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Client Description

A reputable marketing agency with limited available development resources approached DesignHammer for additional assistance with a 4-week turnaround, white-label project for their Fortune 500 client. The agency sought to build a multi-screen video presentation to be set up as a promotional installation at a major industry trade show. The installation would provide users with a self-guided tour of the client’s product through a variety of case studies.

The Challenge

The case study content was to be presented as a series of 4k animations, displayed on massive 72-inch touch screens, with the ability to function without an active internet connection. The installation required a UI for navigating through the various chapters and pages, seamless playback of the various intros, loops, and outros for each video segment, an accessibility mode, and handling for idle timeouts when a user moves away from a screen. Lastly, the solution had to include a flexible mechanism for content updating after initial deployment, as the client was rapidly modifying their content right up to the day of the event.

The Solution

An initial discovery and planning process revealed that a strictly browser-based implementation would not work due to the size of the multi-GB videos in question and inconsistent internet access. DesignHammer elected to instead create a desktop application using a combination of Vue.js and Electron; as their open-source, cross-platform nature is cost-effective and enables fast turn-around times with multiple developers working on the project simultaneously.

A custom HTML5 video player capable of seamless playback of 4K looping video content was ultimately constructed. An entirely custom UI layer, designed to match a set of premade storyboards and animations, was also built on top of the video playback. Swipe and multi-finger tap gestures were enabled for the custom elements, as well as an accessibility feature that accommodated positional access (standing/sitting) to the navigation controls. A follow-up project resulted in the ability to set different target physical display sizes, allowing for the presentation of the same video content on much smaller displays, whilst showing the custom UI at a relatively larger size.

Result

The experience was delivered on time and on budget, all while supporting a number of last-minute content changes. The application provided an easy set-up process for event administrators and a stable experience for the whole event; several additional instances of the experience have since been shipped at other trade-shows and events around the world.

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Client Description

A reputable marketing agency with limited available development resources approached DesignHammer for additional assistance with a 2-week turnaround, white-label project for their Fortune 500 client. The concept was a highly interactive quiz-style experience to be displayed at a conference kiosk, challenging attendees to answer five questions correctly. The installation was to ultimately serve as a marketing tool, with the content and messaging around the questions and scoring methodology specifically designed to highlight the value of the client’s product.

The Challenge

The quiz experience needed to run all day on a set of large 4k touch panels on a conference show floor without internet connectivity. Storyboards with layout mockups were provided by the client, but they did not include any specific guidance for animations or transitions between scenes. Sound effects needed to be added, which included a looping music bed that was intended to play while users interacted with the quiz. UX was the top priority for the quiz kiosk. How the user felt about their time with the quiz would directly correlate with how they felt about the product offering. This meant that every aspect of the presentation had to feel seamless and the developers had to ensure that the animations ran smoothly in 4K.

The Solution

The application was broken out into a number of screens each handled by a full-page Vue component. The screens corresponded with each particular scene provided by the client’s storyboards. The development structure was designed to allow for multiple people to work on the application without interfering with one another. The architecture of the quiz system was set up to allow all aspects of the visual display to be adjusted independently. This made it easy to refine the parameters over the course of the project in response to user testing.

Approximately 30 hand-tuned animations were created to enhance the [experiential] impact of every single visual element within the quiz. By optimizing the elements for the Electron browser’s rendering engine, the final experience ran smoothly and maintained a crisp frame-rate during multi-element fullscreen transitions. A seamless looping music player was built similar to the video kiosk and smooth volume fading was added.

Result

The quiz was delivered on time and on budget, all within the proposed 2-week turnaround time. The agency was appreciative of the professional judgment and the creative initiative we took to construct various aspects of the animation and design.

Also, despite initial objections to running the experience in a standard web browser, a successful initial deployment motivated the client to begin presenting the quiz online for more users to experience.

While not initially built for the web, the successful initial deployment motivated the client to request a version that could be deployed on their own marketing site. We were able to update the existing codebase to support generating a browser-based version of the quiz. Our decision to use the Vue.js and Electron build tools made this process fairly straightforward.

