Veterans’ Business Council website website

The board members who keep the Rochester Regional Veterans’ Business Council are busy folks. They’re often business owners themselves and leaders in their field. They have families and are very involved in their communities and other charitable organizations. Like everybody, their “free” time is in short supply.

Technologically, their existing website and related membership renewal processes weren’t helping. They were tedious and time intensive.

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IGI redesigned homepage screenshot

the newly redesigned IGI homepage

The IGI website redesign is another collaboration between myself and James from the House of Bogue.

The newly redesigned site not only features a fresh look but entirely new back-end administrative functionality as well.

James’ art direction included an updated logo and much more professional, modern look for the site.

To improve functionality, the new site was built using the WordPress platform. Previously, content was contained in static ASP pages and required not only specialized software to connect to the web server and make changes to the markup but HTML knowledge as well. WordPress provides a web-based control panel that can be accessed from anywhere and allows content editing with no more knowledge than is required to create and edit a document in your word processing software.

Other updates include more simplified navigation, search functionality, JavaScript interaction, and integration with IGI’s social media accounts.


The Smile Exchange

The Smile Exchange website screenshot

The Smile Exchange website homepage screenshot

The Smile Exchange is the brainchild of Mark Colgan as a way to “pay-it-forward”; recognizing people for their good deeds and inspiring others.

James from House of Bogue originally approached me about developing the project after he signed on to do the design. The idea behind The Smile Exchange sounded interesting to me. It certainly wasn’t your average brochure-ware site, and I knew that the features and functionality they wanted would take me a little outside of my comfort zone and challenge me. So of course I said yes.

Because of the completely voluntary nature of the site, we knew we needed to eliminate as many barriers to entry as possible. With that in mind, Facebook users can connect with one button click and be interacting with the community in seconds. Registration for non-Facebookers was pared down to just the essentials: username, email and password.

While Mark has lots of plans for growing The Smile Exchange, the initial release is all about getting the basics right. The design and functionality focuses specifically on the most important aspect: to make writing and sharing updates as simple as possible. Easy ability to share updates on Facebook and Twitter help spread the word and the ability for smile traders (members) to connect and share with one another helps build a sense of community. We’ll use member feedback to determine where things go from here.

Consider joining and posting a good deed to inspire others or just browse and be inspired yourself.



TEDxBuffalo website

TEDxBuffalo website

To me, TED conferences are a big deal. I love the idea of so many interesting people coming together to share their ideas and passions. So I’m honored to play even a small part in TEDxBuffalo.

The TEDxBuffalo design comes from the amazingly talented Matt and Laura at 12 Grain Studio and was implemented by me. The WordPress back-end makes it easy for contributors and organizers to post and update content. And the custom theme has easily editable content widget areas in the sidebar and footer, multiple configurable navigation options, and the ability to display post thumbnails and excerpts on the homepage.

Please visit the TEDxBuffalo website for more information on attending, participating, and sponsorship opportunities.

Bay Road Grocery & Deli design refresh

Bay Road Grocery amp; Deli website

Bay Road Grocery amp; Deli website

I was really excited when I got a call from Mike at Bay Road Grocery & Deli. The convenience store, located at the corner of Volk and Bay roads in Webster, was an institution in my childhood neighborhood and I have fond memories of riding my bike with friends there for candy, soda and cap guns.

Bay Road Grocery had an existing website but Mike wanted to update the look and feel as well as remedy the site’s poor search engine rankings. As it turns out, most of the content (images and text) was embedded in a rotating-type javascript gallery. Not exactly search engine friendly. Or easily update-able.

As part of the refresh, I created a WordPress-based site for Mike with a custom theme. Using WordPress gave him the ability to get in and easily update the content on his site that changes frequently; like his menu, the kinds of lottery tickets he sells, and any lottery winners from his store. That also moves the valuable content that describes his store and the services he provides from obscurity in javascript code to plain search engine readable text.

The custom theme was created using proper, semantic HTML markup with the headings and structure that make search engine optimization more effective. Design-wise, the whitewashed plank header and weathered logo enhance and reinforce the nautical theme echoed throughout the store itself.