conducting group video chat on home office computer

Working Through a Pandemic

May 27, 2020| by Dan Moriarty

It's been an extraordinarily difficult time for everyone, dealing with both a pandemic and a recession, sheltering in place while another beautiful (and fleeting) spring comes to a close.

As I stare at my last blog post here, 'Get Ready for DrupalCon Minneapolis,' a few things are clear. One is we're not getting ready for any big social gatherings any time soon (sadly).

Two, there's already an information overload out there regarding COVID-19, and how businesses are responding to these "unprecedented times."

And three, despite that overload, we should give an update on what's been happening at Electric Citizen, and ways we can still help our clients and their organizations online.

Shift to Remote

Like a lot of people in our field, we have shifted to working remotely since March. We are fortunate to be able to do so! As a web agency, we can do our work anywhere we can get Internet access. 

We already have worked with out-of-state clients, hired remote employees and contractors, and used Zoom on a daily basis, so it wasn't hard for us to make the switch. I don't think we missed a beat, with all of our current projects continuing as planned–though some of our clients' situations have led to delays or postponements of work.

screengrab of members of Electric Citizen having a Zoom call together

I miss the in-person connections and opportunities that come up when collaborating in the same office, and know our team is missing it too (some more than others!). We are maintaining our physical office, with the hope to return to all these empty desks sometime later this year.

Full Service Continues

Despite the move to a remote office, we continue to offer a full range of services to our clients. Probably the easiest of these to conduct remotely is web development and site support, as they've historically involved minimal need for in-person contact. 

homepage of Medicine Iowa website

Because design can be subjective, it's great to present designs in-person when possible. We've been able, however, to present and discuss new work over video chat and screen sharing, and follow up on our project sites for feedback and revisions. We've done this process many times before for clients in other cities and states, so that hasn't been too much of a challenge either. Recent projects for clients in Montana and Iowa have both gone through successful design stages.

The first stage of a new project, strategic planning and analysis, typically has involved some in-person time for kickoff and discovery workshops. This includes longer meetings with hand-ons exercises, white boarding, charts, post-in notes, etc., while getting to know each other better. This too, however, can be done remotely.

We just need to adapt to the medium – schedule shorter and more frequent video calls, for example, instead of a single (and longer) in-person workshop. There are online tools we can use for things like testing sitemaps or defining and sorting project goals. 

How We Can Help Your Organization

We understand that not every organization has as much experience working remotely as ours. So let us help! When physical spaces are closed or in-person programs are shuttered, online becomes an even more important space for everyone to connect.

Our team has been working on the web for 10-20+ years. We have conducted numerous projects, including full scale redesigns, in a fully remote situation. And we have years of experience using a range of tools for online collaboration. Let us help guide your team through your next project, even if it's entirely remote. 

Some of the web services we offer that might help you include:

  • Interactive tools and online applications for engaging with your users
  • Ecommerce for selling products or services from your website
  • Membership tools for increasing online services or managing member databases
  • Embedding video, audio, documentation and other media online
  • Remote user testing, or conducting surveys and polls
  • Content audits, analytics reviews
  • Making your website more accessible
  • Site performance improvements
  • Responsive, mobile-friendly improvements
  • Ongoing technical support and site improvements
Final Word

We know these are hard times for so many people, and send our best wishes out to you all. Despite the shut down, there are still so many great organizations with important missions to fulfill. Schools that still need to teach. Communities that need support. Agencies that need to serve the people. And we still want to be a part of that.

We are still here, and ready to help.

photo of Dan Moriarty wearing a dark blue dress shirt

About the Author:

Dan has been serving the Minneapolis-St. Paul area as a UX designer, developer and online strategist since 2000. More about Dan »