A creative agency for meaningful digital projects.

Plank is an award-winning digital studio based in Montreal. Since 1998, we have committed ourselves to making the web a better place and providing personalized service to our clients. Our group of experienced and enthusiastic digital craftspeople are the heart of our agency. In fact, we’re more than a team, we’re a collective, and we thrive on working together to find the best solutions for your digital projects.

 
$50,000+
 
$100 - $149 / hr
 
10 - 49
 Founded
1998
Show all +
Montreal, Canada
headquarters
  • 372 Ste-Catherine West, Suite 101
    Montreal, QC H3B 1A2
    Canada

Portfolio

Key clients: 

The Children's Theatre of Cincinnati, Centaur Theatre, The Canadian Encyclopedia, Women Donors Network, Community Foundations of Canada, evenko, Osheaga, Rush, The Sun Magazine, Juno Beach Centre, Bioware , Concordia University

Community Foundations of Canada Site Redesign

With a huge mandate, Community Foundations of Canada had a bold vision for its website. Included were obvious features: showcasing its mission, people and partners, easy access to reports and financials as well as details on the culture and work spaces of CFC. The heart of this redesign however, was the vast amount of information that needed to be organized to ensure a smooth user experience. CFC needed to display its numerous

current and past initiatives, all containing information and related articles in a clear and concise way. The many projects and programs supported by Community Foundations Canada also needed to be accessible and coherently presented.

Centaur Theatre Site Redesign

Montreal’s iconic Centaur Theatre has a long and celebrated history. Tarah Schwartz talks with Artistic and Executive Director, Eda Holmes, about collaborating with Plank on the development of their new online presence.

Plank Hack Day: Where the Magic Begins

A wonderful part of the Plank process. We begin every new relationship with a Hack Day. We spend a full day together, solving a problem, tackling a challenge and building the foundation upon which our work and collaboration begins.

As part of Plank's ongoing pro bono work, Montreal's Nazareth Community was chosen as our Fall 2019 recipient. We work to help build the online presence of foundations and social change organizations. 

Repercussion & Plank: Relationships Matter

Repercussion and Plank joined forces during a pro-bono session to help the theatre better serve its francophone audience during Shakespeare-in-the-Park productions. The theatre wanted a web app designed for a mobile view, that would allow people to read the text in French on any mobile device at their own pace. It was all part of expanding the theatre’s reach and giving a wider audience in Montreal’s diverse city, a chance to

enjoy the Bard’s work.

What We Believe

It's quite simply, What We Believe. 

Opening Site: A Brand New Site for TCT

A playful launch video for a much loved client, The Chilren's Theatre of Cincinnati. TCT was designed completely mobile-first providing a bold, beautiful, functional site that works effortlessly regardless of the platform. 

Reviews

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WordPress Dev for Residential Community & Support Facility

“They’re hands-on, open, and easy to talk to.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Less than $10,000
 
Nov. 2019 - Feb. 2020
Project summary: 

Plank provided pro bono web services to a residential support community, designing and developing a WordPress site from scratch. The team also supplied advertising and social media advice.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Montreal, Canada
Jessie Kennedy
Volunteer Coordinator, Nazareth Community
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Plank delivered a functional and user-friendly website that has received positive feedback. Internal stakeholders are particularly pleased that the backend is user-friendly and accessible. The team exceeded expectations by attending community events and remaining responsive to questions post-launch.

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

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

Our organization is Nazareth Community. We are a residence with three locations, two for men and one for women. Our residents, who are over the age of 18 and live here permanently, struggle with mental health issues, addiction, and homelessness. We provide psychological support, meals, doctor appointments, medication, and anything else they need. We try to reintegrate them back into society, with our ultimate goal being for them to move on to autonomous living. I have multiple roles here; I’m the volunteer coordinator and a support worker. I also handle social media and work in administration. 

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Plank?

When I started here, the website had already been built. Not only was the site poorly made, but it was also really difficult to change anything because the backend wasn’t user-friendly. I wasn’t familiar with WordPress, and no one really knew how to improve the site. We wanted to make it more engaging so that it could help us increase our donations and things like that.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

The executive director of Nazareth Community applied for the annual Plank Gives Back initiative, and we were selected. Plank completely revamped our website. They did both development and design and rebuilt our WordPress site from scratch, including the backend. They also gave us a lot of advice on social media and advertising in order to increase our donations and volunteers.

What is the team composition?

My main contacts were Kayla (Project Manager) and Tarah (Director of Marketing & Communications).  

How did you come to work with Plank?

We were looking for someone who specialized in design. We saw that Plank was very familiar with WordPress. They were also a Montreal-based company and loved working with nonprofits and helping in the community. We always look for people who are eager to help out nonprofits. They seemed eager and excited about it. 

How much have you invested with them?

