Taking a Bite Out of Shark Week: New Website Launched

June 24, 2015
By Forge and Smith

This article was updated on April 23rd, 2019. Discovery’s Sharkopedia website has been modified, and no longer reflects Forge and Smith web design.  

Temperatures are rising. Beaches are getting busier. School is finally letting out. This can only mean one thing…

Shark Week is almost upon us!

Discovery Channel’s annual event returns July 5th to satiate our collective appetite for all things shark-related. Seriously, what’s better than a week-long feeding frenzy of adrenaline-spiked footage featuring our old friend Carcharodan Carcharias?

How about a robust new website devoted entirely to sharks? Now you can get your hammerhead fix anytime you want.

Our Vancouver WordPress development team lost their collective minds when we were asked to put together the new Sharkopedia website.

Sharkopedia: New Website Launch

Discovery Channel’s design team required a powerful new content management system that could provide direct access for editors updating material. WordPress was the proverbial “bigger boat” they required.

This new site would turn out to be a project of massive proportions — which is fitting, given the subject matter. We were given a series of basic wireframes that required fleshing out. With the deadline quickly approaching, our developers jumped in with both feet.

Our team began isolating the website’s content blocks in the backend, while sorting out potential combinations. This process helped determine the level of functionality required. We optimized this information to establish the new information architecture: parent topics and proper categorization, ensuring all content was cleanly managed, clearly explained, and firmly set.

We ended up creating a streamlined three-step process for anyone on the Discovery team who would populate the pages. Our work ultimately transformed the user experience, providing better functionality for those diving deeper into the site’s many features.

On the front end, visitors are greeted with a responsive new website and a boatload of polished trimmings.

And sharks. Lots and lots of sharks.

This was definitely not a stock build. Our developers provided a number of highly customized touches to the responsive new site:

  • A yellow ticker at the top of the home page with up-to-the-minute Shark Week showtimes

  • Fade-in video clips

  • An eye-catching underwater video loop

  • A variety of animations to engage visitors, including quick stats

  • Advanced search functions

  • Rolling/flipping page transitions with credits to indicate the end of a section

  • Improved social sharing capabilities

The process required a lot of back and forth collaboration with Discovery Channel’s design team. Given the scope of the project, the process went incredibly smooth. Shark Week 2015 officially begins on July 5. The new website is available to view today.

Could your business website benefit from a fully customized WordPress redesign? Check out our other design and development work on the Forge and Smith case studies page.

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