The RGD website has undergone an overhaul and we're excited to share with you all that it has to offer. Designed and developed by Context Creative, below we share their teams' experience, design process, favourite features and more.
"We took on redesigning rgd.ca as a project because we believe in what the RGD stands for—homegrown design, lifelong education, sowing seeds for the future—these are all values close to our studio’s heart. The RGD is an incredible organization that has done so much to uplift the Canadian design industry and we want to support them. We also have a long-standing connection with the RGD—our Principal Lionel Gadoury RGD is a Past President of the Association; we have RGD Members on staff and our entire team has benefited from the RGD's webinars, events and other initiatives. And obviously, creating an experience for our peers is a bonus!" offers Christine Caruso, Senior Associate, Strategy and Content at Context Creative.
Working closely with the RGD, the team at Context Creative conducted content audits, led exercises and workshops to establish an updated, user-friendly architecture and navigation while identifying priorities and functional requirements. "Ours was a users-first design approach, taking a step back and questioning what we know or might otherwise assume was essential. During our exploratory environmental scan, we focused first on websites with similar audiences and those with highly efficient and large asset libraries. The wireframes and design options for mobile and desktop website were created keeping in mind the members of the design industry. We incorporated opportunities throughout the process to invite input from agencies, project managers, creative directors, designers, students and purchasing/procurement professionals," says Joanna Poon, UX/UI Lead at Context Creative.
Reflecting upon some opportunities that came with this project, Kelly McNamara, Context Creative's Senior Developer notes "Craft CMS is a robust but lesser-known CMS compared to popular platforms. From the discovery phase work, we felt that it was an excellent fit, allowing for a build that is both custom and more efficient to accommodate the RGD’s needs. Of course, every build has unique challenges and it was an excellent opportunity to push the boundaries of what we know and can do with Craft in terms of both front-end and back-end. Finding creative solutions to unexpected technical considerations was also key. One such example includes developing the Find a Designer search, and creating a very flexible, highly-reusable preview card component to accommodate the site requirements. This one component displays over 15 different styles across mobile, tablet and desktop!"
"We hope that the revamped rgd.ca makes it even easier to discover and benefit from the amazing content the RGD is constantly enabling and delivering. The improved portfolio pages and cross-linking features now facilitate more effective search and promotion of designers, aligning with the RGD’s vision of being the go-to resource for the Canadian design and communications profession and for those seeking to tap into and connect with its rich talent base and resources," says Katrina Lovrick, UX/UI Lead at Context Creative. "With the RGD's vast content library and a wealth of offerings, the possibilities were endless. We needed to balance aspirations with practical realities to make things happen in a feasible timeframe. Fortunately, websites are ever-evolving and we look forward to continuing the collaboration with the RGD to keep improving and enhancing rgd.ca over time."
"Community feedback, coupled with the RGD’s commitment to continuous learning and prioritizing Member value, has always propelled positive change—the future looks bright!" offers Lionel Gadoury RGD, Principal, Director of Strategy and Creative Services at Context Creative.
Check out some of the Context Creative team's favourite features of the new website:
- Video library: Canada’s design community and Member RGDs may know that RGD has hosted and recorded a vast array of talks and webinars. Now you don't have to be a Member to peek into this incredible library. Open to all until March 4!
- Guides: We wanted to give the RGD as many ways as possible to showcase all the amazing community resources. The new website has a "Guides" section to help users navigate and find the tools and documents they need for a specific purpose.
- Accessibility: We applied many accessible user experience best practices in design and development and the website went through some of our most thorough internal reviews. While AODA mandates AA, like all websites designed by us, rgd.ca achieves some WCAG 2.2 AAA items!
- Development highlights: A few favourite development features include the Find a Designer search; gated video countdown (enabling the robust video library to go from public to private); features to support managing and presenting multiple sponsorship levels or tiers, reusable components and partials at the back-end of the website.