Nothing.

What is the status of this engagement?

Our work together began in November 2019. The official site launch was at the end of February 2020. That was technically the end of their work for us, but they still, to this day, stay open to communications and any questions or concerns we have. 

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

I’m the one who updates the website, and I’ve noticed a substantial increase in ease-of-use and accessibility. The website is much more user-friendly, so I can get in and change anything easily. The board of directors and pretty much anyone who has seen the website before-and-after has said that it’s much better now.

How did Plank perform from a project management standpoint?

In terms of communication, they’ve been amazing. We’ve been emailing back and forth since November, and they send us constant updates and answer our emails and concerns very quickly. They’ve also been very involved in the activities that we do here at the shelters; we had an inauguration for a shelter that we just opened in November, and they attended. They came in multiple times and tried their best to learn as much as they could about our community. They’re hands-on, open, and easy to talk to. They seemed to really enjoy the work that they did for us, which was nice.

What did you find most impressive about them?

I think the fact that they took the time to come out and learn about our community separates them. They took a tour and attended the shelter inauguration, as well as pretty much any big activities that were going on. I wasn’t expecting them to do that, especially since it was free work that they were doing. I think that was taking an extra step that they really didn’t need to do. 

Are there any areas they could improve?

No, I really have nothing negative to say about them. They did everything perfectly.

Any advice for potential customers?

I didn’t really need to do much. They’re very good with their communication, and they love working with people. It’s very easy; as soon as you communicate with Plank, they’ll do everything else for you.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Web Design & Dev for Theatre Company

"Their team is patient, welcoming, and understanding."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.5
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
Apr. 2019 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Leading rebranding efforts, Plank developed and designed a user-friendly WordPress site from scratch. The team also connected it to a ticketing system and continues to work on maintaining the site.

The Reviewer
 
11- 50 Employees
 
Montreal, Canada
Digital Media Manager, Centaur Theatre Company
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Working swiftly, the team was able to produce a high-quality website while building a strong working relationship. Plank is attentive and proactive, quickly addressing any issues that arise. They continue to be a communicative partner whose attentiveness sets them apart from other vendors.

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 digital media manager at Centaur Theatre Company.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Plank?

We were faced with an opportunity to rebrand in a short amount of time. We needed somebody to help us with the rebrand and create a new website from scratch.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

They met with our artistic director to get a better sense of our company and to plan the project. They also met with us to discuss what we wanted to see on our website, including calls to action (CTAs), ticket purchasing features, and a way for people to get to know us and what we do. 

They then designed and developed a website that would be user-friendly to our audience, especially because a large portion of them are in their 60s and up. Additionally, Plank helped us to connect our ticketing system to our website. 

What is the team composition?

We work with 3–4 people regularly who help us address our needs and organize the rest of the team. There are also other teammates we haven’t met who work behind the scenes.

How did you come to work with Plank?

We heard about Plank through word of mouth. After meeting with them and reviewing their portfolio, we were pleased with what we saw and knew they would be a match.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with them in April 2019. The team is still helping us with maintenance and growth and they’re implementing any changes we want to see.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

The quality of their work and the relationship we’ve built with them have been excellent and they are always available to help us iron out any urgent issues. Plank has gone above and beyond to listen to us and make sure that we are satisfied and have our needs met. 

How did Plank perform from a project management standpoint?

They’re very organized. We have a direct line of communication with a few of them and then they have their own project manager who oversees the behind-the-scenes team. They present themselves professionally and communicate well using Trello. They’ve also been able to follow through on the timelines they set.

What did you find most impressive about them?

They are very patient and give us lots of room to explore how we want to be represented, since building a website is an important part of brand identity. They have guided us through every step.

Are there any areas they could improve?

Because there was a lot of pressure to produce something quickly, there were a few misunderstandings because we didn’t have enough information. Since we’re not web development experts, we needed more explanation of some of the repercussions of making certain decisions about the initial design. Although we backtracked a few times, we ended up surpassing those hurdles.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

It’s a good idea to have somebody in your company who is the most knowledgeable about web design communicate with Plank. Their team is patient, welcoming, and understanding so they will take you through the steps.

4.5
Overall Score
  • 4.5 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    We had a few challenges because of our tight schedule but they are generally true to their word.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    They don’t hide anything. They are completely transparent about their deliverables.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I am very likely to recommend them.

Web Dev for Content Creation Company

“Plank are incredible problem solvers at their core, and they have a wonderful client-first attitude.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
Sept. 2018 - Oct. 2019
Project summary: 

Plank performed a complete website redesign for a creative content company. Their work included planning and designing wireframes, customizing WordPress templates, and establishing the hosting of the site.

