When Jennie Brockie designs, she knows her work is appreciated by Cher, Ralph Fiennes, Anthea Turner and Belinda Carlisle. Brockie is the Web designer behind Indian holistic beauty therapist Bharti Vyas' site at bharti-vyas.co.uk. This online shop sells exclusive creams and lotions to those chasing eternal youth.
The design of the site is simple. It is like the commercially successful minimalist designs favoured by style-setting Scandinavians.
Since its creation three years ago, the site has proved so successful, Vyas is now transferring her mail order business online. The Web site has already attracted a client base that would take years to amass by selling through real outlets. Digital TV and shopping channels are expected to add to the growing worldwide customer base.
"The site's design is not ground-breaking. But it is functional. That is why it's so successful," says Brockie. "Customers want information. They don't want to wait ages while technology downloads.
"Funnily enough, when we revamped the site, we took information out. Yet we have had letters praising us on how much more information there is. I think the site is organised in a more straightforward way and presentation is clearer. The pages are cleaner, easier to navigate and interlinked."
It helps that Vyas herself is an Internet enthusiast. She is not afraid to take risks and is aware of the need to give her site a face-lift every seven to eight months, says Brockie.
"She has pioneered the Internet in her field and is very committed. She's open-minded when we talk about design, which is unusual with clients," Brockie says. "Two of the best moments I've had were when we got our first order and letter of praise about the design. We have had several since."
The site has just had its latest spring clean. All that remains for the next few months is to improve the shopping cart. In future, it will become more interactive, with Vyas directly helping online customers.
Brockie works as a freelance designer on the Bharti-Vyas site for design agency ICSL in Crawley. Her ambition is to work from a beach somewhere in the world doing Web designing from her laptop.
Name: Jennie Brockie
Qualifications: BA in graphic design
IT skills: HTML, Java, Dreamweaver, Flash, Fireworks, Photoshop, Bbedit, Director,
Hobbies: diving, riding, travelling
Favourite book: Gormenghast by Mervyn Peake
Favourite pub: Firecracker & Firkin
Brockie on Brockie: enigmatic, ambitious, gorgeous!
Web heads get ready
A one-off Thirst Thursday for IT professionals with Web skills will take place in November. Go to www.thirstthursday.com to register for an invite.
This was first published in November 2000