Case Study

ATS Property Company

Web Design & Web Development

Overview

ATS Property Company approached us through a mutual connection. Although it the company had been trading for a short while there was no existing website, so we provided a full design and development service.

Homepage

Homepage ‘About ATS’ Video

The Context

ATS Property Company is a real estate investment company with properties in the UK and the US. It is owned and run by Antony Searle and Christopher Rosas.

They have a solid network of connections who search their key markets for properties that need renovation that have the opportunity to give a healthy return for the investors in the property.

The Challenge

This project was a perfect example of the benefits of having a flexible brief. The initial brief was agreed and signed off but as the project moved forward it became clear that there was an opportunity to expand beyond what was originally discussed. The original brief allowed for the receiving of investor payments, which is a pretty straightforward feature to implement via the use of third party services such as Stripe. We all felt that a fully featured client portal that allowed the different investor levels the ability to login to their own unique account and be able to track the investments they have made as well as the returns they will make on those investments would elevate the project to the next level.

The project also called for an ‘investment calculator’, accessible on the homepage, that gave the visitors an indication of what return they could expect dependent on the amount invested and over what term.

Neither of these features have an off the shelf solution, meaning we needed to write a custom plugin that allowed the visitors to see the information they needed and ATS the functionality to manage that data on the backend. It was quite a challenge but we do love a good challenge.

In addition, the website needed to showcase both completed properties, so potential investors could get a clear idea of the quality of work that ATS were capable of, as well as projects that were currently in progress.

Custom Written Investment Calculator

Personalised Member Profiles

The Process

The initial brief was relatively straightforward but as the project progressed, it morphed into something altogether more complex. As is our standard process, we went through an in-depth discovery process, followed by wireframes and mockups. We were well into the development phase when the initial simple payment system became the fully featured client portal that the website now has.

We’ve always given the client the flexibility to change the brief as the project progresses because you never know what opportunities might make themselves known and rejecting those opportunities becomes unnecessarily restrictive. That said, it’s important to be clear why the brief is changing and whether it is contributing positively to the predefined goals for the project. It’s very easy to fall into the trap of having what at the time seems a great idea at 3am in the morning but the idea doesn’t hold up to scrutiny in the cold light of day. So, we were quite hardcore at analying the new additions to the project but it was clear pretty quickly that the benefits were obvious.

We were able to test and adapt to all of these changes using one of our staging, or test, servers, which was more important than normal due to the additional complexity of the project.

This project was also a great example of the power and flexibility of the WordPress platform. In the right hands, it can be used in an incredibly wide range of creative ways, to solve some pretty big problems and that’s why we really love working with it.

Individual Property Page

The Future

As with the vast majority of our other client projects, we are hosting the website on one of our fast virtual private servers. We spent a lot of time finding the correct hosting solution for our clients. It has to give us as the developers, the access and flexibility we need (there’s nothing worse that relying on a third party hosting support team to make changes you need), it needs to be blazing fast and scalable whilst at the same time be affordable. This approach was advantageous on this project as it enabled us to start small in terms of server disk space as the company had just started to grow its membership system. However, as the business brings in new investors and members, each of whom have their own client profile, we can easily and quickly scale server capacity as its needed in an extremely cost effective manner. This is great for the client as we can react quickly to need and they are never overpaying for capacity they are not using.

We are also responsible for keeping secure backups of the website, which is especially important for a membership platform as well as keeping the site itself secure and up to date.

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