Data integration and AJAX creates a unified service with heightened user experience
The Independent Garage Association (IGA), part of the Retail Motor Industry Federation (RMI), is the largest representative body for independent garages in the UK. We built their website www.independentgarageassociation.co.uk in 2015 in order to grow their membership and strengthen their brand, so when they came to us in need of a revamp of their sister website, targeting the B2C market, we were able to hit the ground running.
The RMI wanted a website that would feature a network of quality independent garages, across the UK. Each ‘trusted’ garage on the website would be searchable by potential customers, heightening the business presence of each garage registered on the site, and giving customers the peace of mind that they were taking their car to a reputable garage. On top of that the website needed to integrate with RMI’s Car Repair Plan (CRP) website where users are able to budget for unexpected car servicing and repairs, creating a unified multipurpose website.
We needed to port across RMI’s existing garage members and allow the easy import of new and existing data. On top of a multitude of data integration, the garage review approvals process needed streamlining to make it more user friendly.
The site was created using October CMS. We chose this platform as the site needs were unique, and October, which is built on the Laravel Framework, allows for extreme control over all aspects of the build.
Our developers needed to create a link between the new Trust My Garage (TMG) site and the third party CRP site to ensure we accounted for existing users. This was accomplished by adding a small button on users’ TMG account, which when clicked sent an AJAX request to the CRP servers, which in turn send back a response.
We wrote a script to import the garage members into the newly constructed database. Once the initial import of the data was finalised we allowed for the ability to export and import the member data from the backend of the site.
One of the most noticeable things about the site is that it makes great use of AJAX. Form submissions are validated and updated via AJAX which means the site has less page refreshes and redirects. This makes it feel and behave like a web app in certain areas.
All sections of the website (regular users, garage owners and CRP), use the same backend field and controls, which enables admin users to easily populate and manage the site. For added functionality and customisation, we allowed certain content blocks to be hidden or visible on certain sections of the site.