Case Study – Life Beyond the Horizon’s retreat website

A website to provide information on the gambling addiction retreat my client is creating in Portugal.

I've worked with Karen and Nuno for a while now and they have a fantastic vision for helping people with this addiction, on top of the work Nuno has already done himself in the UK.

Nuno and Karen are creating a gambling addiction retreat in Portugal. They got in touch and explained they were looking for a website to explain what they were going to build and what sort of assistance (volunteers etc.) they'd ideally need to make it all happen.

Given their ultimate goal of building the retreat required funds, they wanted to keep this website project as cost effective as possible. As this website wouldn't need updating very often I advised them creating a static website (using no CMS) would be the quickest option, therefore keeping the costs down.

Technology used:

  • HTML5
  • CSS3
  • Javascript
  • PayPal Integration

What I provided:

  • UX discussion
  • Bespoke Design
  • Bespoke, hand coding
  • Proof reading of content

The brief

Nuno and Karen wanted a website that was straightforward enough to clearly communicate what they wanted to achieve with their gambling addiction retreat. They were also conscious of the cost because they wanted to be able to devote as much of their own resources to their project as possible while still having a website that acted as a positive ambassador for them.

Based on that we settled on a static website, using no Content Management System, to bring down the time for development, as such bringing down the cost.

They were also looking for a website that was modern, fast, and they explained they liked the look of many parallax websites too. My initial advice on that was not to focus too heavily on the parallax/movement aspects of the website. My main concern was making sure the website communicated effectively. Any Javascript effects we used should compliment the content or add just a little interest to the page, rather than detract from it.

Pre-design work

Although we were aiming to keep the cost down, we still carried out some User Experience work. I had created some user personas for a previous website project for Karen and Nuno and I used those as a base to start with on this project.

Considering the user at the start of the project is key. It allows me and a client to focus on what the users actually needs to get out of the website experience before diving into writing content or choosing colours and drawing things.

Karen and Nuno had written the content for the website at this stage, minus some minor amendments/changes they wanted to make.

Early on in our discussion, I recommend they have some professional photos taken of themselves for use on the website. It’s not a large cost, but having professional grade photography makes a big difference to the end result. They’d also be able to use the photos for other projects/websites/media too.

The design

The brief for the design of the website was to have something modern and something new. Due to previous work with them we already had a colour scheme we wanted to work with. My task was to take that, along with the brief UX work we carried out and devise a design that was concise and communicated clearly.

I designed the Life Beyond the Horizon logo during a previous project, so we didn’t need to wait to any logo designs to be completed. This also helped in bringing down the cost of the project.

Here’s a screenshot of the homepage.

A screenshot of the website I created for Life Beyond the Horizon and their gambling addiction retreat.


Hand-coding a website gives a level of control you don’t get with a pre-made theme or a website builder. I was able to make the website as streamlined as possible. Hand-coding also meant I could decide which CSS techniques to use for certain situations.

I opted for WOW.js for some subtle image animations. Going overboard wasn’t an option with this website. Not only would that potentially have increased the cost, but too much animation on a webpage can detract from the message you’re trying to relay. WOW.js gave me the speed of development as well as the flexibility that I needed.

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