National Garden Scheme site build

National Garden Scheme

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.