The Reviewer
 
201-500 Employees
 
Quebec, Canada
Katina Katadotis
Communications Manager, Cineflix
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The web solutions delivered by Plank have taken their client strides beyond their capabilities with their previous website, helping them to regain control over their digital presence at the same time. Their team is highly creative and collaborative, finding solutions to any problems that arise.

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 senior manager of marketing and communications at Cineflix, and we are a content creation company. We produce and distribute creative products.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Plank?

We wanted to revamp our corporate website, which was completely outdated.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

The completely transformed our website, from planning and design the wireframes to actual development and then launching and establishing hosting for the site. They built the site on a WordPress template and then customized pages from there. It was really an A-Z service.

We started out with an initial kickoff meeting where we brainstormed just to get the ball rolling and for everyone to get a sense of who we are and fostering great interpersonal relationships moving forward from there. They took our ideas and drafted up wireframes, staying very in tune with our changes and providing their own feedback as well, expediting whatever we needed to be completed most urgently to keep the project moving.

What is the team composition?

We worked primarily with their project lead. Whenever necessary, he would bring in the backend and frontend coders and designers as well, but channeling the majority of the communication through him was a very efficient way to keep things organized.

How did you come to work with Plank?

Our former website developers weren’t doing new development anymore, so they suggested Plank as a potential replacement. Their portfolio spoke for themselves and we liked that they were local, so we decided to work with them.

How much have you invested with them?

We’ve spent a little over $50,000 with them.

What is the status of this engagement?

The actual development of the site lasted from September 2018–October 2019. We had to change the direction of the website a little bit which caused the project to take longer than it would have otherwise, but that had nothing to do with how efficient they were.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

We haven’t run any analytics yet, but I can say that we have a site that we’re proud of and looks amazing. On top of that, it’s really easy to manipulate and update, which is a huge improvement for us. Our team couldn’t be more satisfied with the aesthetics and the control that we have now.

How did Plank perform from a project management standpoint?

Plank did an excellent job of keeping us on track at all times They were always available to communicate or hold meetings if we needed to, and they always met our development deadlines. They used Envision internally to keep track of our progress, and we all used Trello to communicate as a team.

What did you find most impressive about them?

I really felt that they listened to what we wanted and tried their best to deliver what we wanted. If they couldn’t, they would always find another option for us. Plank are incredible problem solvers at their core, and they have a wonderful client-first attitude. It was an extremely positive experience.

Are there any areas they could improve?

I really don’t think there’s anything they could have done differently.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

I really do think that having our first kickoff meeting face-to-face was a huge benefit to the entire process because it set the whole thing off on the right foot. I can’t stress the importance of having everyone getting along and understanding each other enough.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

French Translation App for English Theatre

"They always try to create something that will truly serve our goals as a company."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Less than $10,000
 
Mar. 2016 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Plank created a web-based translation app that would allow French-speaking audience members to follow along with English plays in real-time. They update the app to visually match each production and add extras.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Montreal, Canada
Amanda Kellock
Artistic & Executive Director, Repercussion Theatre
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

About 5% of the audience uses the app during shows, which amounts to a few hundred users per year. Its accessibility has also garnered media attention, drawing in more audience members. Plank's communication becomes more streamlined with each play update, and they strive to contribute value.

The client submitted this review online.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your company and your position there.

Repercussion Theatre is a professional theatre company best known for our annual Shakespeare-in-the-Park tour. I am the Artistic and Executive Director of the company (since 2015).

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

For what projects/services did your company hire Plank?

We originally worked with Plank when they launched their 2016 "Plank Hacks Culture" project. We described our situation: we're an anglo company that wants to be able to have our shows be accessible to francophone audiences.

They proposed creating a web app that would allow an audience member to follow along with the French translation fo the play in real time. They worked no a prototype, and we decided to move ahead for that summer. The project worked really well, and we have been updating and expanding the web app each summer since then.

What were your goals for this project?

To reach francophone audiences and make it easier for those who speak French to access our shows.

SOLUTION

How did you select this vendor?

We found out about Plank because of their "Plank Hacks Culture" callout. We submitted our proposal and they chose us. But the experience of working with them and the work they did was so positive that we have kept working with them ever since.

Describe the project and the services they provided in detail.

In the first stage, Plank​ ​developed​ ​a​ ​demo​ ​app​ ​that​ ​allowed​ ​Francophone​ ​audience​ ​members​ ​to​ ​follow​ ​Shakespeare’s​ ​text in​ ​French,​ ​with​ ​prompts​ ​pushed​ ​from​ ​the​ ​stage​ ​manager​ ​to​ ​alert​ ​them​ ​to​ ​the​ ​current​ ​scene​ ​being performed.​

The Plank team used colour schemes and visuals from our production design to create a look that was show-specific.​ ​The​ ​prototype​ ​was​ run that first summer with the goal of gauging audience interest and it was then ​further​ ​developed​ ​for​ ​our ​summer​ ​2017​ ​season.

