Warm, Welcoming Websites – The New WWW

Cantilever works with senior managers who were feeling frustrated because their websites weren’t delivering the results they need. We design, develop, and support websites that get results for clients from local small businesses to IBM and American Express. We are passionate about providing “Digital Hospitality” for users and giving them a reason to come back.

We’re more than a technology company – we’re a hospitality company. We believe that websites are spaces that users enter, not billboards they see from a distance.

We help by overhauling those sites to meet users’ needs better, or by starting fresh with a new site built with our proven three-step process.

Every day, tens of thousands of people visit the sites we’ve built, and we are passionate about providing a great experience for each and every person. We are obsessed with perfecting and popularizing the art of “Digital Hospitality.”

 
$10,000+
 
$150 - $199 / hr
 
2 - 9
 Founded
2011
Show all +
New York, NY
headquarters
  • 229 West 36th Street
    New York, NY 10018
    United States
other locations
  • 12515 Milbank St.
    Studio City, CA 91614
    United States

Portfolio

Key clients: 
IBM, American Express, New York Times, Esquire Magazine, Droga5, Northeastern University, NYU, The IMF, American Cancer Society, Samuellson’s Red Rooster Harlem, In The Raw Sweeteners

Esquire Classic

When Esquire was developing their full page archive, featuring every story from every issue, they understood that the volume and breadth of their content was daunting. Their team envisioned creating a blog-like recommendation site to wrap the archive, surfacing timely, curated highlights according to the season and current events. Paired with the chronological issue database, this product would provide unlimited access while

remaining navigable and low-effort for the reader.

They brought Cantilever in to create and brand this site. We worked from the early stages of the project with editor Tyler Cabot and his colleagues at the magazine to outline a pricing model and business strategy, create an intuitive UX, and develop a visual aesthetic that was vintage Esquire.

We helped Esquire to derive the Classic brand name and copy tone, then provided a visual identity to reflect the characteristics we observed. Since Classic provides access to new issues (before it’s even in the mail), it was important to keep the brand fresh and modern while respecting the wealth of historical content available through the service.

The final result is a new notion in digital publishing: eternal, essential content, edited and curated so you know what to read today. We were thrilled to be a part of such an intriguing project.

The Weather Company, An IBM Business- Media Kit Image

The Weather Company, An IBM Business- Media Kit

IBM Watson Advertising (formerly The Weather Company, an IBM Business’s ad sales division) offers a comprehensive suite of advertising offerings from The Weather Channel website and mobile app. They use powerful data science and research to help brands spend better, and reach the audiences they want to speak to most.We worked with NJ-based firm By & Large to create a clean, usable media kit website. They crafted content and

led the visual design, we tackled UX, code, and design for secondary pages. We also got to collaborate with Eric Miller, inventor of UX Kits.

This site explained why IBM Watson Advertising has such a powerful edge, providing real-world outcomes to back up these claims. It served as a practical tool for clients to get data pertaining to the campaigns they wanted to run across The Weather Channel’s varied platforms. Finally, there is an active blog on the media kit, which provides unique insights into how weather can affect business.

We adopted a UX approach that emphasizes the connections within the site. Users should be able to drift from a case study to a technology used in that case study to a spec for an ad unit that utilizes that technology, to a news story highlighting one client’s use of that ad unit.

We built the site with an innovative WordPress methodology backed by Timber, the excellent framework from Upstatement, paired with our object-oriented CSS and JS approach. The result is a fast, fresh web presence that is poised to grow.

Conversations with Tyler

Conversations With Tyler (http://conversationswithtyler.com) is a podcast which is produced by the Mercatus Center, a research center at George Mason University, that exists to promote new and unique ideas about markets, economics, and the broader world by creating conversations with experts across various fields. We took the fantastic new branding created by our

friends at Adnauseum (https://www.adnauseum.net/) and turned it into a digital product to make it even more accessible to listeners.
Rustic Pathways Image

Rustic Pathways

Rustic Pathways is the leader in teen travel. They send thousands of students per year on engaging, challenging, and inspirational trips around the globe. Cantilever and Rustic have collaborated on several large sites in the past, and in 2018, we combined all of their web presences into a single, unified user experience. Bringing together dozens of distinct programs across three departments is a challenge, but our unique

architecture gets the job done.
NYU-Poly Year in NYC Image

NYU-Poly Year in NYC

This project was a fun challenge: we were asked to take two successful print brochures and devise a unique way to present them on the web. The site gives prospective students and faculty a taste of New York City from the vantage point of the campus and surrounding area.

We started with writing and sketches, working closely with the Technology Director at NYU-Poly, Ardis Kadiu. We created a slick concept for how the site

should work and what should appear on it.

The primary visual element is a full-screen Google map that animates in the background, so we made sure to stay as minimal as possible with the rest of the design. Since the visual design was very intricate, we spent a lot of time in Photoshop to make sure we got everything right and considered all cases.

