Scottish Food Guide

Scottish Food Guide is one of Scotland’s most highly regarded guides. It has existed for more than 20 years and has an extensive membership of Food Producers, Cheese Makers, Restaurants, Farm Shops and Hotels, all of whom regard Wendy Barrie, the founder of the guide, as a powerful advocate of Scottish Food and Drink.

Indeed the guide, which is totally independent, is more than just a guide. Wendy works hard to ensure that members are represented at the highest levels of government as well as her tireless work to publicise Scottish food throughout the UK and the world. Not only that, her recipes use the food her members produce and this is front and centre.

When Wendy needed a new site it was because a number of issues were causing problems with the existing site.

  • It was rather tired and old-fashioned
  • It was difficult and costly for her to maintain
  • There was very little in the way of new visitors

But it wasn’t just that there were issues, Wendy also wanted to expand the site with new content and new ideas to help her members to grow.

Our brief was complex – The site needed an interactive directory of members, ultimately one that could be updated by members in the future. It needed a whole new recipe section as well as new guide sections. A major requirement was for monthly newsletters to be sent out. A key requirement was to capture new members but also to capture members of the public and keep them up to date with things foody and Scottish! Another requirement was to reduce the cost of running the website and to allow Wendy to make changes as when necessary.

In order to build the website we adopted our now standard approach which involves our customers at every point in the design and build process. Because of the systems we use to build websites, we are able to do this online with the customer in attendance via Zoom or Skype. By building this way, we are able to show the customer what can be done, build it, then we can finesse it later. This method ensures that we are not slaves to the design and if we see a problem the design can be modified to suit the circumstances.

The result is a website the customer wants and one that fulfils the brief. It can also be built in a few weeks rather than months. The alternative is that the customer agrees a design, the agency disappear for three months to build it, and the customer doesn’t like the resultant website.

Using our method Wendy has the site she always wanted and is able to add new features. For example the ‘Seasonal Offers’ section was developed during Covid to help her members during very tough times.

The added benefit of this way of working is that Wendy’s costs have reduced by 75% over the course of a year.

The result of this work was the new Scottish Food Guide. It’s one that Wendy is proud of because it reflects exactly what she wants and how she wants it. It is not a developer’s website, or a designer’s website. It is the customer’s own website designed and built exactly how she wanted it. We can’t say fairer than that!

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