In 2018 we added a page with the list of characters, including avatars for each character. This summer, more functions were added, including the original English text, the show program, shareable quotes from the play, and a page with post-show discussion questions.

What was the team composition?

We generally worked with Warren and one or two other people from Plank. On our end, we had 2-3 people providing content and feedback.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Can you share any information that demonstrates the impact that this project has had on your business?

The web app has been used by around 5% of our audience during the shows, and also gets used by a few hundred people over the course of the year. The fact that we have this option has gained a lot of media attention, and has certainly brought more people to the shows to check it out.

How was project management arranged and how effective was it?

Project management is worked out each year, depending on what our goals are and who is available on each side (Plank's and Repercussion's). We streamlined communication and content sharing by using Slack this year, which was helpful.

What did you find most impressive about this company?

The Plank team is super creative and collaborative. They always try to create something that will truly serve our goals as a company. It always really feels like a collaboration and it's really just a joy to work with them.

Are there any areas for improvement?

I can't think of any.

5.0
Overall Score Great company, great team.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    It's usually easy to schedule meetings with them and get everything done on time
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    They understand that we are a small non-profit arts organization and do their best to accommodate us.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    They do great work and are a joy to work with.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    Not question I would recommend them whole-heartedly.

Web Design for Edtech Platform

“They were great project managers, and they did a lot within a very short timeline.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
Dec. 2018 - Mar. 2019
Project summary: 

Plank redesigned a WordPress site for an EdTech platform. Using an existing sitemap to create wireframes and mockups, they worked on front- and backend tasks.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Montreal, Canada
Elizabeth Mays
Director of Sales and Marketing, Pressbooks
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The new website explains products to prospective clients, which translates into better quality leads and a condensed sales timeline. Plank worked quickly. They were well-organized, and they took direction well.

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

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

We are an educational technology and SaaS platform. I'm the director of sales and marketing.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Plank?

We hired them to help with a WordPress redesign project.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

We wanted a cleaner site that was easier to navigate. We hoped to differentiate our products to improve our targeted messaging for our audience segments. After we determined what we wanted for the structure and provided them with a sitemap, they did all the wireframes and mockups. They did work on both the front- and backend, and we created all the content on our side.

What is the team composition?

We worked with a fantastic project manager, and we recently transitioned to another contact who promises to be as helpful. There is also a designer and a backend team.

How did you come to work with Plank?

Our founder used them on other projects and liked the people there. They had a good approach, and he felt they would be a good fit for this project.

How much have you invested with them?

The total cost was around $25,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

The project started in December 2018. We took a pause during the holidays, and the project wrapped up around February 2019.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

The things we asked them to address are fairly subjective, so we don't have a lot of metrics to share. Now, when prospects contact us, we have better conversations with them, as those clients have more knowledge about our products. We have better leads, and the sales timeline is significantly condensed.

How did Plank perform from a project management standpoint?

They were great project managers, and they did a lot within a very short timeline. We had tight parameters on our side, and they worked quickly to get us what we needed. They used Trello for task tracking, and we also used Slack and Google Docs. We also had regular calls with their team.

What did you find most impressive about them?

We had a great relationship with them. They are very well-organized, and they take direction well.

Are there any areas they could improve?

I don't think there's anything they should improve. We're very happy with their work.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They worked quickly and did very well.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    They gave us a very fair value.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Website Dev for Association of Nonprofits

"Plank's responsiveness and collaborative, solution-oriented approach were a great fit for our organization." 

Quality: 
4.5
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.5
Willing to refer: 
4.5
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
Jan. 2019 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Plank redeveloped a nonprofit association’s website to align with a new digital strategy. They provided comprehensive services, from designing and wireframing to implementation and QA.

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
Ottawa, Canada
Genevieve Vallerand
Director of Communications, Community Foundations of Canada
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Brand awareness and quality have increased markedly with the new digital presence. Plank communicated progress frequently, and their project manager was highly involved. Their technical experience has resulted in valuable recommendation as well.

The client submitted this review online.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your company and your position there.

Community Foundations of Canada was founded in 1992 to support and connect community foundations working across Canada. Collectively our network stewards combined assets of more than $5.8 billion and we’ve put hundreds of millions back into communities. We champion the issues that matter to Canadians. As a national leadership organization, we also act as a convenor, thought leader and partner to help make our communities stronger, more resilient and sustainable. I'm the director of communications. 

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

For what projects/services did your company hire Plank?

We retained Plank to help us implement our digital strategy and redevelop and relaunch CFC's corporate website.

What were your goals for this project?

Create a more modern, streamlined website that served various audience needs while also adopting UX best practices. Also, helping CFC take an important step forward with a more streamlined approach to content management.

