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DEES Driving School

German driving school web portal presenting company, team, and services and making it easier to register remotely for theory intensive courses, first aid courses, and driving safety training

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Project description

The main goal of this project was to update outdated versions of WordPress and PHP plugins on an existing website. The task required not only technical skills but also special care given to the project’s fragility and various consequent risks of possible outages. In addition to updating plugins, we also focused on improving the layout and performance of the sites. This included optimizing code, making pages load faster, and improving the overall responsiveness of the site. Our efforts to improve the layout greatly improved the usability of the sites.

In addition, we implemented new features that not only improved the user experience but also provided our clients with additional tools to engage with their audience. These updates made the site more functional and adaptable to the needs of today’s market. In summary, our project significantly improved website quality and performance, increasing efficiency and ensuring long-term sustainability.

Industry:Organizations, Education
Platforms:Web
Role:Software developer, IT consultant
Tech Stack:PHP, WordPress, Instagram integration, Elementor, Adminimize, Anti-Spam by CleanTalk, OMGF, MC4WP:Mailchimp for WordPress, etc
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Project team

  • 1 Developer
  • 1 Designer
  • 1 PM
  • 1 DevOps
  • 1 QA engineer
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Problem introduction

The customer worried that an old version of WordPress and plugins make it difficult for the site to work correctly. The customer also received a warning about Google Fonts, that they must be installed following data protection requirements DSGVO. The issue means needs to be ensured that the website complies with data protection regulations when using external resources such as Google Fonts to prevent any legal risks or fines for DSGVO violations. The poor site performance made it difficult for customers to use the site and reduced the SEO scores thereby reducing the site’s visibility in search engines. The need for mobile and tablet responsiveness on the driving lessons schedule page was an obstacle to easy access to necessary and useful information for the client of the driving school. The client also needed to publish their Instagram posts on the site, including descriptions, and Instagram posts had to be styled to match the overall look of the site. Also, an additional task was the installation of WordPress CMS on his two separate domains for marketing purposes.

Main goals

  • Update WordPress to the latest version
  • Update all installed plugins to the latest versions
  • Install Google Fonts following DSGVO data protection.
  • Optimize the overall performance of the site
  • Optimize webpages and specific content like tables for mobile devices
  • Install and configure Instagram Plug-In
  • Install WordPress on 3 additional domains and deploy the landing page tempates

Tech Challenges

Before upgrading the version of WordPress and plugins, it was discovered that the PHP version was also outdated, and WordPress required an upgrade to at least version 7.4, but it was also no longer supported, so we needed to install even newer versions, and thus jump over several major updates, which additionally increased the risks of unpleasant consequences. Moving any website to a top version of WordPress, PHP, and plugins can lead to unexpected problems and therefore may require an unpredicted scale of the extra effort and time to resolve them. It’s impossible to assess all the risks associated with upgrading PHP to multiple versions, as many factors can affect it: some specific features, server settings, WordPress plugins and themes used, database settings, hosting peculiarities, etc. Potentially, major version upgrades may cause some features to stop working properly or to fully malfunction, some plugins may need to be replaced.

We implemented Instagram functionality through Instagram API, which allowed us to cover the client’s requirements, namely to pull up posts and their description. But this solution had an unpleasant caveat that the API keys expire every two months and require manual updates. The client had no desire to create a token every time or to make its expiration period longer, so he gave up the requirement to display the description of an Instagram post. As a result, we looked for and found a more suitable solution and replaced API integration with another Instagram plugin “Social Gallery and Widget”. Additionally, the client requested design and development for additional marketing pages. We created and deployed the WP templates to 3 separate domains that customer employees can configure on their own to set up marketing campaigns. Implementing the pages on the client’s domains, required moving their domains to more reliable and efficient hosting. It was an important organizational step in the process of deploying the finished work.

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Core Functionality:

  • Technical, performance and plugin updates
  • Database optimizations
  • UI/UX redesign, web and mobile responsivity and optimizations
  • SEO improvements and cacheing content
  • Instagram feed integration
  • CDN connection
  • Google Fonts
  • 3 additional landing pages for website promotion
  • Moving to another, more reliable web hosting
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Solution

The version of PHP was updated to 8.2. WordPress and plugins were also updated to the latest versions, including Google Fonts, which was adjusted to meet the requirements.

To optimize the performance we made the following.
Optimized images: Compressed images with special tools to reduce file size and speed up page loading.
Used caching: Installed a caching plugin that saves static versions of pages, reducing server load and speeding up loading.
Removed unnecessary plugins: Removed unnecessary plugins that were slowing down the site.
Optimized the database: Optimized the database by removing unused records and tables. Utilized Content Delivery Networks
(CDNs): Used content delivery networks to speed up page loads by distributing content to different servers around the world.
Upgraded PHP version: Using the latest version of PHP sped up page loads.

Our developer created the mobile version of the table by himself. the table automatically adjusts to the screen size without the need to create a separate UI/UX layout for mobile design.
Thus, creating a separate design for the class schedule table would have been unnecessary in terms of time and resources, as we achieved the required result without using a designer.

Result

  • Updated versions of PHP, WordPress, and plugins
  • Installed the Instagram plugin
  • Created unique designs for three additional pages, then installed WordPress on the client's domains and implemented the new design
  • Implemented driver education class schedules for mobile devices and tablets
  • Improved the overall performance of the site

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