Back in late 2009 I had a group of creatives and developers in our boardroom working on our annual digital planning deck for the Ontario Toyota Dealers Association.
As we poured through numerous ideas, different media and social media exercises our developers commented “for all of these ideas to work we need to rebuild their website”. The team went one further, “if the Dealers would agree on a new site build we could ensure a better user experience and an agile enough website to adapt with constant retail changes”.
Our client loved their existing site and their peers also frequently commented on how it was one of the industry’s best. Why would they want to spend the dollars necessary to rebuild a website when they had a strong property live and doing the job it was intended for?
Here was our “WHY” list:
- The site was 4 years old and designed for/developed completely in Flash
- Our “container” kept our on-screen working area very limited
- We felt users needed too many clicks to reach their desired content
- We could dramatically improve our SEO with better code and development practises
- We wanted to better utilize our new CMS tools and found that trying to synch new technologies to older sites posed their own new batch of problems
- On any given month our clients retail program could dramatically change from the last – we needed a site which would allow us be as agile as possible
- The site could no longer maintain our strategic digital vision for the client
Our creative & development teams took up the challenge in earnest. They put an action plan together that not only answered the “WHY’s” but created excellent wireframes, visuals and site architecture to support our case. Based on that work at the beginning of January the Dealers unanimously approved the site redesign. The presentation wasn’t just a slick song and dance to get the room raving, we moved slowly through the “WHY’s” – demonstrating how the new site could fulfill their tactical needs while growing and adapting to best practises in code and design.
We launched Phase 1 of that new site yesterday. Phase 2 is right around the corner
During the build I saw not only the internal teams at Dashboard take ownership and pride in this project but our client as well. I have seen large projects derail very quickly in the past, lose their primary focus and go off on wild tangents that leave clients and agencies frustrated. I’m proud to say we delivered Phase 1 on time and on budget but most of all I’m proud of the individuals who stepped up and delivered exactly what they set out to do.
They put their money where their mouth is.