At Root Interactive, we produce playful usable yet beautiful websites and brand identities that reflect, develop and enhance your organisation, social enterprise, or small business.
We help you to explore and discover, question and learn. Whether you have the start of an idea or a detailed project in mind, get in touch and let’s get started!
At Root Interactive, we offer a broad range of web services. From standalone design work to complete website builds, we can provide any combination of creative, editorial and technical solutions. We also offer a catalogue of support services, including web hosting, online marketing and training.
Define your brand
Develop confidence in how you communicate who you are and what you do. Create logos and other brand assets
Your brand is the essence of your organisation. Together, we can explore what your brand means and how you would like to develop it online. We can then help to create a visual identity that perfectly embodies your organisation’s values and vision, and ensure that your message is consistent across all media. Get in touch to get started
Grow your website
Create a website. We take you step by step from concept through design, build, launch and beyond
At Root Interactive, we help our clients to flourish. We know how to make a website stand out from the crowd – and keep people coming back to your site. Our passion for design and technical knowledge means that we can advise you on what will work best for your website. Get in touch to get started
Manage your content
Upgrade your static site to a content managed solution and learn how to look after your website.
If you feel that you are not in control of your website and the content, then upgrading to a content management system such as WordPress or Drupal may be what you are looking for. We’ll help you get started by training you and getting building right from the start so you don’t forget so quickly. Get in touch to get started
Revive your site
Breathe web vitality into a sad, inactive or dead website, develop skills and become more productive online
Whatever state your current website is in, we can help you take the very best from it and find ways to transplant, re-seed, tidy up, revitalise and otherwise care for it so that it can spring back to life. Get in touch to get started
Workplace mediation and team facilitation professional Philip Jones, needed to refresh his website and refocus his brand image. Together with Ellen Devries of the Copyhouse, we re-branded Phil’s business into Workplace Dynamics. The brand uses the Lorenz Butterfly symbolic of complexity theory which resonated with Phil’s work. We created a WordPress style site to complete the package.
New Intern accommodation agency Zone 2 Stay specialise in matching German Interns with quality rooms in London zone 2. We worked with director Zozi Goodman in all stages of naming, branding, user experience and website development using WordPress.
The new Behavioural Behaviour Research Unit (BHRU) at the University of Cambridge was getting ready to launch. They wanted an easy to update website that had a feel of it’s own whilst following the brand guidelines set by the University. We set up a WordPress website for them and designed a simple contemporary logo for the unit.
International Charity ‘The Eurochange Charity’ develop projects in Uganda and Kenya to empower people to create sustainable livelihoods. Their multi-lingual site was becoming budensome to update and they felt that a refresh was in order.
Root Interactive helped them to re-brand as Sustain For Life and developed a new low-bandwidth multi-lingual website using WordPress which is easy to use and edit. Focusing on donors, quick updates from the field and campaigns.
Community Consultants South Kilburn is a London grass-roots organisation which aims to create projects for, and with the local community, bringing opportunities for people to improve their confidence, self esteem and ultimately employment chances through active engagement in projects that have a direct effect on their lives. Root Interactive worked with the CCSK team in a collaborative way to create their website.
Solar energy development company, Sunhive, based in Sussex, needed some help to ‘style’ their new website. The content and structure were in place but the look and feel felt boxy, cold and lacked imagery to bring the human touch to this eco-industry project. Root Interactive worked with Gbenga of Sunhive to develop an appealing main graphic for the homepage and a general site stylesheet that would help define the main elements. In only a few short hours this website came to life!
Children’s Book Illustrator Georgie Birkett felt that her existing website was difficult to navigate, had restricted design scope and was technically tricky to update. Root Interactive worked closely with Georgie to find a creative, eye-catching way to combine her unique style of illustration and own creative ideas into a user friendly content management system with integrated blog.
Sussex based Blacksmith James Price, found himself struggling with a content management system that was no longer working well and a look and feel that did not reflect the design-led nature of his work. The relationship with his web designer had deteriorated and he was looking for ongoing support. He had invested in Search Engine Optimisation work and was keen that any new work did not reduce his ranking. We worked with him to develop a new WordPress website which allowed him to have a more comprehensive portfolio of work, and integrated blog platform. We moved him over to our wind powered Eco-host web hosting package and have an ongoing support and maintenance agreement in place.
Brighton and Hove learning Partnership wanted a new website to showcase adult learning in the city. They wanted something new and fresh that challenged convention but would still be accessible and would work on different user levels. Root Interactive worked in partnership with SCIP and The Garden in designing this extensive Drupal website.
