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Website Case Study: Shark Zone

Written by | Friday, 01 July 2011 00:00 | Published in 2011 July
If you were a qualified PADI Dive Master, a Scuba Diver and lived in Cape Town, South Africa, it could be a dream project to develop a website about Great White Shark tourism. But Dwight Barnard faced an almost greater challenge than sharks in one of the toughest and most popular market sectors around.

Basic Overview

Company Name: Shark Zone
Live website URL: www.sharkzone.co.za/
Developer:
Dwight Barnard
Developer URL: www.got2cy.co.za/
Development Time: 6 months/ongoing
Category: Travel/Tourism

Developer Bio: After a five year stint in the UK, Dwight Barnard returned to South Africa in 2003. He visited an internet café regularly and became curious about the man across the room, who was always there! Eventually Dwight asked why. The man, Jono Craig, explained that the café had the fastest internet connection available so he rented a pc there and made it his office. Fascinated, Dwight said "Teach me!" and so, starting with Jono's expertise as an SEO Guru specialising in Tourism, Dwight's IT career evolved through flat sites, a local CMS called Web Synergy, Plone with its steep learning code (but great for SEO and Accessibility) to finally finding Joomla! 1.5. Most of Dwight's current work is business to business specialising in design, implementation and custom templating working internationally with companies such as raramuridesign and Piezoworks whilst also maintaining his own development company. Dwight, part of the 2010 J.O.S.C.A.R. "Best Non-Profit Website" winning team, describes himself as a 'stubborn perfectionist'—those working with him would probably add 'and a nice guy'! 

What are some of the challenges you face?

Shark Zone began as a print based tourism business and the main challenge was to move it to a web-based presence that was consistently high in the search results for an extremely competitive niche market. A complex site, with a custom, clean, modern design, Shark Zone has to stand out in the crowd so quality content is priority. Using K2 as a base, Shark Zone is highly customised with, for example, video integration using lightbox, currency conversion on individual prices and social media.

Shark Zone is now a successful online business not only offering shark viewing & diving trips to two of the top shark diving destinations in the world, False Bay & Gansbaai, but also providing interesting information and links to related sites, an e-store for souvenirs and even transport to get you to the point of departure.

Joomla! Extensions Used

Final Thoughts

This site would not have been possible without Joomlaworks K2 - thank you to the Developers. Not only does it speed up development time but opens up a designer's ability to custom template using template overrides. The constant updates for K2 by the Joomlaworks team are invaluable, not least the latest speed improvements in 2.4.1. I would also like to thank the Joomla! Core Team for letting me use such a fantastic platform which enables me in turn to make great websites.

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Hilary Cheyne

Hilary Cheyne

Joomla! Trainer, Member of the Joomla! Community, Member of JCM Team, an Admin for All Together, As A Whole and and part of the Open Translators Team

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