The Crane Lane Theatre is one of Cork’s busiest and most unique venues. So our challenge was to capture the spirit of the place into a website (and one that work perfectly on a mobile phone) whilst also adding some fairly complex functionality. And we had fun doing it … after all how often do you get a design brief that asks you to take Tom Waits as your inspiration?
What’s On And When?
The Crane Lane is known for many things, including late openings, a superb beer garden (see it in the ) and craft beers. Topping the list though is the music; the Crane Lane often has two or three bands on one side of the venue and a DJ on the other. The venue also hosts several festivals a year, when each of the three bars cram in as much musical talent as will fit through the doors. Hence a key task of the website is to help people to navigate through all of this - the homepage giving a summary of what’s on tonight, the All Events page giving full listings and a clever little calendar on the top right of this page includes a hover-over to quickly show who is headlining on any particular date.
Setting The Tone
The site is more than just a smart ‘event listings engine’ though. It also shouts out loud and proud about locally brewed beers, has a Google tour of the premises and a gallery of some very funky music posters from the last few years.
Responsive? Yes, And With A Capital ‘R’
Given the target audience of this site (young, mobile, a fair portion of students), achieving a high level of website responsiveness was critical. The mobile phone-friendly version of the site:
- removes a lot of the images and mp3s to cut down on load times
- has had all remaining images re-sized and compressed to give smaller (and so faster to load) file sizes
- has a separate set of templates and CSS files for small screens
- each template has a ‘fluid grid’ to allow for changes between portrait and landscape, and between the iPhone 4, iPhone 5 and multiple android and windows phone screen sizes.
- treats embedded code such as maps and videos differently
- has a customised two-column menu
Above all though, the mobile version of the site keeps hold of the look and feel of the desktop version while quickly and neatly on a phone.
A Complicated Website That Is Easy To Run
Administering the site has been made as easy as possible. When the Crane Lane guys log in, they see a menu that makes sense to them, using words they every-day with their business and with all options they don’t need hidden away. Events that re-occur every week or fortnight only have to be entered once and a quick click adds a band to the Wall Of Fame.
A Tiny Wee Bit Of Boasting On The Techie Front
WordPress developers might want to take a close look at the calendar, which retrieves events for a particular day (displayed on hover-over) and colour-codes the date according to make festivals easier to find. However building something like this means writing a lot of new database queries to an already query-heavy site. So to speed up site-performance our developer Colin created a daily cache of the several hundred database queries needed.
Also a quick note about the music player – every one we found for WordPress started the song anew when moving to a new page. So we wrote our own, and we think it works pretty well. Feel free to email us with any bugs though :-)
Search Engine Optimisation
This website, like every other one that we build, comes with all the tools required for best practice Search Engine Optimisation. However we also provide SEO services for this and several of it's sister properties on an ongoing basis.
The Awards Season … Oooh, So Close …
We were delighted that The Crane Lane website made it through to the final round of this year’s Web Awards (along with other StudioForty9-developed websites Fota Wildlife Park and Places To Stay). We didn’t scoop the grand prize but getting through to the final round was, in itself, a major endoresment of the site.
— Benny McCabe, Owner, Crane Lane Theatre
It is nearly impossible to capture the essence of a pub online. StudioForty9 have done it, and done it beautifully. As ever they provided a fantastic service and I am delighted with the results.