Bristol Ground School teach pilots all they need to know before they get anywhere near a cockpit. Unlike other professions, becoming a pilot requires a lot of learning before you get any experience.
This company is all ex-RAF and everything is executed with military precision. If you’ve ever worked with anybody who has been through RAF training, you’ll know they have certain ways of doing things.
I first worked for Bristol Ground School in 2010 as a technical illustrator, but nowadays I also maintain their website, and recently rebuilt it.
For the redesign, I was given a fairly loose brief. One of the benefits of working with a client for this long is that we both know what to expect. I went for simplicity with a nice amount of animated mouse over effects. I also encouraged them to add photos of people to the site (they had none) as well as a few images of the product – which is hard as essentially they sell courses and manuals. We managed to source a few nice stock images but most importantly we got alumni students to send in images of themselves in their new jobs or flying aeroplanes.
Here’s some of the features that I have built into this website
Shop: This site deals with a £100,000.00 monthly turnover through WooCommerce. The website takes payment from credit cards and handles the distribution of manuals all over the world, it calculates the different costs of postage based on the combined weight of the manuals, and the destination address, it also keeps an eye on stock quantities so that we don’t sell what we don’t have available.
Events: The school runs week long ‘refresher‘ courses on site which they are booked online. The availability and communication is all done through the website. We manage the dates and maximum student quantity through a plugin called Event Espresso.
Accommodation: We keep a listing of local accommodation suitable for the students, which they’re able to review and rate themselves.
Partner Orders: This ‘private’ section is one of the most important parts of the website, as the Partner Schools order in bulk. Each Partner School has a personal log in which allows them to order specific products depending on the agreement they have with BGS. The orders are large and complicated, and it’s taken us a while to streamline this process, especially when many of the customers are either not tech savvy or speak English as a second language.
Training Videos: Since COVID, the school started offering their classes live online and in a vast online library. This collection of over 230 videos (only accessible to students) are categorised into subjects and licence types, and each one has a set of meta data to help students find what they’re looking for. I worked collaboratively with BGS to get a system that both they and the students love using.