2013 was an exciting year at EchoDitto.
It was as motivating as the ultimate dance mix on Spotify, challenging as a black diamond ski trail, and rewarding as a long vacation with old friends. In short, 2013 was 365 days of amazing clients and inspiring projects. So, in the spirit of Show & Tell, we wanted to geek out about a few of the really awesome projects we launched in 2013. They range from a slick new site for an NGO fighting global hunger, to a couple of responsive projects to bring sites into the mobile sphere, to a new online database and marketplace for the creative community in New England - and many more!
Telling The Story
Several sites we launched this year are helping their organizations better tell the story about the important, sometimes life-saving, work that they do every day.
The WFP USA is the American wing of the World Food Program, a global NGO fighting hunger where it strikes hardest. We worked with both WFP USA and the stellar design team from BlueCadet planning, designing, and developing their new site. The result was wfpusa.org, a stunningly visual tribute to the organization's groundbreaking work. Furthermore our development team built and themed the site in a way that makes it extremely flexible and easy for non-technical staff to maintain and update.
The Austen Riggs Center is an innovative psychiatric hospital in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts. They came to us searching for a new look for their outdated site and architecture that would better tell their story to potential patients, families, and other members of the therapeutic community. Working with the staff of Austen Riggs, we created a new site that exudes the Center's campus culture, with rich use of images and color. The site also includes a new blog component, where the Center's staff write about issues that interest their audience, and an Alumni Community portal that allows alumni to stay in touch through private discussion forums and blogs.
The Mobile Frontier
With mobile traffic exceeding one fifth of all 2013 web traffic by many accounts, making sites responsive to smaller screen sizes and devices is critical. Almost all of the work we did this year was either designed mobile-first or with responsiveness baked in from the very beginning - but we also did a few projects to bring non-responsive sites up to snuff.
We launched the redesigned BrennanCenter.org very early in 2013. After the launch, we came back to the project and made the theme responsive. Working from the original desktop designs we built in one breakpoint and fluid scaling, making the site seamlessly transition from desktop to tablet to smartphone. The intuitive architecture of the site, which links Brennan's policy, advocacy, and publications work, is maintained on mobile screens, and the cleanliness of the pages makes it easy for mobile and tablet visitors to access the wealth of information on the site.
After redesigning the Wilderness Society's site in 2012, they came back to us looking for a responsive upgrade in 2013. Scaling the expansive homepage slider and other visual elements to mobile browser size without losing the clarity and focus of the desktop version was a challenge, but the end product gives users an engaging experience at any screen size.
Building and Sustaining Communities
EchoDitto's core work has always been about how to build, engage, and support communities online and off. Several projects last year played directly to this mission.
America's Promise Alliance is dedicated to raising the High School graduation rate in America, and their GradNation campaign aims to bring together people working on the front lines of policy and education to help raise the national graduation rate to 90% by 2020. GradNation.org provides expert resources, research, and best practices for raising graduation rates. The site also provides a community portal where users can interact with one another and share additional tips and resources.
The New England Foundation for the Arts wanted to create a central place where people offering or searching for creative assets could go to connect and strengthen New England's creative economy. CreativeGround.org allows artists, creative businesses, and creative nonprofits to post a profile listing their contact information, bio/description, accomplishments, and services or offerings. People looking for a musician, performance space, artist, or gallery can go to the site and search by a number of criteria to find just the right local person or organization. The site serves to connect, support, and grow the creative economy and creative individuals across the New England region.
Ready for 2014
If last year was exciting, the start of 2014 has got us truly pumped. All of those important elements from projects like GradNation, The Brennan Center and WFP USA? They are only going to become more crucial this year.
As the noise of content production amplifies, as the most common screen size contracts, and as issue fragmentation expands, organizations who will stand out are those that who can apply the essentials of smart, engaging, responsive content.
In short, it's onwards and upwards from here, and we couldn't be more thrilled.
Want to see more?
The examples above are just a few of the sites we launched in 2013 - the full list can be seen below. We had a great year working with fun, inspiring clients on projects that made a difference, and are looking forward to another year full of exciting work.
- World Food Program USA
- Brennan Center
- The Wilderness Society (responsive redesign)
- Austen Riggs Center
- Bellwether Education Partners - TeacherPensions.org
- Orton Family Foundation (design refresh)
- Google Summer of Code 2014
- GivingPlan.net and client sites like tulanenew.givingplan.net
- EnergyAction Coalition
- We Are Powershift
photo credit: Nigel Howe