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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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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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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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Client Description

Considered to be one of the premier documentary film festivals in the United States, The Full Frame Documentary Film Festival is a program of the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. Their mission is to enhance public understanding and appreciation of non-fiction film as a significant art form while making the films accessible to a wider audience.

Established in 1998, the multi-day festival, spread across multiple venues in downtown Durham, NC, is an international theatrical event featuring a wide range of non-fiction films. In addition to the festival, the Center for Documentary Studies provides additional programming across the state of North Carolina throughout the year.

The Challenge

The Festival had a website that did not reflect the caliber of films showcased in the festival. The site was also difficult to maintain and had an extensive need for manual coding, particularly within the programming schedule page. The Full Frame website was creating a poor mobile experience that was frustrating to any attendees attempting to access important information from the site during the festival

The new website needed to draw national attention in a saturated film festival market, while also delivering a compelling mobile experience to engage attendees before and during the festival. The Full Frame staff also expressed the need for a simpler site maintenance process, one flexible enough to support the need for changing content based around the different stages of the annual festival season. They wanted to take advantage of their website and use it as a tool to attract volunteers, donations, and supporters during the annual cycle.

The Solution

DesignHammer began with a robust discovery and planning process in collaboration with Festival staff in order to create a tailored plan for the new website. This extensive process included strategic consulting, a user survey, two rounds of card sorting, tree testing, and a full design phase. WordPress was selected to be the Content Management System for the website and was developed using a combination of community contributed, and custom plugins programed by DesignHammer staff.

Result

The new website provided improved usability on both desktop and mobile browsers. Streamlined workflows allowed for auto generation of festival schedules, as well as a greatly improved administrative system used by Festival staff for content management. With time freed up from laborious content entry, the Full Frame Festival staff could devote more time to creating content that would better connect with volunteers, donors and supporters throughout the year.

Awards

  • 2018 dotCOMM Awards: Honorable Mention
  • 2018 Hermes Creative Gold Award
  • 2017 Communicator Award of Distinction

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The Challenge

Investor's Title's affiliated agents receive the majority of their business by referral and through education on their respective websites. Many existing agent websites were aging and new agent websites needed to be created. Investors Title wanted to provide a consistent platform for launching a host of new agent websites. The sites needed to be launched with custom form support, enhanced customization, and they needed to cause as little disruption to agent business as possible.

The Solution

DesignHammer created a new platform for ITMS Agents’ websites. We chose to build it as a Drupal 7 multi-site with a customizable theme allowing for a unique but consistent design for each website. The multi-site platform reduces ongoing maintenance costs for the sites and reduces the per-agent setup costs. Each agent site provides a better user experience through increased usability, mobile design, and search functionality.

We combined careful planning and project management with some intelligent tools to ensure that every agent site deployment went smoothly.

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The Challenge

The previous Counter Store Audit Center website was running on a Drupal 6 multi-site platform. The Drupal community dropped support for version 6 in February of 2016. This meant the end of new functionality and security updates putting their many data entry users in a vulnerable position.

The Solution

DesignHammer provided a successful migration of highly valuable content to a new Drupal 7 platform. And even though the visual design hadn't changed, the updated theme functionality provided a better mobile-friendly user experience. This is a huge improvement given that most of the data is entered in the field on handheld devices.

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The Challenge

Healthy Homes / Healthy Families is a research survey used to help families set "healthy household rules". They needed to move the successful pilot survey from paper to online collection through desktops and hand-held tablets.

The Solution

DesignHammer created a custom online survey system on the CodeIgniter platform with a user interface designed in consultation with the client. The system also provides a suite of administrative tools which allow designated Health Coaches to manage the full lifecycle of a participant's interaction with the program.

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