The site is built on Expression Engine, but in a non-traditional way. The frontend is almost entirely controlled by a Javascript layer which communicates with EE to gather markup snippets or data in JSON format and assemble it for the user. Navigation is handled by a Javascript router which uses HTML5 history states for a seamless experience. So instead of having ExpressionEngine build pages, we converted it into a pseudo-API.

As a result, the client is able to use the ExpressionEngine backend as they would a traditional website, but we were still able to create an advanced frontend. We saw using the latest web technology available as a branding technique: NYU-Poly’s core value is innovation, and so we wanted to innovate.

American Express InsiderHR Image

American Express InsiderHR

InsideHR is the internal HR newsletter at AMEX, a key way for their 800+ HR employees to stay connected. They wanted to transform this well-followed newsletter into an online publishing platform, complete with enhanced social features.

Our friends at Theo and Sebastian were the direct clients. They contracted us to design the site under their direction and to develop it.

The main design challenge was to create a

tone that was on-brand and clean, while creating a sense of fun and improvisation that elevated this site past stock corporate communication. We solved this problem by creating a hodgepodge of coordinating (but deliberately disparate) modules which tiled together on the page to create a collage-like effect. Each module style is clean in and of itself, but they clash just enough to differentiate this platform.

Users can like, share, and comment on the articles, and even add their own “community posts”. Curated content is merged with key calendar dates, job openings, and news feeds to create a unique mosaic on every visit. The system is private to HR employees, creating a “safe space” for discussion to begin.

The development had an added wrinkle: We needed first-class IE7 support. We tried to design as close to the IE7 version as possible – trying to create the nicest website 2006 had ever seen. This meant a cleaner, tighter codebase with less special considerations just for older browsers.

Reviews

Sort by

Web Dev and Maintenance for IT Services Firm

“They’ve been unbelievably important to us being able to maintain our site, keep it alive, and rebrand it.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
June 2016 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Cantilever worked on the backend coding and development of an IT firm’s WordPress website, focusing on the media kit. They provide maintenance, design, and upkeep services as well as one-off projects.

The Reviewer
 
10,001+ Employees
 
United States
Senior Brand Marketing Manager, IT Services Firm
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

They provide unparalleled support for the technical development of the website, which functions very well. They are always available for any issues that arise, and are happy to explain developments in layman’s terms as needed. Overall, they are organized, flexible, and professional.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I'm the senior brand marketing manager at an IT services firm.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Cantilever?

Our primary purpose was around our website and media kit. We needed maintenance, design, upkeep, coding, and all of the work that goes into the backend of a website.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

They did the original development along with another design firm that scoped them out in terms of the look and feel. The two worked hand-in-hand in the beginning. Cantilever provided backend coding and development services, adding different functionalities to our website. If we need to add an image gallery, or a carousel that shows animations, or different graphic areas, they are able to tell us what's possible within the framework we have and get it done quickly.

It is managed within WordPress, which I co-manage. They make it easy for us to have a role, so I am able to edit text or a product name if needed. They are also responsible for working with me alongside our internal web teams on hosting changes.

Most of the things we've done have been within the media kit. There's a section on our website about our technology solutions. One of them involves a carousel of different examples of one of those solutions. It was a very involved project to basically take what used to be its own separate website and integrate it into a rotating carousel, that includes not just imagery, but is interactive.

What is the team dynamic?

I communicate with three people.

How did you come to work with Cantilever?

Our original design team brought them in as a scoped partner. That then developed into our independent relationship with Cantilever. 

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with them in June 2016, and we're still working with them. We now have a quarterly agreement. There's basic maintenance that goes into the media kit as well as one-off additional larger scope projects.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

We rely on them beyond words. They work on the technical side of things that, as a marketer, I don't always understand completely. They’ve been unbelievably important to us being able to maintain our site, keep it alive, and rebrand it.

The new site is tremendous. It looks really great. It's functioning really well, and we're in constant contact about any kind of improvement, hiccups, or issues that might come our way. Internally, everyone is very pleased with the results.

How did Cantilever perform from a project management standpoint?

They're excellent; very organized and they keep track of everything. Their response rate is very fast, and they're always willing to discuss an idea, even if it may not be completely feasible. 

We typically communicate through email and phone. They are starting to integrate Basecamp to keep their communication streamlined. They are always available to take a quick phone call or answer a quick email. We had a meeting in the middle of the night before our launch date for our new company name. They were eager and willing to be on the phone and on Google chat, working to make sure that the website was perfect.

What did you find most impressive about them?

It feels like you're working with a small firm that does big things. They handle themselves very professionally. They’re very personal yet independent and they do a great job.

Are there any areas they could improve?

I don't think so. On occasion, because I don’t work in tech, I ask them to explain things to me very simply.

5.0
Overall Score We're having a good time.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They're always on time.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    It has been a really great relationship and a great rate. They've been good partners with us.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    They are constantly on the ball, keeping track of things in a very timely way.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    They're great. We do such great work with them and rely on them so heavily.

Web Dev & Design for Coding School

"...their team is positive, fast to respond, pleasant and easy to work with."