Brighton and Hove Volunteer centreneeded to update their volunteering good practice guide so that it would be more user-friendly and comprehensive. Root Interactive partnered with SCIP in the development of this Drupal based site. We undertook the prototyping, information architecture, branding and illustration as well as interface design.
Mobile photography studio Elixir Photography, needed a website redesign. The old site was disjointed and awkward, lacking the polish to reflect the actual quality of the work. Root Interactive worked with Gideon to discover what the users of his website expected and we provided a clean, usable site.
Interactive Exhibitions Producer Vicky Cave, needed a web presence to showcase her work. Root Interactive worked alongside Vicky in a hands-on way to develop her distinctive branding and querky visually styled website and blog which she posts to regularly. The site and logo have given Vicky the chance to keep in touch with her network in this specialised field and has led to several key meetings and a very interesting contract.
Charity PR consultancy Bright One needed, a more comprehensive structure and fresh new face for their website. Root Interactive partnered with Dharmafly to deliver the new look and feel for this WordPress website.
Social enterprise Fusion Community, needed a simple web prescence to kick start their venture and generate interest. Root Interactive provided a one page static website with eye-catching graphic elements and simple in-page navigation.
At Root Interactive we like to help you to get a site that is uniquely YOU. Sometimes however, you want to let your work show itself off in the most simple website environment possible. This minimalist request is very common among artists as it reflects the blank state of the gallery, white cube, canvas. You can create a site at WordPress.com
Georgie Henry – Painter
Talented illustrator and painter Georgie Henry had precisely this requirement for her painting website. Her illustration work already had a very bespoke and querky website which we created a few months back: www.georgiebirkett.com but the painting site was going to be different. Clean, simple and uncluttered. Here is the simple site she created.
Transferable skills – creating a new WordPress site
Georgie had already worked with us to create her main illustration site in WordPress. This was a highly crafted, bespoke site self hosted on Georgie’s own shared hosting account. We were able to add and create as much custom functionality as we wanted by using plugins and a custom theme. Georgie had worked alongside us and was now confident adding pages, posts, uploading images, cropping thumbnails and including galleries. She knew WordPress.
Feeling confident about her skills – Georgie embarked on her own mission to create her painting site in WordPress.com. This is a very clever thing to do. WordPress.com is a website that allows you to create as many blog sites as you want and they will host them for you for free. There are limitations to what you can do – namely that you can’t install plugins, edit themes (directly) and have limited access to other administrative features normally present in a self hosted site. But that’s ok because the good thing is that you may not need them! In fact I’d say that as a starting site, WordPress.com gives you all the basic building blocks to get you started and you can easily export your site into your own self hosted site later on. There are two key upgrades that allow you to create a truly unique site even within these restraints. These are the Custom CSS upgrade and the custom Domain name. All this for as little as £20
Customising a WordPress theme with CSS
Georgie had found a wonderful minimalist theme called Wu Wei by Jeff Ngan. It was clean, simple and did the job nicely. She had kept the white colour option and needed a bit of customisation to get it to be just how she wanted it. At this point we worked together side by side to add some custom CSS styles. The main job was to style the gallery page and hide some unwanted features.
If you are interested in creating a similar site then I will be creating a ‘how to’ blog post shortly with simple instructions and the basic CSS to add to your custom CSS editor.
Simon and I have decided to cooperate in an endevour to prolong the life of our office beans by transplanting them to the support column in the centre of the room. This comes after the realisation that they are better off there than drifting akimbo in their little pots on our desks. Central support is called for.
It’s catching on!
I’ve not been well of late and this has led me to many delirious outpourings of well intentioned but badly worded social media exercises and artistic sproutings. I forgive myself for lack of grammatical and political correctness and thank Simon Sadler (yes funny that – another Simon) for his kind words of encouragement and am pleased to know that planting my business cards has taken off. His bean plant is doing very well as you will see.
I also planted a Root Interactive bean. I have never seen anything grow as fast as that magical bean; it is truly alive. It reminded me of how everything around and within us is ready and waiting to flourish; we just have to plant the seeds.
Playing with the web. html, CSS (opacity, type, colour, z-index, color) and a child’s poem – The Owl and the Pussycat. More Mondrian than Quentin Blake. Each page is only 5k.
I wanted to play with simple html and css elements to explore overlays of colour, opacity and how everything would shift with just a single change of property on an element such as setting the position of the body element from absolute to relative to fixed. They all use the same code.