SOLUTION

How did you select this vendor?

We reached out to a number of service providers and chose Plank based on its sector expertise, capacity to quickly and beautifully come up to speed on our community's and audience's needs, and agility and flexibility to collaborate and make informed recommendations around UX, design, development and digital best practices when questions arose.

Describe the project and the services they provided in detail.

Wireframe, Design, Development, QA. 

What was the team composition?

PM backend developers, frontend developers. 

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Can you share any information that demonstrates the impact that this project has had on your business?

It has significantly elevated and modernized our brand and helped us showcase our work—as well as that of community foundations across Canada—more clearly and effectively.

How was project management arranged and how effective was it?

We were very impressed by the quality of work completed by Plank, including project management. Weekly update reports, combined with regular meetings and open and transparent communications with our PM, were delivered and attended to consistently throughout the entire project.

What did you find most impressive about this company?

Plank's responsiveness and collaborative, solution-oriented approach were a great fit for our organization. We trusted Plank's expertise and recommendations, and they were able to bring their knowledge to the table and combine it with our needs and interests in really great ways.

Are there any areas for improvement?

Nothing really comes to mind.

4.5
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.5 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 4.5 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 4.5 NPS
    Willing to refer

Web Design for Theater Festival

“Plank is the go-to agency for performance-based websites.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.5
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
Mar. 2018 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Plank develops custom WordPress websites using CSS. The public-facing platforms feature live-streaming and scheduling software.

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
Kingston, Ontario
Michael Wheeler
Artistic Director, SpiderWebShow
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The high-tech website gives users the first taste of the festival’s digital experience. Event attendance increases with each annual refresh. Plank’s performing arts design niche is proving to be the perfect asset for the platform’s success.

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 artistic director at SpiderWebShow, a digitally-engaged performance company. We exclusively present plays that fuse digital technology and theater. 

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Plank?

We wanted to connect with a web developer who could create digital assets for our annual Festival of Live Digital Art.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Using CSS, Plank develops custom WordPress websites for our theater events. Our festival website is their main priority; we require them to refresh the design each year to meet our high-tech standards. The site features an eye-catching logo, live streaming software, and a robust calendar that allows users to build their own schedule. They have also created a smaller standalone website for a play that we stream on the web. Users can also view cast information and other resources on the platform. 

What is the team composition?

Plank’s two founders are present during contract negotiations, but the project manager takes over during the execution stages.

How did you come to work with Plank?

They invited us to dinner with 20 other organizations that engage with live performance and digital technology. Although the purpose of the dinner was to create discussion rather than business, we saw their interest in our projects as a partnership opportunity.

How much have you invested with them?

We have spent $29,000 on their services so far.

What is the status of this engagement?

Our partnership began in March 2018.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

Web development is one of the largest line items in our entire organizational budget, and our investment in Plank’s services is yielding high attendance for our events. The websites are a pillar of our event experience.

How did Plank perform from a project management standpoint?

Their project manager identifies our issues for the year and translates our needs to their development team. We use Slack for communication and Trello for file management.

What did you find most impressive about them?

Plank is the go-to agency for performance-based websites. Their passion for performing arts shines through in their portfolio.

Are there any areas they could improve?

They could be more transparent and proactive about site updates and maintenance work.

4.5
Overall Score
  • 4.5 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Web Redesign for Historical Museum

"They became our digital partner and really helped us craft this virtual exhibit from day one."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.5
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
Sept. 2015 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Plank updated and debugged code for a nonprofit museum's website. The focus then shifted to redesigning special virtual exhibit and donation pages. Functional improvements to the CMS are also a major priority. 

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
Toronto, Canada
Jenna Zuschlag Misener
Former Executive Director, Historical Museum
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The team was able to drastically increase end-user access to key features. Plank diligently set timelines and briefings, ensuring that communication was frequent and the project well organized. They provided in-depth development suggestions, along with pros and cons for each option. 

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

BACKGROUND

Please describe your organization.

I was the Executive Director for a small non-profit museum in Canada.  I also handled our web presence and any digital projects that we were working on.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What business challenge were you trying to address with Plank?

When I took over this role 4 years ago, our website was outdated and Flash-based. Little thought had been given about user experience or the type of information for which people were coming to our website. We built a new website with another company and realized that, while they had done a decent job, we were still unsatisfied with the user experience. Because of this, we switched over to Plank about eight months after the site was built.

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their involvement.

Plank took over from the company who designed the site and used all pre-existing code. They made some initial general updates to the website and took over managing the different features.  We had an online store and we also accepted online donations. We worked with the project manager and Warren [Founder, Plank] to fix the UI/UX and try to anticipate who was using the website, what they wanted to do, and we could bring those things to the very forefront of the site. 

