Getting You Where You're Going
Economic Development Winnipeg approached us with the idea of a site home page that would be more interactive while providing direct access to much of the material their audiences wanted to see. The challenge was to do so in a way that wasn't overwhelming...
All the navigation pulldowns have a small content callout area, letting site adminstrators enhance what would normally be a static element with images. Five large icons are displayed over bright, bustling header imagery, revealing additional information on rollover and acting as direct links to areas of importance.
Content on the home page provides an overview of the latest information on the site as well as news, documents, videos, and annoucnements that Economic Development Winnipeg are trying to promote. An interactive map element at the bottom of every site page acts as a little bonus, highlighting information on Winnipeg's long tradition as transportation hub.
While the vast majority of the content on the site is fairly intense, it's important to Economic Development Winnipeg to provide their audiences with the overall feeling of the city, not just the cold hard facts.
It's All Right Here
The layout for the site is intended to feel substantially more open. The focus is on the centre column's content, with associated information found in the right column.
Some quick highlights tangentially related to the main content are displayed as easily-digested infographics. Doowah Design came up with a series of stylized icons that gives quick-glance impressions, and we built a tool that lets site administrators mix and match infographic callouts on any page on the site. There are also Key And Related documents sections, sourced form the site's overall document library and assigned to any site page by the site administrators.
The combination of these elements turns each page into a one-stop location for a pile of the related information on any particular subject. No need to hunt over the whole site for secondary documents... they're all right here!
We took advantage of Google API customizations to replace the page's default banner image with an interactive map overlayed with Winnipeg's business and industrial parks. A filtering form below lets the user tweak the display, updating it with feature items they're interested in.
Major companies in ten main economic sectors have points on the map and Economic Development Winnipeg can easily update these points at any time, using the adminstrative tools we custom built for them.
A Video Library
Economic Development Winnipeg hosts all its videos on its own YouTube channel, but they understand how important it is to have those videos available in context with associated information. So we built them a media library right in their site, storing them alongside provided titles, descriptions, and credits. This tool allows administrators to set a series of any other videos to appear as related videos, keeping visitors on their own site while still leveraging YouTube's social media platform.
All In One Convenient Place
The site has over a hundred and fifty documents covering all ranges of topics about Winnipeg, its statistics, its economy, its development, its people, and more. And we can expect that number to grow as new information is gathered and published.
We built a document library into the Economic Development Winnipeg website to make it easy for visitors to find the document they're looking for and to make it easy for site administrators to manage them all. Documents can be sorted into categories, given custom titles, and uploaded in a number of formats. The library gathers them all and automatically detects inherent metadata like file size.
These files not only exist in the main document library, but can be shared to any other page, appearing under Key and Related sidebar areas. It's a useful bit of flexibility that lets Economic Development Winnipeg update and supplement documents throughout the site without needing to track down each and every one of them.
Assembling Your Own Report
The report builder is a custom tool we built that stitches together HTML pages, PDF documents, and EXCEL spreadsheets into a single downloadable report, complete with cover page and table of contents.
A visitor can browse the site and mark any number of individual pages or listed documents to add to a report list. Once they've found everything they need, they can rearrange the pages of the report to any order they prefer and press a button to assemble the report. HTML and PDF documents are converted into a single multi-page PDF document that can be downloaded within minutes. Any EXCEL spreadsheets are kept separate from the PDFs, and then are bundled with the resulting report in an exported ZIP archive file.
This sort of tool has been offered by many organizations in the past but we've never been able to find one that was stable, fast, and easy to use. So we just built one instead! And we keep an eye on it by running tests almost every day, making sure that it does exactly what it needs to be doing.