What I’ve been working on: The Salient Group Website

The Salient Group corporate website v2.0

With the downturn in the markets – particularly real estate, which I’ve spent much of the last several years focused on, what better time for a developer to reflect on their website? Companies always seem to make the mistake of cutting back on their advertising, and web presence in times like these, but that need not be the case.

I’d started on some comps and wireframes of a new website for The Salient Group some months back when the market was really hot, but they’re just wasn’t the time needed to devote enough attention to it. Fast forward to February of 2009, and the markets had cooled (to say the least). Salient wanted to take advantage of this time to get the new website (version 2.0) back on track and take advantage of all the latest and greatest forms of communication and social media integration.

For the second reincarnation of the site, we took the website to a larger 1000+ pixels wide and wanted to brighten it up a bit. The original site had a grittier feel and was, for the most part, black & white – which is where the company was then, but everybody felt that the new site should be brighter and have a more optimistic feel. The other big thing we wanted to accomplish with the site was to get as much information about the projects out there, right up front. All too often, consumers need to dig too deep to find the information they want, so we wanted to present the info in chart form so that it would be easy to compare project-to-project. The company’s product offering has also matured to almost a dozen (including the commercial projects). We also had some much-needed photos of in-progress and finished projects to work with, and wanted to showcase these spaces.

Another primary goal we wanted to accomplish was to get all of Salient’s press articles, from their inception to the present online, and their Spotlight blog is the perfect place for it all to go, for several reasons. It’s all in chronological order, completely searchable. Because it’s been thoroughly tagged, it makes for a very useful resource when a journalist is doing a story and works equally well for Salient staff to find something from the company’s past. I put extra time into the news archive, by taking much of the original JPG or PDF files and running an OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software to extract all the text, which all the search engines will just eat right up. You can see the fruits of the labour in the archive section of the site, showcasing the breakdown of tags, categories, etc.

In addition to the new site’s features listed above, I set up all the social media tools so that the company can manage their own marketing strategy in-house. With FacebookTwitter (with Hootsuite integration), Flickr, Vimeo page (+ Vimeo channel), and YouTube, The Salient Group is fully Web 2.0 – now they just have to stay on top of it. Simply put – you have to put the work in, and engage your audience – or it doesn’t work.

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