The biggest project I worked on with Plank was as a part of a grant from the Canadian government to build a virtual exhibit. It was something we partnered with Plank on before we pitched it to the funders. For the project, they became our digital partner and really helped us craft the virtual exhibit. 

How did you come to work with Plank?

We sent out an RFP for the original website, to which Plank responded, along with various other companies. We went with a fast and easy solution and I’ve spent the last three years kicking myself for not hiring Plank right away. While we wanted to work with them, their price point was a little bit higher and our board of directors went with the cheapest option. Unfortunately, the cheapest option isn’t always the website that you need in the long-term. It was through that process that I met Warren [Founder, Plank] and some of his team members. Warren and I started talking about this digital project that we wanted to do together. Even though that RFP process didn’t pan out, we started working on this huge virtual exhibit and it was through that I was able to say, “Hey, do you remember that RFP? Can you come back and fix the problem?” We became a client of theirs through the process of partnering with them.

Could you provide a sense of the size of this initiative in financial terms?

We have spent about $20,000-$25,000 for the year.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with them August 2013. In September 2015 we pitched and were successful in our grant to the Canadian government. The organization has continued working with Plank since.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?

We felt the impact of it almost immediately. We received fewer calls about how to get to the museum and you could see traffic increase substantially to the pages that had that information. The response from educators and studentes who were using the site was overwhelmingly positive. Plank streamlined functionality and we definitely saw an increase not only in our online sales but also our online donations. After the re-design, people could actually find the donation page and the online store, which is a big improvement.

How did Plank perform from a project management standpoint?

The team at Plank is professional and well organized. They set out timelines for all of the work and we had weekly check-ins. We were in constant communication throughout the production phase. There was never a time we didn't know what was happening. For a team that works on so many different projects, it’s impressive that they can still meet their deadlines and keep us in the loop. I dealt with everyone from the founders to the managers and developers.

We were made aware of everyone’s function, which was important to us in working with a digital agency. In Plank’s case, they wanted us to understand who everybody was and what they were bringing to the project. It all funnelled through the main project manager, who was excellent, organized, and communicative and was available anytime we had an issue.  

What did you find most impressive about them?

They were terrific at explaining all of their decisions - from design to why we should use a certain platform over another one. One of the sites was built with WordPress.  I can’t remember the other CMS that we used, but they wanted to build good looking web properties that would last; with a plan like, “Here’s what this technology can do. Here’s how long you have and here’s how we’re going to work with you to maintain it in hopefully years and years that it’s going to exist.” Plank wants to build websites that are going to last and work. 

They were very gracious about working with the other company’s code and made some really great fixes to the site. Plank provided a real solution to meet the needs of both the museum part of our busines and also the nonprofit. A lot of the website's UX/UI was muddied beforehand and when Plank came in, they really simplified things and broke down exactly what people were coming to the website for. 

I’m most proud of our work on the virtual exhibit because it looks amazing and it really is an example of non-profits and digital studios working together to build really slick, useful, and educational online tools.

Is there anything Plank could have improved or done differently?

Honestly, I’m a huge fan of theirs. I worked with my fair share of web companies and Plank is the one that we continue to have a positive relationship with because they focus on ensuring customer satisfaction. I can’t name an area of improvement because I feel like they’re constantly fine tuning their own work in ways their clients don't realize or see. I really respect what they do. 

Do you have any recommendations for others considering working with Plank?

I would recommend them for anyone that has a digital product but not the expertise to get them off the ground. Plank can work with and improve existing web properties. We’re on a monthly retainer, which I would recommend to any non-profit. If you’re going to have a website, invest in your digital presence and maintain it like you would any other asset.

5.0
Overall Score And they’re not paying me. It was an amazing experience compared to experiences I’ve had with others. They’re great at what they do. I’m a happy customer.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.5 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    For cost I would give them a 4, but for value I would give them a 5. They are a little bit expensive, but worth it.  
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    Can you give them a 10 for that? Absolutely 5. I already have done so.

Web Development for Non-Profit Literary Magazine

"Every meeting in which I presented... was derailed because people wanted to keep exploring the site built by Plank."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
June 2015 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Plank is designing and developing an update for an exisiting non-profit literary site. The team worked on creating a custom CMS, metered paywall, and subscription options.

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
David Mahaffey
Digital Media Director, Literary Magazine
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The new site is clean and better displays the site’s offerings. Plank takes feedback seriously in both their work and their management, making changes accordingly. The team sets accurate deadlines for deliverables and produced great design work.

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

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

We are a small non-profit literary magazine based out of Chapel Hill, North Carolina. We publish interviews, essays, short stories, poetry and black-and-white photography. The magazine is completely reader-supported and ad-free. We don’t run any ads from third parties. I am the digital media director, which means that I am a project manager for all our online activities, including the website, social media, email marketing and IT tech support for the staff.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Plank?