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Client Description

Duke University Health System is a world-class hospital and health care network including three hospitals in central North Carolina (Duke University Hospital, Durham Regional Hospital, and Duke Raleigh Hospital), as well as outpatient, wellness, and hospice care.

The Challenge

Physician engagement is an important aspect of Duke Health's mission. Previously Duke Health had worked with external vendors to deliver the Clinical Practice Today website and newsletter to physicians. Duke Health sought to centralize and streamline these efforts in a single Duke Health subsite, leveraging technology used for dukehealth.org.

To maximize physician engagement with the new subsite, Duke Health conducted market research and determined that the physician audience wanted their own dedicated web portal and online tools for making patient referrals. Physicians wanted the control to search by different criteria, such as physician name, or by specialty rather than condition/procedure, which was not supported by the patient-oriented “Find a Doctor” search tool on dukehealth.org.

The Solution

In order to provide a tailored solution for referring physicians, one that was simple, fit their clinical workflow and encouraged repeat visits, DesignHammer and Duke Health began the project off with a robust discovery and planning process. This included competitive analysis of other prestigious health systems to determine best practices in content organization and navigation, card sorting to identify appropriate homepage content and navigation structure, and tree testing to validate the proposed navigation.

DesignHammer created the new website in Drupal 7, Duke’s preferred website development platform. The website provides users with multiple search interfaces including a Mini Specialist Finder for the homepage, a full Specialist Finder, and a Search by Doctor’s Name–all to better connect referring physicians to Duke specialists. The system relies on Apache SOLR for search results. Specialist data, including Specialist Profiles, and auto-complete suggestions, utilizes the data provided for the patient facing “Find a Doctor” system to minimize staff overhead related to data maintenance. The administrative interface also provides content editors with similar functionality to dukehealth.org.

To provide continuity and enhance SEO authority, the new website incorporated the previously standalone Clinical Practice Today website content (including appropriate redirection), adding landing pages for targeted specialties and CME (Continuing Medical Education) content. Clinical Practice Today delivers timely articles on Duke Health research, innovation, and other continuing medical education.

To ensure access for all, the new website was developed in accordance with Duke’s latest standards for accessibility for users with disabilities. To this end, DesignHammer and Duke Health focused on delivering accessible navigation for all major site content.

The Result

DesignHammer created a new platform for physician engagement that fit seamlessly into Duke Health’s internal workflow and facilitated physician referrals to Duke Health. The new Specialist Finder provides referring physicians with instant access to the latest specialist listings, with the added benefit of reducing Duke Health’s staff time by leveraging the same data source as the “Find a Doctor” search.

Most importantly, the project delivered new ownership to Duke Health of the dissemination of Clinical Practice Today CME content, in parallel with Duke bringing the ownership of email marketing of CME in-house. This consolidation provided the Duke Health marketing team with full control of previously outsourced content.

“DesignHammer’s work gave us a strong platform on which our in-house team could further develop the website, based on user testing and analytics. Since launch, we have been able to further improve the Find A Specialist and specialist profile pages. Without the original development work, those enhancements could not have been possible.”

–Seamus O’Reilly, Duke Health Digital Engagement Director

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Client Description

Established 2014 in Statesville North Carolina, Highland Composites is the composite structures division of Highland Industries, Inc. (see their recent Django Upgrade here). Highland Composites utilizes a full range of braided, woven, and raw fibers together with proprietary, state-of-the-art technology to create composite products for use in a wide variety of structural applications.

The Challenge

As a new player in the marketplace, Highland Composites needed to demonstrate their unique capabilities and value proposition. Composites manufacturing is a complex industry that can utilize many different technologies; Highland specializes in braided composites, composite overbraiding, and open architecture composite structures (proprietary to Highland Composites). The Highland Industries website was not attracting appropriate customers for the Highland Composites brand and did not effectively feature their Composites offerings.

