Looking at the emerging Virtual Reality content sector, I realised that finding good experiences seemed to be quite a difficult process. Although there seemed to be a growing number of 360° and Google Cardboard VR experiences, these were displayed across many sites (such as YouTube, Facebook, VR film festivals, App Store and Google Play). Adding to this, each manufacturer also had their own galleries. VR’s new and potentially vast user base was going to have difficulty finding good content — a gap in the market which I intended to fill.
My main two constraints were: a small budget and quick editorial turnaround — this meant using an existing WordPress theme (instead of developing from scratch), and as much automation as possible. Unlike my competitors, I aimed to create a friendly, content-focused review site, aimed at a non-technical audience who wanted top quality immersive experiences. To capture additional subsidiary markets, I included reviews of a handful of the most common viewers, cameras and rigs.
I sketched a few logos and created wireframes to determine the branding and UX requirement. I carefully matched my functional requirements (such as responsive, drag-and-drop layout, structured data, and advertising to generate revenue) and compared a number of themes to select the most effective option. After some domain name research and configuring the site securely on a new server, I generated about 50 test posts (using real content) to refine the site architecture. I was then able to generate a comprehensive content plan.
The final result is an appealing, fresh look at VR content — from a consumer’s perspective. It includes an RSS-based HTML email subscription service — this automatically sends out a custom email template when each post is published. I configured an impactful slider on the homepage which updates automatically. Landing page templates surfaced both new and featured content. The site is supported by a branded YouTube channel, displaying all reviewed 360° content in a single list for easier access.
On this self-initiated project I was responsible for:
- Branding/Identity Design
- Business Development
- Advertising integration
- WordPress theme selection and plugin configuration (including analytics, SEO and security)
- User Experience and User Interface
- Back-end hosting and server configuration
- Content plan and image approvals
Date: 18th July 2016
Category: Code, Product, UX