We’ve been working with them for longer than I’ve been here. I did initiate a project with Plank a couple of years ago, coming out of the same challenge which led us to reach out to them in the first place, namely that we needed a modern web platform for the material we publish in the magazine.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

We’re currently working on building a new website. Plank’s model involves having a project manager as a direct contact. He facilitates the work on their end. I have been in touch with a designer, a frontend developer and a couple of backend developers for our project, but I can’t speak to the specific number of people involved. It’s significantly more efficient for us to have one point of contact who can translate between Plank and our group, in the same way as it is more convenient for our team to have me as a single point of contact, translating all the strange editorial requests we make.

On our legacy site, we would only run excerpts of material, and only seldom ran full text of the articles we publish. We undertook the new site with the aim to build a different access model. Plank has helped us implement a metered paywall for the articles we publish, so that we are loading in full texts, and governing access to them for the public, based on their subscription status.

We’ve been publishing since 1974, and have started working on loading in our full digital archive. Plank is building a custom CMS on Bolt. It accommodates the various needs and formats we’ve published over this 43-year span.

When we were discussing which platform to use for the CMS, we addressed our cross-referencing needs. The archive is indexed through around 100 keywords, but it’s also navigable by section (interviews, essays, fiction, and so on), and by contributor; users can check out all the work published by a given person.

When this is scaled out to 500 issues of the magazine, each of which with around 12 articles, 120 keywords and a few thousand contributors, WordPress will not be adequate; it will end up choking on the data calls. We landed on the Bolt CMS, on which Plank made some extensive modifications. It’s a more modern open-source content management system, designed to be more modular and flexible than some of the options we had been considering, prior to it.

There was also an e-commerce component to the site, but we ended up not using it. We had built subscription forms, as well as single-issue sale options. We have a book-publishing unit and rely on reader donations. Historically, we had all these siloed into individual sales arms, managed by the vendors which were fulfilling each independently. One of the goals for the site was to integrate all of this into a single unified e-commerce tool, which Plank did build, and had working well, but, near the end of our development process, we changed fulfillment vendors for the magazine, which made it much more difficult to accommodate the kind of unified platform we were building. Plank had relied on the APIs of our partners, so we were not able to use it, but it was key to the overall site vision.

How did you come to work with Plank?

We made a request for quote with a number of web vendors back in 2006-2007. We were taking our then-existent site from a minimal portal with half a dozen pages, including the About one, and a link where subscriptions could be ordered online. There was very little dynamic content, and we went from that to what can be seen right now: a full gallery of our back-issues with excerpted content from most of them, which is accessible and matches our minimalist aesthetic well.

This is as true today as it was then: Plank had an intuitive grasp of the magazine’s aesthetic and ethos, which they arrived at by being attentive to how we talk about and think about our publication. Plank wasn’t the cheapest option for the project, but they were the best fit.

What is the status of this engagement?

I believe we started working with Plank in 2007. The current project was started around 18 months ago and is 2 weeks away from launch.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?

I am essentially the only staff in the magazine which will be working within the CMS. It was important that we be able to quickly and efficiently load in all archive material for new and back-issues. We have digital assets for much of this, but it was essentially material designed for print using Adobe InDesign. The HTML export tool available through that suite doesn’t lend itself to what we’re doing on the web, so we were looking at a great deal of intensive manual work to clean that code.

Plank was able to collect several samples and write an HTML cleanup script which looked for specific patterns in the InDesign export, generating clean outputs. This made it much easier to import into the site.

This is a hyper-specific example, but, more broadly, the site is incredibly readable, and it highlights the content of the magazine in a way which I believe will serve the material well, particularly the black-and-white photography. I’ve had to do demos for our staff and board; every meeting in which I presented the beta of the site was derailed because people wanted to keep exploring the site built by Plank.

How did Plank perform from a project management standpoint?

They have been responsive in some ways, and less so in others. When we identified the areas where we were not communicating well, Plank was willing to make corrections.

I’m a hands-on project manager on my end and want to know where things are in terms of progress on their end. Plank’s default is to collect as much information as possible upfront, and then do the work, bringing a finished product back to us. It’s a different work style, and we solved the issue by granting me access to their internal project management board, Trello. Plank also used Basecamp, at least for our projects, early on, in order to communicate what they needed and what their version of events was.

I can currently see the start-to-finish process and have been able to provide feedback during the process, which I’m sure is a bit tedious for them. It does help clarify things which are in progress and saves us work later on. We’re iterative in our feedback process, and, in terms of deadlines, Plank tends to get us what they promised, by the time they promised it, but both our parties have ultimately been surprised at the additional time taken for getting from that initial deliverable to something polished and carefully-edited in terms of text. We continue to adjust the timing of deadlines in response to this.

