How was 2016 for you? Last year won’t go down as a favorite for many of us, for many reasons (musicians passing, elections, etc.). But as a company, it was a pretty good year at Electric Citizen, and we have much to be grateful for. Here’s a brief recap of our past year of work.

Higher Ed

college students sitting together on a wall

2016 saw us doubling down on our work for clients in higher ed – colleges, universities, technical and community schools. We welcomed new clients such as Viterbo University in LaCrosse, WI, the Morris, MN campus of the University of Minnesota, and the Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC).

Our work continued at the UMN Twin Cities campus, launching new sites for several colleges (Chemistry, DevConnect, Housing and Residential Life, Continental Scientific Drilling). And our team continued to support and improve sites for many others (UMN Law, Century College).

 

Arts and Culture

turnblad mansion image

Designing a new website for a client is very satisfying. Getting to redesign the same site years later? Even better.

Four years after we first worked with the American Swedish Institute, we were offered the chance to do a full redesign of their website. While the original design was a success, change happens fast online. Getting to apply what we’ve learned over time, and continue a good, long-term client relationship made this a highlight for the year. The new site launched in the fall.

We also had the chance to work on a new website around voting rights, and the historic struggle for such rights. Your Vote Your Voice was a community effort, led by the Minnesota-branch of the League of Women Voters, and featuring the work of many area organizations. The site is meant to be an educational tool, as well as hub for social change.

 

Strategy, Content and User Experience

writing a content plan

Electric Citizen has always offered a variety of services to its clients, from concept to completion, and last year was no different. We designed and built a number of websites and online applications.

But 2016 also felt like a year of “personal growth”, where we were able to spend more time engaging with clients from a purely strategic standpoint.

We flexed our content skills, doing content strategy and writing copy for key landing pages of sites. In planning phases of projects, we did more stakeholder interviews, user testing, sitemaps, wireframes and analytics review. Several new projects solely focused on consulting with clients about their digital presence, helping write the “blueprints” for the future. It seems that we are growing from a ‘web shop’ into a true digital agency.

Support and Continuous Improvement

training editor on using Drupal

Every modern website needs experienced content writers and developers to keep it running and keep it relevant. While some clients have these people on staff, many do not, or could use additional site support. We started placing more emphasis on site support and continuous improvement in 2016, encouraging all our clients to plan and budget for it when they can.

We formalized new support plans, unveiling 3 tiers of site support, along with a new, detailed list of services. Plans include features such as site performance monitoring, bug fixes, feature enhancements, and content updates, as well as scheduled check-ins with a support lead.

Support clients also are given access to an ideas and improvements board, where we discuss, monitor and carry out site improvements over time. CMS software is monitored, kept up-to-date and secure. We are busy working to bring additional features and improvements to our support clients in 2017, so stay tuned for future announcements.

Drupal

2016 was another year of Drupal, our favorite CMS. We poured many hours into new online tools, for non-technical editors to better manage content and customize pages. We sent the entire team to learn more at DrupalCon North America in New Orleans, and continued as a Platinum sponsor of the Twin Cities DrupalCamp. Three of us gave talks at the conference, as well as other regional conferences.

Drupal 8 was officially released last year, and our team has been busy upgrading our skill set and workflow for all that Drupal 8 has to offer. We are eagerly embracing Drupal 8 in 2017, while continuing to support our many Drupal 7 clients.

Site Gallery

Here’s a quick snapshot of some of the sites we helped launch last year, including a refresh of our own website. We hope to have as many or more new sites to celebrate in 2017!

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Dan Moriarty

About the Author:

Dan has worked as a UX designer, developer and online strategist since 2000, working on a wide variety of web design and development projects. More »