FUW Insurance Services is the financial services wing of the Farmers’ Union of Wales. We are currently working with the main FUW organisation on the redevelopment of their web presence, and FUW Insurance asked for our help in launching their new brand with a multi-language WordPress website. Until recently, FUW Insurance has been part of the greater FUW organisation, and subsumed into the wider FUW web presence. This year, FUW Insurance has separated off into its own limited company, with its own online and real-world branding and marketing. While striking out on its own, FUW Insurance retains a close relationship with the Farmers’ Union of Wales and with its specialist insight into the requirements of rural customers, the business services the financial needs of many of the organisation’s members.
Our brief was to launch a highly performant multi-language WordPress website with great load times for rural users on a slower connection. The site needed a beautiful and professional design consistent with FUW Insurance’s wider marketing materials and implemented with best-of-class technology and methodology, such as HTML5 and responsive design. While the site needed to reflect the distinct corporate identity of FUW Insurance, it was important to harmonise with the design used with the upcoming re-launch of FUW.org.uk. Lastly, the site needed multi-language support, for the creation and management of content in English and Welsh.
Multi-language WordPress Website
From a design and UX point of view, we were very interested to have a conventional and highly intuitive interface with clear calls to action and exceptional support for lead generation. We worked with our design partners at Collaborative Thought to create a strong home page with clear access to the site’s request a quote form, as well as to the business’s three product areas. Each product page includes a reduced request for quote form at the head of the page and uses colour-coding to visually distinguish the three main product types. We implemented this design with a custom theme built on Genesis and Genesis Extender.
From a functional point of view we started with WordPress’s core functionality and configured a number of free and premium plugins to enhance the site’s feature set. Of particular note are:
- WPML Multilingual CMS
- Widget Logic
- Gravity Forms
- W3 Total Cache
WPML is the go-to plugin for working with translated content, and we used WPML to make fuwinsurance.co.uk a multi-language WordPress website with support for English and Welsh content. While WPML is fantastic for offering a language switcher, easy to use administrative controls for managing Posts and Pages in a number of languages, you need a little something extra if you wish to offer translated design assets per linguistic ‘version’ of the site. We use the Widget Logic plugin to render different widgets depending on the user’s chosen language. For example, we configured two Recent Posts widgets to be used with the Primary Sidebar widget area. One with an English title ‘More Like This’, the other with the Welsh equivalent. We then entered the appropriate language code in the Widget Logic field of the widget, ie:
ICL_LANGUAGE_CODE == 'en'
ICL_LANGUAGE_CODE == 'cy'
In this way, we can control graphical ads and other special display to in a fine-grained way, depending on the language version being viewed.
We used Gravity Forms for the English and Welsh forms on the site. Aside from the excellent support for properly coded forms, we love the Dashboard Form overview which shows, at a glance, how well a particular form is behaving, that is what form(s) is getting the most conversions. This information can be part of the data used to drive informed business-decisions to, for instance, leverage the organic popularity of a product or put greater marketing effort behind a product attracting less conversions. While data alone can’t make good decisions, good decisions are certainly based on good data and Gravity Forms offers an easy way to add another metric for consideration.
In addition to clean code, image sprites and other best practices for site optimisation, we configured the W3 Total Cache plugin to boost the site’s load times. This was particularly important for FUW Insurance as many of their users access the Internet on slower connections. A fast-loading site is fundamental to a positive user experience, and the W3 Total Cache plugin has a number of settings for fine-tweaking of a site’s performance settings.
Financial Services Web Design
We are pleased to have delivered lovely-looking and great-performing site in the financial services space. Our co-founders have many years’ experience of fintech and Meg started her career at Simply Business, a leading financial intermediary based in the City of London, so we were excited to deliver a stand-out site in a space which can attract a wide variation in the quality of web presences. When developing our Brief we discovered some exciting examples of financial services design:
Blimp: Though this site could benefit from responsive design, we dig the highly minimal approach with effective use of typography and subtle graphical touches to add interest. The crisp photography on the home page helps to highlight the main CTA, and the gridded block of further information provides clear summaries of features and could be used an an inspiration for outlining a selection of products.
Gateway Bank: We love LOVE the use of a well defined colour palette here and the personable, high quality banner images give the site a ‘human touch’. Focus on the CTAs keep the user on track when landing on the home page and this site performs well across screen sizes.
Quote Roller: The on-trend use of professional, custom photography for home page, coupled with tight focus on the primary works well with a landing-page layout with a hierarchy of information displayed below the ‘page fold’.