The Solution

DesignHammer built a custom WordPress website for Highland Composites to showcase their capabilities and attract leads. The new website featured high-resolution photography and videos to quickly educate prospects on how Highland Composites’ technologies can make parts faster, lighter, stronger, tougher or more consistent, as well as highlighting the differences between composites and conventional process. To better position themselves and appeal to their target prospects across multiple industries, the new website featured case studies with application examples tailored to the best use of Highland Composites technologies. Social sharing buttons (Facebook, Twitter, and Vimeo) were integrated into relevant content to facilitate multi-outlet media campaigns. Google Analytics was configured to track website traffic and appropriate conversions (contacts from prospects). To help the Highland Composites business development team quantify results, custom reports were also configured for specific advertising efforts.

Result

Highland Composites focuses their business development efforts on conferences, trade shows, and industry meetings. This team can now leverage the website to reinforce their capabilities with identified prospects. Highland Composites measures the success of these efforts by increased traffic and website interaction during and following targeted business development events. Following a recent trade show, Highland Composites tracked an impressive 100% increase in page views, a 50% increase in new users, and a 50% increase lead acquisition via the website.

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Client Description

Founded in 1990, the North Carolina Center for Nonprofits is a private, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that serves as a statewide network for nonprofit board and staff members, an information center on effective organizational practices, and an advocate for the nonprofit sector as a whole. They offer services directly to all sizes and types of 501(c)(3) nonprofits and work closely with other local, state, and national groups that assist nonprofits.

The Challenge

The NC Center for Nonprofits identified obstacles related to advocacy, member services, communication efforts and capacity. In pursuing its mission to support North Carolina’s nonprofit community, the Center relied on an antiquated website including a very complicated, largely custom, and undocumented Salesforce integration which no longer functioned correctly. With limited staff and resources the Center struggled to manage client interactions, often due to confusing or broken website features. The site couldn’t just be repaired as it was built using Drupal 6, an obsolete version of the CMS that was no longer supported. This combination of factors threatened to compromise the Center’s fundraising efforts and ability to secure donations from companies and other foundations.

The Solution

The project began with a comprehensive discovery and planning phase, including strategic consulting and business process analysis. Usability and user testing methodologies were employed to improve overall user experience and website usability including site architecture and navigation structure. Business processes were simplified and customer self-service functionality was extended to decrease the need for staff to perform customer service related tasks. The Drupal 6 website’s Salesforce integration was one of the most complex we had ever encountered and far more complicated than necessary to support the Center’s staff, members, and overall mission. The integration was simplified with much of the previous custom code replaced or removed in favor of community supported Drupal modules. A new Drupal 7 site was built featuring a mobile optimized, responsive theme. As part of the rebuild some features were removed to provide better-defined workflows. Finally, content was migrated from the Drupal 6 website and data was synchronized from Salesforce.

Result

In the four months since deployment of the new website, the North Carolina Center for Nonprofits has tracked a 21% increase in the use of Job Boards, as well as a 7% increase in organizational membership.

Most importantly, with the new website working as an resource multiplier rather than an overhead liability staff members are now better able to allocate their time helping member organizations and supporting the Center’s mission as opposed to being inundated with website-related customer support emails and phone calls.

Awards

  • 2018 Gold dotCOMM Awards
  • 2018 Summit Creative Finalist Award
  • 2018 Communicator Award of Distinction
  • 2018 Hermes Creative Honorable Mention

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The Challenge

Qualyst came to us as they were transitioning from a services company to a services and products company. They needed a website that reflected that change and that would appeal to a variety of specific markets. Additionally, the existing website had become dated and didn't display correctly on mobile devices.

The Solution

We started by working closely with Qualyst during the design phase to ensure a clean, attractive, and relevant design was produced for their audience. As part of keeping their target segments in mind, we recruited a marketer with a track record of collaborating with scientists and creative professionals to use words, images, videos, and animation to convey complex scientific ideas. With the planning and design complete, we were able to move forward into production of a website to help Qualyst take the next step in their marketing goals.

