National Garden Scheme site build

Image of the National Garden Scheme website displayed on a laptop

The National Garden Scheme has operated since early 1900s providing funding and support for Nursing and Healthcare charities. As part of their re-brand, carried out by west-London agency BigFish, they needed a new website.

I worked closely with BigFish’s designers and developers to build the Front End of the site. The site was built on Wordpress with a theme built from scratch. Woo-Commerce and a custom API for querying a database of gardens were used. The site also has a members area for volunteers and an events section. More than 40 page/post templates were created, along with several custom post types for a variety of content.

The most challenging aspect of the build was the Front End of the garden search. A JSON API was created by the backend team at BigFish which in turn queries NGS’ own API. However this was only ready a week and a half before the launch date. With the backend team on holiday the week before launch (!). Because of limited back-end resources there wasn’t time to implement React + Redux. Instead the search functionality was built using jQuery. This meant writing > 1000 lines of JavaScript to make Ajax requests, build results in a card layout and on a Google map, and manage state, pagination, a gallery view, advanced search filters, favouriting, and searching from both within the search-page and the front page. This meant lots of hand-coding, lots of moving parts and little time to test.

Despite these challenges the site was delivered on time within a total of 9 weeks and with a very satisfied client. The search functions very well, with only a few API and UI tweaks needed as the site matures.