Economic Development Winnipeg has just relaunched their site with a minor redesign and a major change to how they present the plethora of documents they provide. The changes to the design were both aesthetic and presentational.
Aesthetically speaking there was some honing to the colour palette and a sharpening to the fonts by our friends over at Doowah Design. The largest of the display change appeared on the home page of the site where there was a change to how the promotional elements were displayed. These are now smaller banners which can be swapped out and run over set periods of time. The former version of this promotion functionality was more prominent in the display, taking up the majority of the home page. The new design has changed the focus from those large promotions to the core behind EDW. EDW provides statistics and information about business in Winnipeg, the home page now provides more immediate access to the latest business and economic development news. It also presents instant access to the latest EDW publications for the visitor who is interested in the economic outlook of this city.
One of the features from the old version which has now been expanded is the feature drop menus. A visually appealing piece of functionality which the visitor can use to find the information they want within the site. Short concise titles of internal pages allow the visitor quick access to the information in which they are most interested.
The presentation of information has changed slightly as well. Each page of the site will now display documents associated to the topic of that page. Also, the addition of a right side column to the presentation of the internal pages provides corresponding contact information for the people at EDW most appropriate to discuss the information presented on the page that the visitor is viewing. Instead of having to go to a long list of people and description of their job titles in order to find the individual that a visitor would want to contact, the new presentation makes that information available right there.
From a functionality standpoint, there have been a couple of big changes. Firstly, in discussions with EDW, it was decided that administratively it was in the best interest of the site's development to include a central place for the management of all of the documents that are presented on the site. There is now a central place to do this, and once a document is uploaded, it is assigned to any and all categories to which it may belong, and then the administrators can assign the document to any page or as many pages in the site they wish. There is no longer a need to upload a document many times in order for it to appear in many places.
Secondly, we were asked to create an Associated Contacts piece of functionality. As described above, this piece allows the administrators to assign contacts to pages throughout the site based on the individual's expertise.
All of the development work done for the latest design and functionality was built on the Catalyst administration CMS while the site was still live and was able to draw on current data so there was no reason to worry about keeping data synchronized. This specific situation allowed for a seamless transfer from old to new. This isn't always the case, but it's nice when it happens this way.