Surfing is a fairly conservative industry. Promotion of most companies and individual surfboard shapers is based mostly on recommendations. On the other hand, as surfing becomes more and more popular with people unrelated to it in any way, there is a significant gap between smaller businesses that have trouble selling and new customers who don't know how to find them. Most shapers (artisans who make custom surfboards) still have an old school mindset, don't believe in online marketing, and are not ready to spend a lot of money for a website. However, they are aware of the necessity of such solutions to new clients. Shapers' template is an easy to use professionally designed and developed website. Main focus is on presenting surfboard models created by shaper in a precise way as well as ease of adding new model to the website without help of developer.
There are certain standards in shaping surfboards. What counts is the external shape, size, volume, materials used, but also the shape of the front and tail of the board, the location and configuration of the fins, concave and the bottom contour of the board. It is much easier to understand the details of a given board while holding it in hand, so I tried to add a gallery of illustrations and descriptions to help the shaper explain the properties of a given board. The main challenge was to accurately present new models of surfboards and their elements in a clear way and give the shaper the possibility of mega-easy use of the website and adding new models without the need to contact the developer each time.
I interviewed several shapers as well as surfboard buyers which gave me a lot more information about their purchasing decisions. Every single shaper (not surprisingly) doesn't like the technical intricacies of computer skills. However, he can clearly define the functions and character of the board, for what waves and for whom it is intended.
When browsing the internet, customers (who are looking for a shaper in a new area) pay attention to the simplicity of the website. They are easily annoyed by even minor mistakes of the website. They look for familiar shapes in the appropriate category and only read about the models they have chosen. It was very important for both groups to introduce several categories of boards and to systematize individual elements of the board shapes.
Both the final version of the website and the problem that I tried to solve aroused great interest. The main question I was asked about the final page is "is it easy to use?" to which I can confidently answer YES. By analyzing the users' traffic, I observe that most of them confirm my predictions and, after selecting the board category, they are looking into several models of their choice and then directed to the contact tab or the order form.