What is important? The Green Beautiful (La Belle Verte) by Coline Serreau, asks this question. Released in 1996 in France, it examines the nature of human relationships, our engagement with the earth, play and technology. It is philosophical, anti-conformist, ecological, feminist, humanist, beautiful and funny.
Yes – it’s true, Simon’s beanstalk is bigger than mine (his is the beanstalk on the other desk next to the picture frame). Am I envious? YES. Why? childish competition. Of course mine should be the healthiest, biggest, greenest beanstalk on an October day in the office.
And what about my virtual beanstalk?
Just like the beanstalk – my new website has also been drawing little pockets of energy every morning as I have gotten into the habit of checking Google Analytics. As I’ve been busy giving out promotional beans and sending out mailshots, I am always fascinated by what the day’s statistics will reveal.
Hoorah! oops…. I scored a home goal
At first the site had loads of visitors – the graph was high and I marveled at the wonder of modern science. The only bad thing was that most of these visitors where in fact just …me. With so much tweaking and modifying I was a regular visitor.
The truth of the matter is that now that I’ve stopped updating the installation and started to feed the site itself with new updates, activity and links I see a better reflection of how the site is growing and by unique visitor numbers and how this unique visitor graph is changing.
A good balance
Another good indicator for me is the source of traffic. At first the main source of traffic was direct traffic – people who knew the site (again mainly me) and a portion of referred traffic from other sites (mainly ones I’d made) so I could tell pretty much that it wasn’t generating much new traffic. After the Mailchimp email newsletter campaign, getting stuck in with twitter and having Feedburner doing various magical things with my blog feed, I have now started to see a more balanced distribution of visitors from different sources.
But are there any beans yet?
No. can’t say that there has been a lot of actual conversion yet but I’m sure as with all new ventures, these things take time. But it is shiny!!! just like the small leaves on my beanstalk. Now I just have to keep feeding and watering it and singing to it as I believe both websites and beanstalks like the attention.
So a weekend goes past and my little bean plant has grown to nearly a foot tall with two impressive heart shaped leaves. I got the feeling that the plant needed an upgrade to a pot of its own. So I carefully extracted the plant with all its roots and transplanted it. Being so tall now it was starting to need some support. I put a rod in with it to help it along. Thoughts turn to my clients and their websites.
Sometimes websites need bigger pots too.
Just like the plant that feels crowded and out of control surrounded by other plants and no room to spread its roots, I understand that for small businesses and organisations, the time also comes when the static website of a few pages that has sat there in cyberspace for a few years collecting few hits and a lot of web dust, decides the time has come to take some control and give the little website the time and attention it needs to nurture it into a flourishing and productive web entity
We have a couple of clients who are in exactly this position. They want to edit the site themselves now, they want to be interconnected with Twitter, events, blogging and anything else that will give them the necessary exposure and chance to rise towards the Google web sun, whilst delivering good web content to their users. They need to assess their Web Vitality before deciding what needs doing, but what’s fairly evident, is that in both cases they need to be in control and this may mean setting up a CMS (content management system) that will allow them to manage the site themselves.
WordPress as a powerful CMS
Here at Root Interactive we are very happy with WordPress as a good starting choice of CMS. There are many reasons why we like it but primarily we find that YOU like it. Out of all the freely available content management systems out there, this seems to be both powerful and simple at the same time. It’s easy to create a basic site with WordPress and you can start completely for free with a hosted solution from WordPress.com. Although there are many limitations to your ability to modify your theme to make it do what you want, its certainly a good introduction to a powerful website without a big expense.
A bit of web landscaping
Is a website like a plant? or is it like a garden? I’m not sure about that yet but in either case it helps to get some expert help sometimes and the web is full of help and advice in the form of blogs, guides, articles and videos.
At Root Interactive we can help out too of course. Clients often come to us with a half made website that they have started themselves. We Love the fact that they have tried themselves. I think its great because now they really know what they want, and what doesn’t work for them. They also know the good and bad bits of creating websites and they find their own technical and creative limits.
If this sounds like you and you need some help getting in control of your website then get in touch. More about WordPress to come.
After having handed out a handful of my business cards… ahem! beans I was left with the distinct desire to plant some and see what would happen. No Jack and no cow, so I just popped one of my beans into this here plant pot on my desk last week and Pop! today we have a sprout. Can’t tell you how exciting this is. Certainly it makes the idea of guerilla bean planting appealing. Back to the grind…