Posted 10 years ago by Devin Reams
Every day we're reminded that we work with some of the best clients and brands in the world. We recently helped an organization that is constantly doing good in the world: Compassion International.
Working with Chris and the team at Compassion to re-design their blog and create a unique Facebook user experience has been an excellent experience.
Compassion International Blog
Compassion International recently rebranded and took the opportunity to refresh and enhance their popular blog's layout, design and features. After a consulting phase, we prepared a number of wireframes, mockups and a list of new features to be implemented. The process involved constant iteration and rounds of revisions. The result is a modern look and feel with popular WordPress features integrated into the blog design.
New look and feel
Compassion International has updated their brand styles and imagery. We had excellent design direction provided and were able to integrate the new look throughout the newly created blog design and layout.
Imagery is important to Compassion International and it's mission and we understood that. We used WordPress' built-in image gallery and featured image selector to show an image with each entry on the home page, featured articles section, search results, and archives.
Search engine optimization
We're often asked to work with search engine optimization experts and happily reviewed and discussed some recommendations in addition to offering our own insight based on our web standards and accessibility experience.
When a blog like Compassion International's has such a strong following with repeat visitors, it's nice to offer a change in scenery. We created a very simple image rotator that randomly displays a new image in the blog's header on every page load.
Sometimes “who” is sending the message is as important as the message itself. Compassion International asked us how they could help spotlight their various bloggers. Together we came up with a simple byline at the bottom of each entry that linked to the author's article archive. This coupled with exposing a custom RSS feed for each author and a custom gravatar has allowed for a deeper connection to the article authors.
Teaching and training
Having so many more day-to-day experience with WordPress, we love hearing “wow, I can do that?” on the other end of the line. We were able to help explore requirements and teach WordPress functionality to the web team in order to help them self-manage their site successfully. As with every project, we also provided documentation within the WordPress dashboard for easy reference.
Sophisticated blog design
The ability to communicate serious topics through a blog is sometimes challenged by the default two-column look we expect from most blogs. By taking a unique approach to the landing page layout we were able to demonstrate that this is more than just another blog.
Having discussed some of the sticking points from the previous design, we realized that more control was needed over the top-level and footer site navigation. Before the custom Menus functionality was added to WordPress, we created a way for bloggers to manage separate lists of links that allowed for drop down styling and references to existing WordPress pages (if it moves, the link won't break).
You can't always assume you can “build it and they will come.” While Compassion has a huge audience, they're always looking for help in spreading the word. By implementing social sharing with conscious design decisions made on how they integrate into the design the blog is shared across ShareThis, Twitter, and Facebook with ease.
Syndication wherever possible
Little known to most, WordPress offers a custom RSS feed for each author, tag, and category within a blog. By exposing a link to the feed on each of the respective archive landing pages, readership within niche topics has increased. With a frequently-updated blog such as this, no longer is a visitor limited to just one syndication feed.
By partnering with our sister company, WordPress HelpCenter, and providing documentation on how the site is built and configured, we are able to guarantee an expert resource is available to quickly answer questions and assist with plugin and WordPress maintenance.
My experience with Crowd Favorite has been better than any other web-related or design company I’ve worked with.
The bottom line is that Crowd Favorite understood what I wanted and delivered. There were no surprises. Working with them was a pleasure. I knew what I was getting and when I was getting it.
They pay attention to the details and are exceptionally thorough. The guys of Crowd Favorite shared their opinions and made suggestions but had no problem delivering precisely what I wanted when I opted to go against their expertise. That’s valuable and highly professional.
All our communication was clear. Both times that I have worked with them, there have been no misunderstandings. I have been exceptionally pleased and will definitely work with them again.
They clarify when necessary, they teach and explain (with patience) when needed, and then deliver precisely what is requested. The timeliness and professionalism of Crowd Favorite can’t be beat!
— Chris Giovagnoni
Compassion International Facebook Tab
When you land on a Facebook Page, by default you're directed to the page's “Wall” tab, which is a collection of post activity and comments from fans of the page. We worked with Compassion International to build a custom FBML Application to be used as their default “Welcome” tab to introduce both new visitors and old to Compassion International, it's mission, and ways to get involved.
Unique Facebook presence
Previously, new and returning visitors to the Compassion International Facebook page might’ve found it confusing as to where to find more information and get involved. By creating a custom FBML Facebook Application, this tab can be set as the Facebook Page’s default view when the page loads.
Rotating imagery and information
When an organization like Compassion International has such a strong following and repeat visitors, it's nice to offer a change in scenery. We created a very simple image rotator that randomly displays a different image and link on every page load.
Keep it simple
By using simple imagery and keeping the elements on the tab to a minimum, this tab has succeeded in providing quick links to send fans and visitors to the right place.
Sponsor a child feed
By parsing a custom XML feed with an image, name, country, and pair of links, the application displays an up-to-date listing of children to be sponsored.