Canadian Independent Music Association


Advocacy and Promotion of Independent Music

CIMA is a non-profit organization promoting and advocating for the Canadian Independent Music community. The current site was developed and redesigned as a site refresh, refocusing the structure and content for the current CIMA membership and potential new members.

The Catalyst CMS allows administrators to keep track of the statuses of the membership. The membership functionality sets up automatic notices to members when membership renewal is required. On the public side of the site, members can renew their memberships with an online payment. New members can sign-up and pay their membership fees online.

This site is the third Music Association that Visual Lizard has helped to develop. Attached to this site is Music Ontario, which is also a Music Association that just happens to come under the purview of CIMA. The Catalyst CMS allows them to work on both sites under the same administration system. That's a heck of a two for one.

Front and Center

Communicating with graphic designers and CIMA, we established a homepage template that best presented new and important information to site visitors, new and returning.

Each horizontal segment has its own distinct area that avoids muddying up anything above and below it, while maintaining a colour scheme that connects the entire page. From the social-media links and program initiatives at the top, the upcoming event and recent news articles in the middle, to the callout introductions and expanded navigation in the footer, everything helps visitors find what their looking for while working together to present a cohesive whole.

And interspersed in the homepage, we've provided large banner areas for CIMA to highlight events, opportunities, or whatever they like, without disrupting the other segments. With careful choices in imagery, the homepage is able to be eye-catching without ever being overwhelming

Member Directory

CIMA members are made up of an extensive group of Canadian music producers, production companies, music labels, music publishers, publicists, recording studios and more. All enjoy the benefits of belonging to Canada’s leading trade organization representing the country’s independent music and sound recording sector.

To assist CIMA in this, we constructed a public directory that both website administrators and the members themselves could manage. This directory allows site visitors to browse the entire directory or to search through it by tags, categories, genres, locations, and more.

By logging into a private area, CIMA members in good standing can manage their individual profiles with photographs, biographies, and social media links. CIMA helps its members put their best foot forward!

Paying Invoices Online

Membership comes with membership dues. Although we built a whole administrative system for CIMA for creating, assigning, and managing all that information for their members across two separate directories, it was important to us to not bring any of that complication to the front.

By integrating with Stripe, CIMA provides its membership an easy way to pay their dues online. Email notifications are sent out in customized HTML templates, stamped with uniquely generated invoice numbers, and clear instructions on how to proceed. The online payment page itself is purposely stripped of clutter, giving as straightforward an experience as possible.

Upcoming Events

CIMA provides assistance, education, and opportunities too all its members, through workshops, seminars, bulletins, networking events, and more. To help them organize all of this, we've updated their online calendar of events.

Rather than recreate the wheel, we worked with CIMA to identify how they used their old event system, what information they prioritized, and what media they included. Then we built an events display area based on those principles, giving them a tool they were use to. Only better.

Date, time, location, URLs, and tagging were placed at the top, to make sure a site visitor has the key bullet points without having to dig for them. Events can include a description, multiple photos, associated YouTube videos, and links to past similar events. All of this to bring a rich amount of information to the visitor.

By keeping the information clearly segmented behind the scenes, we could ensure each piece could be managed individually without breaking up or conflicting with any other piece. We could wrap it all in Google-friendly HTML code, ensuring the internet's robots could recognize and categorize it all as efficently as possible.

Top Charts

The advantage of custom-built code is that your website can be shaped to fit your workflow, rather than requiring your workflow to be rearranged to accommodate your website's limitations.

CIMA works with BuzzAngle to post weekly Top-20 and Top-40 lists, which they receive as Excel files. We were able to review the lists and the incoming Excel files, to identify the common requirements between the two. We simplified the Excel files, reducing them in both size and complexity, and we constructed an import tool that converted those smaller files into cleanly formatted data.

What used to be static imagery is now live text and manageable data. We were able to introduce proper HTML links to the list, which CIMA admins can link to iTunes albums, Spotify playlists, or their own member directories. And, as live text, the charts are now ranking higher in Google search results than ever before.

This Is Us

The core of CIMA is the fantastic people that work to promote independant music in Canada. They deserve credit for the the effort they put in. Constructing a specific set of tools for managing staff and board profiles allows each and every one to have their day in the sun without it all needing to be a headache of management.

Enforcing specific administrative form fields to capture first name, last name, position title, a required image size, and a formatted description allows us to build clean and consistent HTML markup for display. It makes the page easy to maintain, it keeps the page looking sharp and consistent throughout, and provides unambiguous code for Google's ranking engine to interpret.