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The Challenge

The previous North Carolina Alliance for Effective Care Transitions (NCACT) website architecture made it difficult for users to quickly find desired content. Most user interaction was primarily presented as links in the body content, making it very easy to overlook. It was also difficult to add new functionality related to gathering organization profiles and member sharing.

The Solution

DesignHammer migrated their existing content to a new WordPress website, vastly improved the navigation, and increased user interaction. With the ability to quickly add and customize new web-forms NCACT was able to get the information they needed from organization members. This also simplified the submission process. This allowed them to build a large database of healthcare organizations which benefits the users who need this information.

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NetOne

Project Date: 
Thursday, March 5, 2015
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NetOne Homepage
NetOne Event Calendar
NetOne Event Calendar mobile
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The Challenge

NetOne operates a Drupal 7 website for members of their network of independently owned security companies for the residential and commercial markets. When NetOne approached DesignHammer, they were having multiple usability issues: account registration was confusing and overly complicated; many of the styles were "default Drupal" instead of matching the look and feel of the NetOne theme; the site was not 100% mobile-ready, creating a sub-par experience for an increasing number of mobile users. There were also issues with forum notification emails and MailChimp list subscription. Additionally, NetOne needed on-going help maintaining Drupal and working closely with the CTO to create new features to make the NetOne website even more useful for security professionals.

The Solution

DesignHammer helped NetOne through a number of usability audits, where we conducted in-person testing using both a desktop setup with keyboard and mouse, as well as a mobile device that recorded the user's interactions with the website. Through this testing, we were able to generate recommendations to help improve the user experience for the NetOne website.

We re-wrote a number of NetOne's custom modules, simplifying account registration from three pages down to one, adjusting the forgotten password tool messaging to clarify the process, and cleaning up the user profile editing interface. NetOne's theme stylesheets were converted to using Sass, a CSS pre-processor that makes it easier to organize a highly complex set of styles. Our designers created mobile-ready styles to fix the issues discovered during our UX testing. We also rebuilt the integration with MailChimp, so that users were subscribed correctly to the NetOne mailing list during registration and profile editing, as well as forum notification emails for the user's interests.

DesignHammer continues to work closely with NetOne, creating and maintaining features such as a parts exchange system for sharing inventories, a yearly "Grand Champions" event sub-site with an event registration system, as well as a revamped file resources library.

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The Challenge

The Highland Industries website was based on Django 1.4 which was approaching end of life. To ensure that the platform stayed up to date it needed to be updated to a more recent version.

Django 1.7 introduced native data migrations and the implementation of them was not compatible with the site's existing table structure.

The Solution

We decided to target the latest long term support release of Django: 1.8 LTS.

In order to complete the migration the Django instance had to be updated, in turn, from 1.4 to 1.5, then to 1.6, then 1.7, and finally 1.8. Each version of Django represented a long list of potentially breaking changes. In addition to this, the existing Django implementation relied on mutiply-inherited data models for representing content pages in the site.

We carefully undertook a process of updating Django to the next version and then reviewing and documenting deprecations. We also carefully restructured the database schema and model definitions so that they could be properly understood by Django's migrations system. We did all of this in a safe testing environment using Vagrant. Once the migration work was complete and well-tested in a development environment we were able to perform the migration on the production server. The migration went very smoothly with minimal interruption and no visible change to end users.

The result is that the Highland Industries website continues to run on the latest LTS release of Django. Additional development projects for the site have benefitted from having native migrations and better dependency support.

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The Challenge

After DesignHammer had completed a website redesign project for RTI-HS, they wanted to move their website off-site in order to have control over the development and feature release process. The original website was developed and hosted in-house using ColdFusion technology.

The Solution

DesignHammer created a new website using the Drupal 7 CMS. We set up functionality to pull publications and research team data from their third-party CRM Vision. We use continuous integration to pull XML files from RTI and the database from the RTI-HS production website and run content tests on a staging instance of the website. These tests ensure that migrated data is consistent before it reaches the production server. This system has allowed us to make changes constantly while ensuring that the data on their website is always presented accurately.

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