Kennedy Garland, who runs Pharma Health, (Auckland NZ) already had some idea of key ingredients to use in the graphic design of the web site, such as a red-cross motif. He also wanted to use cool blues and greens, suiting the tone of a healing and natural business. The site uses bespoke PHP, all pages going through a common layout function something like a small-scale CMS, to preserve consistency.
The focus of the web site was always going to be the products themselves. Hence, the main page is dominated by large attractive buttons with product names and concise descriptions for people who know what they need, but not what its name is.
The product pages all follow the same basic design, but with "personality". By using a bespoke PHP template system, each page could provide content for its own mix of ingredients, such as a testimonial box, a link to a Success Story, or a product logo. Some layout code works through each set of choices to display both common and individual design elements.
As much as possible, Kennedy also shows information about the derivation of the plant or marine ingredients, so that customers can be more involved about what they are taking. An important tenet of the company philosophy is the "intelligent" extraction of raw materials. Just grinding up a plant does not automatically render the beneficial elements.
A Paypal shopping cart was added in August 2010, for four variants of two products. Instead of starting from scratch, I found that the PlainCart software from PHPWebCommerce was a good starting point. Although only a tutorial, it has enough features to be a commonsense foundation for a roll-your-own Shopping Cart. I amended many smaller points; in particular, the PlainCart makes a big thing of asking the customer for billing and shipping address. Naturally these are always required, but if your only payment gateway is Paypal, then you had best rely on the details which Paypal returns to you via its notify_url (when IPN is enabled). Otherwise you will just confuse your client in the cases where the customer enters different details from the ones held in Paypal.
In 2011 we added DPS as a payment gateway. Judging by sales, DPS seems to be rather more popular in New Zealand than is Paypal.
Disclaimer: I cannot claim credit for the current site, which is now excellently maintained by another developer.