W Salon Website Redesign 2018

Updating a salon website from a dark design with poor readability, responsiveness, and accessibility to a more modern, clean, and simpler site that performs better and includes updated features aimed at visitor retention.

Published On: April 21st, 2020

Website Overview

A high-end salon like repeat client, W Salon, requires a website that reflects their attention to detail and talent. Therefore, when they approached me in 2018 to redesign their website, I was honored knowing they, themselves, have a keen eye for design. Previously, I had worked with 2012 to complete the following to a site that was previously built by another designer:

  • Adding WordPress for easier page management and for monthly specials posts
  • Creating a responsive layout following their original design scheme
  • Creating a layout for blog posts based on original design scheme
  • Adding new pages
    • Employee profiles
    • Our Story

The first project was a success and, in 2018, we reconnected to update their website again. This time, we would implementing a brighter, more modern look that would improve user experience and that meets current accessibility standards. In addition, the designs of the website on all screens would be improved to provide a more tailored experience for tablet and mobile visitors.

Design & Development Rationale

Screenshots of the 2018 W Salon Website redesign completed by Sean Patrick O'Leary | Rochester, New York

Improved User Experience

Move away from the dark layout of the design created for them by a previous designer, and toward a lighter, cleaner, and more modern design. This will improve readability, accessibility, and provide a more pleasant experience on all screens.

Mobile-First Design

A responsive design that provides tailored versions of the website for desktop, tablet, and mobile screens. By designing with these smaller screens in mind, information is displayed in the best way possible given the screen space available.

Dynamic Instagram Integration

A photo gallery dynamically connected to the Instagram API that pulls new images automatically anytime new photos are posted. This helps keep the homepage looking "fresh" even without directly updating website content.


  • Mobile Responsive

    Upon recognizing over half of traffic comes from mobile devices, a stress was placed on a pleasant mobile user experience.

  • Custom WordPress Theme

    Built from scratch, the front-end and back-end of this site was developed in coordination with W Salon staff to ensure it met all of their specific needs.

  • Secure

    In addition to adding and configuring WordPress protection plugins like WordFence, an SSL was established on the site ensuring secure connections for visitors.

  • Instagram Integration

    A dynamic Instagram gallery on the site's homepage that automatically updated using Instagram's API. This helps the site stay "fresh" even if there is no time for content updates.

  • Google Analytics Setup

    Google Analytics was installed on the site to track all traffic information and visitor behavior. Reports were provided to client during monthly meetings, and recommendations were made based on data analysis.

  • Employee Profile Section

    The WordPress blogging software was configured in a way that allows for an easy to manage employee profile section. The back-end management of profiles was customized using Advanced Custom Fields.

  • Accessibility

    Making sure websites are accessible for everyone, despite any handicap they may have, is important. The W Salon website focused on this goal and, as a result, received a 92/100 accessibility score.

After the Launch

  • Increased Web Traffic

    During the five months following launch, unique visitors to the website increased on average 10% per month.

  • Google Lighthouse Score Increases

    With the launch of the new design, Google Lighthouse scores (which analyze website performance in specific areas) increased: SEO: 82 -> 89; Desktop Accessibility: 59-> 81

  • Cost Saving Hosting & Domain Transfers

    By switching hosting and domain regidtration providers, a nearly 70% savings on annual hosting and domain costs was realized - while also receiving a better performing and more secure product.

  • Additional Task: Social Media Graphic Design

    To help increase social media referrals to the website, I was tasked with designing many action driven social media graphics for Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. To view these graphics, click here.

  • Additional Task: YouTube Channel Setup

    Recognizing the power of YouTube for stylists to share their skills and design work, a YouTube channel was created and video concepts were provided.

  • Additional Task: Mass Mailing Setup & Design

    To help keep in touch with customers, a mass mailing plugin (MailPoet) was installed on the website, and a design template was created for mailings.

"LOOKS amazing ! WOW ! Love the changes. LOVE the meet the team ! The brighter and lighter look. It’s a nice fresh change. Thank you. You did a ton." - Maggie Webb, Co-Owner

Visit the W Salon Website
Web Design & Digital Marketing Services in Rochester, New York | Sean Patrick O'Leary