What did you find most impressive about Plank?

The main thing I’ve found striking (and this is coming from someone who is not a coder) is the design work. Plank is an integrated, start-to-finish development house, and they have a design team in-house which works hand-in-hand with the code team. This isn’t necessarily rare, but it does end up leading to a cleaner, better project. The design work done by Plank is really incredible.

They conformed to our set of guidelines, which was pretty broad, namely wanting the site to be deeply readable and to echo the aesthetic of the magazine itself, which is, as I said, ad-free and peppered with black-and-white photography, with very little color. Above all, we didn’t want to interrupt the reading experience of our users, which is almost antithetical to the web (if we’re not converting in some way, we’re not doing our jobs). Plank was able to carry all of this forward in a way which I felt was indicative of an incredibly thoughtful design process. Every time I look at the site, I remain impressed with that work.

5.0
Overall Score Plank is refreshingly engaged in projects, and are good communicators.
  • 4.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    Working with different entities will always be complicated. Plank has done a good job, but they and we underestimated the amount of work.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    For what we got, the value is good, but it’s definitely on the higher end in terms of cost.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I’ve done it for several colleagues already.

Web Development for Event Promotion Site

"They're straightforward and honest."

Quality: 
4.5
Schedule: 
4.0
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
2007 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

After successfully rebuilding the Evenko website from scratch, Plank built sites for three music festivals including a brand a new custom CMS, a member/login page, and HTML responsive emails.

The Reviewer
 
51-200 Employees
 
Montreal, Canada
Audric Trudeau
Digital Strategist, evenko
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

A 10-year relationship and positive user feedback are testament to Plank’s consistently high quality work. Online sales through the new responsive website have increased dramatically since the start of the collaboration. Plank’s project management is solid and the overall experience is positive.

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

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.
Evenko is a regional event promoter in Montreal. I'm a digital strategist so I take care of the strategy for all of our festivals, the brands associated with Evenko, and our artists.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Plank?
Plank came in as our business partner to take care of building our websites.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?
They rebuilt our Evenko website from scratch several years ago. We used to be called GEG, then we merged and created a new website (evenko.ca) 6 years ago. Our business kept growing, and we invited them to build our festival websites this year. Their latest challenge was building osheaga.com, heavymontreal.com, and ilesoniq.com, which are our 3 big music festivals.. For these websites, they built brand new custom CMSs that work very well. They are mostly built with PHP and other code.

For evenko.ca we're now working on a monthly newsletter that’s incorporated into our website but that gets pulled out for other purposes. We do that because we work with merchants, so it's very easy to pop out emails. We have over 100 events per month, so we pull all the data from the website into an HTML format responsive email, import that into MailChimp, and send it off. That is a new challenge on the Evenko side.

The Osheaga Play login/member profile was the main technology challenge this year for Osheaga. It is different and more challenging than the usual project so that was very interesting for them. It has been a great success overall and so far, so we're very happy with the results.

I usually work with Sean, who is the lead senior developer at Plank. He's been the big guy for all these projects and the brain behind the operation. I'm not sure how many developers worked on the project, but I assume there are a few others working with the senior lead. Jason Koskie is my project manager.

How did you come to work with Plank?
My old boss used Plank originally. It was important for us to work with a local business that was nearby. They're just a few blocks away, so that helped a lot. It also worked chemistry-wise, and since then we’ve formed an ongoing relationship.

How much have you invested with Plank?
It's tough to gauge because it's merging multiple projects into one. It’s a huge project..

What is the status of this engagement?
Our relationship started about 10 years ago, and we're still working with them currently. The festivals are new every year, so we're going to be with them for a while.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?
Online sales have increased dramatically since signing on with them. We didn't have a mobile site, so we adapted to a new responsive website. I know more than 50% of traffic comes from mobile, and that is rewarding enough.

Although we haven't necessarily talked to random users about feedback, people like it in general. The overall experience is good. It's clean and easy to use. It's easy to find what you need, and the process to buy tickets is straight and to the point..

How did Plank perform from a project management standpoint?
Project management has been very good. They use Trello, and that system has worked out very well. Sean and Jason have been very good employees, and we have a good relationship.

Communication is key in a partnership. We've learned that over time, so it's on us to communicate clearly what we want and not always blame them. In general, we've had issues, but it happens with everybody, it's not just them, and it’s been good since.

What did you find most impressive about Plank?
It’s their confidence. They're straightforward and honest. In this business, you can easily overcharge people, so honesty is always important. That relationship we have is key, and that's probably why we're still together at this point.

Are there any areas Plank could improve?
There's always room for improvement no matter what. Maybe they could push us to do some new things. We like to wow people, so we’d like them to challenge us more.

4.5
Overall Score
  • 4.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 4.5 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer