They have chosen to redesign their website using a more traditional database (CMS) that integrates with their existing software. The side effect of that decision is that it now breaks continuity with their printed catalogue, which was the primary requested feature for the website they wanted us to design.
It is to use the floating width layout and have each product page displayed similar and in the same manner as their printed catalogue. This means that each product page on the website should include the same products as displayed on the relevant page in the catalogue. Every product is assigned to Sections and each Section is divided into Categories. Numerous products are also grouped under a common product name, with others being displayed individually. The catalogue also uses different layout in different sections, with some pages only including 2 products, with others having over 9.
This presented a slight challenge for the website in that traditional Content Management Systems can't be tailored to do this. Usually they have a fixed number of products they wish to display ( per screen ) and would therefore be unable to replicate the varying number of products displayed per page that was requested. It could be possible with some additional configuration, but we chose what we considered to be a more manageable solution.
Numerous applications were written or adapted from the existing Country Care website. A few of the unique applications are:
Page Number Management
As each Section of their catalogue had a specific number of pages, this application allows the website to mimic the catalogue and ensure that each web page displays the same products as the printed page. So each section on the website has the same number of pages as the printed catalogue. Each section then provides a list of all page numbers it contains to allow for quick navigation to any desired page.
Product Search and Quick Selection
With so many products (586 currently) spanning so many different categories (108 currently) it was important to provide quick and easy access to a specific product, or to a specific category within each section.