Quality: 
4.5
Schedule: 
4.0
Cost: 
4.5
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
June 2016 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Cantilever built a WordPress website and CMS that allowed an online school to display their courses. They provided architecture, development in JavaScript and HTML, and ongoing maintenance.

The Reviewer
 
51-200 Employees
 
New York, New York
Nicole Kroese
Director of Marketing, Flatiron School
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The new website's polished design drew higher conversion rates, and its powerful CMS allowed internal staff to make continuous improvements. Cantilever's reliable communication, easygoing attitude, and responsive planning set them apart. They always offered thorough advice and explanations.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I am the Director of Marketing at the Flatiron School. We are a coding school and have both online and in-person classes to teach people how to learn to code.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Cantilever?

Our website is quite complex in that we are directing people from our site to our products so that they are able to get started with a coding course. We have an engineering team on staff, but they are more focused on building out our product.

We were looking to outsource a reliable company to help us maintain and build a new version of our site. As we launched new courses, we needed to build it again from the ground up. Diverting the in-house engineering resources to take on this task would have slowed down the process.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

In terms of our website, Cantilever actually came in and did a series of interviews with the staff to understand our needs. Then we started to build things out. They did the original design and thought about the architecture of the site, working in collaboration with marketing. They also worked with our product team to think about all the complexities of how the site interacts with our products.

After we rolled that project out, it was still a static site. They used JavaScript, HTML and CSS. We ended up switching the design aesthetic of the site and did a design overhaul, which they helped to implement.

With the CMS aspect of the project, Ty [President, Cantilever] took a similar approach and asked us about things we needed out of the CMS. It became clear that we needed a lot of flexibility. They ended up building quite a robust CMS in WordPress that would make us really self-sufficient. There were hiccups along the way, some back and forth, but we ended up being really pleased with it. This has been a really great project for us, and as a marketing team, we are able to update the site ourselves. Andrew, one of the WordPress engineers they have on staff, was our point person there.

I really like the CMS because we are a school and have really intense programs with a lot of information to display. Our pages were becoming really long, un-wieldy scrolls, and Cantilever developed some dynamic units that allow the user to toggle between two things. The interactions were quite complex, designed by our in-house designer, but they implemented them and made sure it was flexible. The units they developed could be used across different programs and use cases. I thought they did a great job of building the flexibility into the CMS with some of these dynamic complex layers.

Overall, we have ramped up and down with Cantilever when we have bigger needs, page rollouts, and site redos. We have had them on a larger retainer, and now we are in more of a bug fixes and maintenance mode. They recently moved us over to WP Engine for our server. It has been helpful to have them managing and keeping things up to date.

What is the team dynamic?

We worked with Ty as well as Andrew. I have also had interaction with people from the accounting department.

How did you come to work with Cantilever?

Our co-founder had worked with Ty before and trusted him and Cantilever. We recognized they were on the more expensive side, and a more premium service, but given the complexity of our project, we didn’t want to risk going to a cheaper and less reliable solution.

How much have you invested in them?

We have spent at least $100,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

I personally started working with them in June 2016, and the work is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

Our first version that launched added a lot of new features to our site. The site was more robust as we added so many new courses and more things to do. We saw our conversion rate increase. Moving into the second version, it had a new sleeker design, and again, we saw the conversion rate increase. We have been excited about that.

With the CMS, we have been able to continue to increase our optimizations of the site, as we have the flexibility to run tests on our own in addition to making changes. The CMS functionality has been a real win in allowing us to be more agile, a little bit smarter, and to optimize on our own time. It has been good.

How did Cantilever perform from a project management standpoint?

Communication has been really good. They are very responsive and it has been awesome for us. They are very easy to work with and keep us in the loop, jumping on calls when we need. We have refined our process overtime working with them. We used to do a lot over Slack, but they recently moved to using Basecamp, allowing things to be more trackable. It has been a learning process, but overall it has been good.

We had a couple hiccups with one of our larger projects which was poorly scoped, as we didn’t have some of the right stakeholders in the early conversations. The fault was really on both sides. They definitely followed through to the scope, but it was just off.

What did you find most impressive about them?

They are really nice to work with. Ty and his team are awesome and they are great communicators. Sometimes when you work with a contractor there is tough communication, but their team is positive, fast to respond, pleasant and easy to work with. It has been a win overall.

Are there any areas they could improve?

We encountered some of the same challenges anyone would with any contractor, occasionally not knowing the right stakeholder for what, or not looping in the right people into the conversation. Sometimes things get lost in translation when you are working with an outside party and there have been times we have had to clarify things by jumping on a call.

One of the main challenges, which is probably a bit of a fault on our side as well, has been figuring out the right relationship between marketing, the engineering and product team and the Cantilever team. It is more of making things clearer on who to go to for what on our end, and better stakeholder management on their end.

5.0
Overall Score We enjoy working with them.
  • 4.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    There have been a couple times we were a bit late, but usually it is really great and on time.
  • 4.5 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    They are on the pricier side, but you get what you pay for.
  • 4.5 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    They were really great.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I would definitely recommend them.