What was the scope of their involvement?
Respondent 1: We used WDG on a consulting basis before we selected them. We went through the selection process, picked them, and signed a contract. Initial sketches that they had worked on turned into designs over a period of several weeks. We wanted to make sure the cause of our company was the primary message of the website. We’re not an association but a cause-based organization, and WDG seemed to realize that.
We knew that we were going to stop printing our magazine in late 2016, but we didn’t want to do away with the magazine. WDG designed the way the magazine looks online. We went through the process of the designs and liked the way they set up the pages. Then, we went through a sketch of each primary page and a sitemap of what the website was going to include. Once we approved those, we started to build the pages, bring in the technology, and decide what the WordPress functionality would be. We went with a flexible layout concept: we could decide what a page could do based on a flexible content page design. WDG helped us find photographs to make it look better. It was a long and involved process.
If you look at the industry updates page, a complaint that we had with the old website was that it was so static. We updated it with a PDF of the magazine 10 times a year. Other than that and changing what conference is coming up next, most of the content didn’t change. We wanted something more dynamic. WDG came up with the idea of industry updates where we can post press releases, do news blurbs, and curate other people’s content, creating more of a go-to place for aviation safety.
Another key element to the website was the accelerated search function. I think that was one of their best recommendations. It searches our flight safety content and portions of 2 other websites that we’re affiliated with. One is the Aviation Safety Network, which is a database of accidents and incidents based in Europe. We provide monetary support to that organization yearly. The other is a site called SKYbrary, an online library of aviation safety content. From the federated search on our website, you can return results from those sites too, making us more of a portal for aviation safety.
Ab (Managing Director of WDG) put the team together. We worked with Dario, the designer, and Roger was the project manager (at least in the beginning). They went through a technical lead change once, but it was pretty much seamless to us. We had our own internal team. We’re a small organization, so everyone was involved.
How did you come to work with WDG?
Respondent 1: We looked for competitive bids to help us launch our new digital strategy. We brought WDG in as a consultant to help us scope out what we needed to do. We went out and sought input by asking 8–10 other companies to look at the idea, but we didn’t get bids from all of them.
The locality was a consideration because we easily wanted to go back and forth, and it turned out to be a big benefit to have WDG in the office on a regular basis or to go there if we needed to. Obviously, we’re a small organization, so price point was a consideration. In the end, we liked their thinking. They seemed to get us. They figured out who we were. We liked their designs. They did a lot of research on what we wanted to do. They recognized the value of what we do as an organization. They also had experience with nonprofits, and I think the mission, motive, and way you operate are different from a for-profit company.
What is the status of this engagement?
Respondent 1: We began working with WDG in February of 2016. We went live with our new website—the first major steps of our new digital strategy—back in October or November of 2016. Frank managed that very closely along with WDG.
Our involvement with them remains ongoing. After the website launched, we finished our 30-day “if anything breaks, we’ll fix it” agreement. That was part of the original contract. We then signed a maintenance agreement with them. If issues come up, they address them. Luckily, we haven’t had too many of those. After the website launched, we knew we were going to want to make improvements. We signed a new contract last week for 10 hours of design and development for some work that we want to do.
In addition to our old website, for part of this project, we had put up a temporary WordPress website with the Federal Aviation Administration using a different vendor. We want to integrate that now, so that’s part of what we’re going to do. They are helping us make that look nice. As we move forward on this project, we need something that is more interactive, so they’re going to help us with that.