- Web Design, Web Development, Redesigns and Maintenance
Fast + Epp, Pacific Church Vancouver, Russia Reconnect/Hannah Society
- Fast + Epp:
My Client faced their biggest year to date for promotions in 2010, with the centerpiece project of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, the Richmond Olympic Oval, their 25th anniversary of operations, and the launch of their first international office in Frankfurt, Germany.
Coming into 2010, they also had an hard-programmed dinosaur of a flash website that looked dated and was impossible to update in-house; however, the company marketing budget was minimal, a firm-wide rebranding strategy wasn't on the books for another 3-5 years, and costs for the anniversary and new office launch were prohibitive. At the time I had recently been part of a website redesign for Pacific Church Vancouver (below), and proposed a cost-effective, attractive, and easily updated/maintained new website for Fast + Epp based on the Joomla CMS platform in partnership with Wade Thiessen of cwade design lab, the developer on the Pacific site. A graphic designer who had previously collaborated with the company on a series of postcards, Dennis Boyle of Boyle Design, was invited to provide a unique front-page design.
In collaboration with the Marketing Manager, General Manager, and Stephan Pasche, a staff senior engineer and photographer, as well as the two outside consultants, I was able to deliver the website for under $10K in two months, in time for the Olympic Games in February. (Comparable industry sites start at $30-50K+ over several months.)
Services rendered included initial cost/benefit analysis and development proposal, sourcing talent, development schedule, website design/page designs, functional layout, consultant liaison and project managing, and complete site setup including menus, pages, slideshows, photo optimization and upload, text upload, and a step-by-step core operations/functionality manual for emergency uploads by in-house staff. Site was designed for optimal compatibility across browsers, platforms, and legacy versions.
For the past year and a half, I have performed all updates and redesigns in collaboration with the in-house team and occasional input of consultants, including 4-6 month reviews, text and photo updates, new page/menu updates, news updates, cost/benefit analysis and minor redesign for German Office launch (added dual language support - involved twinning every page and uploading translations), layout redesign/graphic design for Key Staff section (photos by Matthias Fast), and a currently-underway redesign for iPhone and potentially Android to add mobile contextual site functionality.
I use the Google Analytics tools to track site traffic and usage statistics, and to create customized monthly and yearly summary reports to inform ongoing design and marketing direction in conjunction with Google Webmaster Tools and Alerts, and select other web-based tools to obtain insight into competitors' and collaborators' web presence and strategy for comparison purposes. Fast + Epp ranks on the first page of searches for all targeted terms, and at this time is not pursuing a dedicated SEM or social media strategy (expect in the next 6-12 months). Fast + Epp does have a Google Places listing and is listed on some other local directory sites.
Please visit http://fastepp.com to experience the site in action. Screenshots below. Additional website project descriptions below.
- Pacific Church Vancouver:
Pacific Church Vancouver is a young church (est. 2005-6) in the downtown neighbourhood of Yaletown. As a small non-profit organization, they have very limited resources and a minimal marketing budget, but recognize that strong marketing is critical to their ability to reach out to the community.
The initial website was self-designed using a basic online service in 2005. An early redesign by Wade Thiessen of cwade design lab in 2007 involved a 'coffee-shop retro' (ie. Starbucks, Blenz) aesthetic with warm earth tones and a dual-portal functional layout with separate tracks for 'visitors' and 'attenders', customizing the user experience based on perceived needs.
In 2009, Pacific determined that the branding and functionality of the website was not accurately reflecting their identity, and entered a comprehensive rebranding process, with a new logo, website, and signage that optimized user experience based on a clean, minimalist aesthetic with bright, vivid, and frequently updated 'features', inspired by the 'Apple' branding (Apple groupies to the 'core').
I was involved in selecting the template and branding/design of the new site, and learning website management through the Joomla CMS, and recommended the Fast + Epp redesign based on my experience working with Wade Thiessen on the Pacific site.
Since 2009 I have taken over more of the site and Pacific Church Vancouver branding and promotions, including weekly podcast updates, getting the podcast on the iTunes store, front page slideshow designs and updates, with integrated marketing solutions for e-mail and print, page and section redesigns, copy editing, monthly newsletter copy editing, form editing - essentially all updates, redesigns, and marketing. In April 2011 I began working on the site SEO, which was abysmal on key search terms, and through text rewriting, code rewriting, sitemaps, multiple platform social media and local search optimization (including embedding FB and Google maps, adding sharing/social engagement buttons), establishing links, and SEM (using Google Adwords), I bumped the site up from the sixth page to 3rd entry on the first page in under four months.
Currently building web presence and working on social engagement, several print marketing campaigns, as well as coding an iPhone optimized version of the site (Alpha dev.). Currently use Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools to track site engagement and metrics, other web-based solutions to compare against competitors.
Please visit the site at http://pacificchurch.ca to experience it firsthand or take a look at the screenshots below.
- Russia Reconnect:
The Russia and Regions Beyond Mission Society (RRBMS) approached me in Spring 2011 for comprehensive rebranding and marketing/web solutions. A group of mostly 50+ year old descendants of a Russian Mennonite family, the RRBMS is a non-profit, Canada-based organization currently operating charitable programs and initiatives in southwestern Russia on the Ukraine border, and which now operates under the name 'Russia Reconnect'. The Hannah Foundation supports orphans in Russia by giving financial aid and building or renovating homes for families that take in orphaned children, and is closely tied to Russia Reconnect.
The members of Russia Reconnect were concerned that their projects would die out with the next generation, and they were eager to both share their Russian heritage with future generations, and generate interest and partners in their ongoing charitable works. The organization had identified a strong web presence as key to these goals, but had a limited budget. An initial attempt was made to design a website in Wordpress, and I was approached to take over the initiative after the first design was deemed to be too conservative and lacking in appeal to younger generations.
I established a set of goals and statement of purpose for the organization, and researched its history in order to develop a direction for the site. The design references traditional Russian art and a typical love of the ornate with a warm, vivid background of traditional Russian nesting dolls (provided by Mathias Fast Photography) with transparency effects to tone down the 'kitsch' factor. The dolls metaphorically reference both history and lineage of the Society, the strong inter-generational elements of the Society members and their children/grandchildren, and their projects in Russia which all involve children and teenagers, as well as the strong value of community and family interconnectedness, which is fostered both in Russia and here in Canada.
The project involved significant and comprehensive consulting with the Client to establish direction, organization, needs and requirements, desired outcomes, etc. The Client had very minimal experience with and exposure to marketing and online best practices, and required assistance in setting direction and establishing goals.
Design completed, but currently in a holding pattern due to security issues surrounding identity protection of children/aid recipients and the Society as a whole in relation to the Russian Government. Look forward to a split launch in the near future with a limited public site and a subscription-based linked site with full details.
- The Asianadian:
The Asianadian was the first Asian-Canadian run and oriented publication in Canada. This project started as a term-project in lieu of final paper for an Asian Studies course at the University of British Columbia in 2007 and evolved into a comprehensive website design for a complete archive and reference site.
The site was designed in Dreamweaver using primarily css and html; interactive motion/expanding elements do not utilize Flash technology. 'Vintage' design theme, meant to balance the somewhat pixelated, poor-quality archival graphics.
The University of British Columbia has stated its intention to host this site as a featured site through its library website; however, I do not have an E.T.A. at this time. I'm considering a redesign to host the site on a free server independently of UBC in order to provide the full archive of the publication's run for reference purposes. At this time, only the attached screenshots are available.
- Eve: Subversive Hair Design
Currently under development: comprehensive branding and marketing for a 20 year old hairdresser starting her first business. Business cards, logo, website running on Google's free Blogger platform, will include social media etc. Keep an eye on http://subversivehair.blogspot.com to see how the project evolves.