What was the scope of their involvement?
Internally we had developed some designs for what the website might look like that were consistent with the new design of our company's main website. We wanted it to look and feel similar to that while focusing on the set of services that we were offering in the field of early warning systems.
We brought the design to Dreamten and worked with them on developing the structure and how the website should be designed. We had an older WordPress-based website but it was very wordy and a bit difficult to find information and resources. There wasn't a whole lot there regarding a call to action or encouraging potential clients to get in touch with us.
We had a lot of the pieces that we needed in place. We had designs for how the website might look and operate. We had too much text and other information on the website. We needed to pare it down and redesign it, so it provided a more interactive and user-friendly experience, to help individuals get the reports, products, and tools that we were producing, and to be encouraged to get in touch with us also.
Dreamten designed the new website and built it in WordPress, a more recent version of it, and has been helpful in helping us take this idea that we had, put it into practice, and make it real.
There are a lot of pieces that are custom to the website itself. I don't think it's an amazingly complex, cutting edge kind of website but I think it does its job very well in the sense that it's simplified, it's not cluttered, and it helps identify the main areas of work that we operate in. They helped us build the website around what we call our implementation task, and it features the different kinds of services, five different sections.
There's a separate component, a resource library where we're posting articles, videos, webinars, brochures; things that we've produced or things that other organizations have done that are aligned with some of the work that we're doing. We wanted to feature that kind of work. What Dreamten did was they allowed us to build a taxonomy for the resources that was tied to each of these five different services that we provide: synthesizing research, developing customized tools and supports, assessing and improvement practices. Turning what schools are doing into a continuous improvement process and evaluating how effective that is.
The resources are all tied to each of these elements. When you go to one particular section of the website, you'll see a description of that service, what it is we do, why that might be valuable, and a link to contact us. Then there are related resources so that you can quickly go to resources such as an article or guide that we've written that are tied directly to the part of the implementation path, which is the service area in which we operate.
How did you come to work with Dreamten?
I think that came just from working with our internal group. The way our company is organized is that we have a communications department, more so I guess you would call it a services department. This department goes out and helps conduct the research or evaluations, or the kind of core business area things that we do. The communications department was aware of Dreamten and suggested that we work with them because it would be a lot easier for them to build this cost-effectively and on time.
The website isn't what our communications team would routinely put together. We tend to put most things through our main website, which I believe is built and maintained internally, so this is a one-off website.
How much have you invested with Dreamten?
Significantly less than $5,000 hosting fees per year going forward. The initial investment to put the website together was in the $25,000 to $30,000 range.
What is the status of this engagement?
We started this work in November 2015. The problem is in January 2016, our company rolled out a major reorganization. The internal processes it took for things like spending money on contractors had entirely new and different routes it had to go, to receive approval. Everybody in the company was trying to figure out what these new routes were like and their new world and responsibilities. The delay was entirely on behalf of our reorganization.
Dreamten was extremely quick turning this information around. We had a deadline to expend our funds by the end of the year, and they did that. Then, the new structure was sitting there waiting to go and needed additional approval in the new year for the language and how we were going to approach different sections of the website. Getting that approval took months because it took us a long time internally to figure out who had to be involved in that conversation and what the language of the organization was going to be like within this new structure.
Dreamten was very fast in responding to requests in putting together the website, as we had drawn it up. Then we just had to sit on it for a long time.
Our agreement is for hosting the website, primarily. Just because of the structure of the company, we decided that it was easier for everybody if Dreamten just hosted it and the URL goes to their server as opposed to having it hosted internally. Maintenance and updates are there. I find that if I have questions on how to do something, they're very responsive and willing to walk me through the management of the website itself.