Launch: Shanachie.com

Shanachie.comCongratulation to Shanachie Entertainment on the launch of their new & improved website Shanachie.com.

Full disclosure: The Shanachie project came to AU via Falco Design (http://FalcoDesign.com). FD worked with their client, created the design and was responsible for the (majority of the) front-end coding. AU’s responsibility was taking that input and making the CMS development magic happen with ExpressionEngine.

For some additional context,  you can read Shanachie’s press releases on Yahoo! News:

http://news.yahoo.com/celebrated-independent-record-label-shanachie-entertainment-relaunches-newly-110223373.html

Highlights of Phase 1

—Shanachie has full access and control of the website’s content. Text, images and video embeds are all managed with ExpressionEngine.

—Though the use of the EE add-on Playa (by Pixel & Tonic), different types of content can easily be related. For example, there is a Playa relationship between Artists and Tours. Once the relationship is established, the CMS (content management system) is coded to deliver the right content at the right time, as defined by the rules of the business.

—Entry categories are also utilized for suggesting appropriate content. For example, New Releases and Feature Releases can be quickly and easily defined by Shanachie by using ExpressionEngine’s categories.

—While SEO (search engine optimization) was not an emphasis of this phase, the site’s structure and URLs were architected to be “SEO friendly.”

AU’s Contribution

—ExpressionEngine web development.

—Extensive enhancement to a jquery plugin for list paging (e.g., the lower half of http://shanachie.com/videos/all-dvds). We were so pleased with the resulting plugin that we branded it ezPagination and will be launching a free-standing website (http://ezPagination) for it fairly soon.

Naturally, we’d like to thank Falco Design for choosing AU to handle the web development slice of this project.

As you can tell from the press release Shanachie is very happy. We are too.

Launch: GregsLandscaping.com

Launch: GregsLandscaping.comCongratulations to owner/CEO Greg Garnich on the launch of his new & improved iproperty GregsLandscaping.com.

Gregs Landscaping is a full-service company that believes that no client/project is too small or too big. Communication of all that is Gregs Landscaping was one of the key challenges of this project. The good news was Greg is also an avid photographer and has plenty of image content. Solving how to address the 20+ services took a bit more analysis. After a number of detailed discussions we all eventually agreed on displaying the services in a layout inspired by a “tag cloud”. The added innovation was that the tiers for each service could be service specific. This custom build functionality was essential to giving the GL brand the depth and breadth it needed.

Finally, the third key component of this iproperty was that every page is designed to function as a free-standing landing page for that particular service. When a potential customer does a search and then lands on an “inner page” for a particular service all the essential content will be there on that page. Even when they scroll to the bottom of the page the request a quote button and phone number is there waiting for them.

All this came together to form an experience that accurately reflects the Gregs Landscaping brand—honest, thorough and always easy to do business with.

Highlights of Phase 1

—Gregs Landscaping is built on the content management system (CMS) platform ExpressionEngine (EE). It is EE’s robust functionality and highly regarded flexibility that allowed AU to build a website that could “deliver the right content at the right time.”

—For example, content can be targeted to services/pages. That is, each FAQ, gallery image, header image, link and testimonial can all be assigned to the service(s)/page(s) it supports. Each is entered only once and is then assigned to many services/pages.

—Aside from being able to configure the tiers for each service in the service “tag cloud”, Gregs also has the ability to display content based on month. For example, if Gregs Landscaping wanted the copy on the home page for Sept to March to be different from the copy for April to August that is possible. Once the content setting were configured EE would handle the rest. In fact, even the service cloud can be configured to be seasonal. Images, testimonials, etc. all have a month by month setting for defining when a particular slice of content should be displayed.

—The URL structure and page markup is best described as “SEO friendly.” AU also consulted GL on SEO best practices (e.g., giving image files relevant names).

—To make Gregs’ site social media and “Facebook friendly” the markup includes a handful of key Open Graph tags.

AU’s Contribution

—Alchemy United is proud to say that this project was 100% AU. From project management, business needs analysis and wireframes, to design, HTML markup and CSS, and Expression Engine development, we made all the magic happen.

Once again, congratulations Greg. With your images and this full-power ExpressionEngine website we’re certain you’ll be converting more prospects to happy Gregs Landscaping customers.

It’s alive! The new Falco Design site is launched

alchemy-united-expression-engine-web-development_175wIt’s alive! AU client Falco Design (www.FalcoDesign.com) launches their new web site.

Highlights

— All of site’s content, including home page slide show, is user controlled via the content management system (CMS) Expression Engine (EE).  EE allows pages to be created on demand (i.e., they are not static). The FD site makes considerable use of EE’s categories. This allows the CMS to be programmed to deliver the right content at the right time as based on FD’s biz rules. For example, services pages only display portfolio work for that service.

— “SEO friendly” design and architecture: Every page has a unique URL, page <title>,  meta tags, etc. This level of thoroughness is applied all the way down to each individual portfolio piece, even as you page through them. Images are also named and titled to increase “findability”.

— Google Ad Manager (GAM) is used to serve and track the banner ads. The control of GAM’s content is further targeted via EE.

AU’s Contribution

— Expression Engine architecture and development. Behind the scenes the content is managed / displayed via a collection of widgets.  This modular approach makes the site easier to maintain and enhance as Falco’s business needs evolve. For a complete list of EE’s features please click here.

— Incorporation of jQuery plug-ins

— Recommendations on UX / UI

— HTML and CSS enhancement and tweaks

— Copy writing (including “branding” and development of brand message)

— Recommendation of and integration of Google Ad Manager

— Selection of images for banner ads, as well as the development of associated copy / messages

Finally, the site was designed by (Falco Design employee) Stephanie Bayard (www.StephanieBayard.com). When not on the clock at Falco, Stephanie is also a member of the AU Collective.

In short, this site is a kick-ass example of the capabilities of AU and the AU collective.