www.ronangladu.com is a website I designed and developed for a surf photographer and film creator. The website is built on WordPress with a custom responsive theme and uses a variety of optimisation techniques.
About The Project
Renowned in his domain, Ronan Gladu is a professional surf photographer and the creator of several films and web-series. With the upcoming release of his crowdfunded photography book (Barravel) he decided it was time to upgrade his website.
Ronan’s previous website was about 4 years old and focused on showcasing photos. The minimal style putting his work at the center of attention was good but it wasn’t suited to sharing videos. The new site would also need to be responsive and optimised for mobile devices. Finally, a small shop would be needed to sell his new book.
The project took me about two weeks from establishing requirements, testing different design ideas, development, data migration, and to deployment. I built the website using the WordPress content management system to allow him to manage the site autonomously. On the surface I created a minimal design which leaves Ronan’s amazing photography speak for itself. Behind the scenes the website is highly optimised to provide visitors a smooth experience regardless of whether they’re using a phone, tablet, or computer.
The website was launched with time to spare before the book release and has been successfully receiving orders since. While I’m proud of how smoothly the project went, Ronan certainly deserves credit for being a great person to work with!
A custom WordPress theme was developed from scratch. Only essential plugins were used to avoid bloating the site. Namely, a firewall plugin for security, a couple of plugins for asset optimisation and caching, and a custom developed plugin which powers the shop.
The theme make full use of WordPress features to simplify content management, for example, the post type feature is used to highlight a video or gallery in a post. Automatic image resizing on upload combined with smart client-side loading means visitors only download images optimally sized for their screen.
A Content Delivery Network (CDN) is being used to provide a variety benefits which ultimately provide a faster experience for visitors and reduce the load on the Virtual Private Server (VPS) which hosts the site. Combined with server caching this means most page visits don’t actually load WordPress which shaves as much as 300ms off response times.
Looking to the future, the website should stand the test of time well with a little bit of maintenance. In a few years it might be worth optimizing for HTTP/2 and using the WebP image format. In the meantime the site ranks very well on Pingdom Speed Test.
Ronan and I have been working together since 2011. These are some of the projects we worked on;
Barravel (the film), 2016
The website for Ronan's first movie was originally created in 2008 and showing it’s age. I spent an afternoon building a new single page website. I also added a PayPal button to buy the DVD and some information about his new projects.
Lost in the Swell, 2013
Following up the success of “Des Iles Usions”, Ewen Le Goff, Aurélien Jacob and Ronan Gladu decided to take another approach to discovering waves. Using a prototype catamaran made from bio-sourced materials they went on tours of both Brittany and the Solomon Islands, exploring the coasts for unknown surf spots. Much like Des Iles Usions they published their trip as a film and web-series, the series being released on a website I developed for them.
Update: The website has been rebuilt since to sell digital copies of their films! About the project.
Des Iles Usions, 2011
The adventure of three surfers surviving on a desert island was published on this website as a web-series. While the website isn't up to the latest standards anymore but it was very popular when released, receiving thousands of visitors a day.