The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) website provides access to a massive national database of film classifications.
The BBFC came to us when their recently developed site was immediately overwhelmed by unusually high traffic. Having already expended most of their budget on the site, they needed an efficient solution that would be produced on-time and within a pre-agreed schedule.
By late 2018, the BBFC wanted to revamp their website with a full redesign. They engaged a digital agency who came up with a new design for the site and asked us to implement it.
After duplicating their site on a staging server and through careful analysis of the site code, Zodiac Media was able to determine the cause. The BBFC’s new API interface was being called for every page instead of being cached, and web crawlers were quickly eating up all the bandwidth when they tried to catalogue the entire site.
We added two new levels of caching to the API. The first was a MongoDB API cache to relieve the load from the BBFC's film 'release' API. The second layer was full page caching using Varnish. A custom module that allows BBFC staff to purge the API cache on command was also built. The end result was significantly reduced load times and server loads.
The first step of the redesign was converting the assets to use SASS, a CSS preprocessor, to bring it in line with modern standards and improve its maintainability long-term. It also helps improve efficiency during development to save time.
Some technical requirements for this project included:
- It had to be fully-responsive across all devices. The provided designs were for a desktop viewport only, so we had to adapt them in order to come up with and then implement mobile designs for each page.
- It had to be consistent across all modern browsers, from Internet Explorer 11 to Google Chrome.
- The redesign had to be compatible with the existing website core.
The redesign was finished & went live in the first half of 2019 - check it out for yourself!