, we made some changes to fit a theme of space and space textures. The most noticeable being space shuttle tiles, though the keen observer may recognize space shuttle and space suit fabrics as well. The website also features the licensed Helvetica Medium Font, which is the same font used for the lettering on the Space Shuttle. The bulk of the work on our end was then building a CMS to allow Guard-Lee to add, expand, and manage the content going forward.
The purpose of the Guard-Lee website is more or less a digital portfolio, so pictures are paramount. The most important feature that Guard-Lee wanted was the ability to expand images to view them in high quality. This was simple enough to achieve. Each webpage is made up of articles consisting of a large Hero Shot and an optional mosaic style gallery. Each of these images are high quality, but merely scaled down to fit the page format. Article formats are fixed to eliminate inconsistencies between pages and to facilitate the addition of new articles. All website articles are organized chronologically and remove themselves when they become antiquated. There is also a "What's New?" feature that shows a recently created article on the home page. The new Guard-Lee.com is now LIVE!