Atilus loves each and every client. Part of that loves comes from a deep desire for challenges. Each client or project provides different challenges, making every website a completely unique creation. Challenges come in many forms. Sometimes the challenge focuses on technology, sometimes on the creativity of the design, sometimes even with the timing of the project, among many others. This project with the Sunshine District was an opportunity for us to practice many angles of a project, specifically in the area of timing. There was simply a lot that needed to be done, and due to timing constraints on all sides, not much time to get it done in. This quickly became a challenge Atilus wanted to sink our teeth in with the PRSA Sunshine District leadership behind us.
The Public Relations Society of America [PRSA] is a community of more than 21,000 public relations and communications professionals across the United States, including people right from college to seasoned professionals at the executive level. Their members represent nearly every practice area, professional and academic setting within the public relations field. PRSA’s Sunshine District represents 1,000 public relations professionals from seven chapters throughout the state of Florida. The Sunshine District is one of ten PRSA districts nationwide, providing educational resources, scholarships, and professional development opportunities for the industry’s leading professionals throughout Florida.
Website Technology Created on a Timeline
The Sunshine District’s challenges were largely focused on timing, as they needed their site to be up and running with enough time to promote their conference, bring value to their sponsors and provide a communication channel with their members. Though it is a website for the district as a whole, the conference event is the centerpiece of the district as well as the centerpiece of the site. They needed their design and development firm to be able to handle all the technological challenges (such as utilizing Eventbrite for payment and RSVPs) while adhering to a timeline that was tight. Based on multiple conversations with their development team, target research and our own experience in non-profit development, we provided the following solutions:
- Customized Website (Bootstrap)
- Content Management System (Orchard)
- Search Engine Optimization
- Email Marketing System Integration
- Eventbrite Module and Payment Integration
- Social Media Integration, Including Twitter hashtag feed
Melting Multiple Online Systems into One Spectacular End User Experience
The Sunshine District already had a website, but it was not designed to promote the conference, of which there were numerous benefits to be shared. They were trying to attract sponsors, national level speakers and attendees to make the event a success. The Sunshine District also needed to be able to make changes through the site on short notice. They felt their old site couldn’t accomplish those tasks, so they turned to Atilus. Utilizing a custom integration of Bootstrap front-end specialties and Orchard’s user-friendly content management system, Atilus combined the two systems to work together flawlessly, mixing professional and creative design with a smooth end-user experience.
“It was a pleasure working with Atilus on the redevelopment of the PRSA Sunshine District website. Every step of the way, there was clear direction with detailed requests for action. The end result was an attractive, well designed website that was targeted specifically at achieving our goals. While we were pleased with the final website, it truly was the talent and professionalism from all of the staff at Atilus that sets their company apart from its competitors.”
Joseph Abreu, APR, PRSA Sunshine District 2014 Conference Co-Chair
Due to the short timetable for completion, Atilus decided to utilize both Bootstrap’s front-end framework and Orchard’s Content Management System (CMS), but could not take advantage of the new Bootstrap 3, so had to program in the necessary capabilities for Bootstrap 2 to work properly with Orchard. Atilus loves Orchard, a Microsoft .Net tool for CMS. The biggest challenge, though, came in integrating the module for Eventbrite, which had to work seamlessly across multiple pages and provide the ability to pay through the system as well. Initially, we thought we would have to write a new program to accomplish this, but found a module that worked with some slight customization for security and payment. The Twitter feed came easily and the site was ready to launch.
Staying Connected and Committed to All Projects for the Long Term
Now that the website is live, the challenge is to intently follow the data provided through website analytics so we can evaluate (both in the short and long term) website performance and make adjustments and find solutions where necessary. Because of this, the Sunshine District leadership wanted a live website, in that it will flow over time, allowing it to always be successful in doing its job as a communication channel for its target audiences.
Atilus strives to have a holistic view of every project and see things down the long-term road to make sure all efforts from all people on all teams are efficient and successful. Atilus is thankful and excited to continue on the journey with the PRSA’s Sunshine District as this growing website becomes a standard for quality development. For more information on the Sunshine District and see about getting involved yourself, visit www.prsasunshine.com.