Eyespike Design was commissioned to plan and execute the first major redesign and structural change to the First Federal website since 2001 and it represented a significant step forward in the use and application of web-based information technology for FFBF.
During planning, Susan Lance, VP & Marketing Director stated, “As a Financial institution we are driven by security, in a demanding market, and must have the ability to make instant changes…” A redesign of the FFBF site had been avoided for several years because of a lack of internal web design and development capabilities to maintain a 50+-page website efficiently. A great deal of content would need to be migrated to the new site by their staff and extensive training would not be possible.
One of the main objectives in the redesign was to alleviate a content bottleneck and empower numerous employees in different departments with the ability to manage specific content and ensure the availability of accurate information to their customers online at all time. Additionally, these employees would have little or no training and background in web development. The site would also need to be hosted at the banks headquarters where it would be administered by the bank’s IT department, without requiring additional resources.
The availability of an in-house web-development department trained to create and maintain a website was not practical. However the ability to grow the site in proportion to the company was necessary. Until the redesign and switch to the Sitefinity CMS, all site content was updated by way of the various departments manually submitting content to the IT department in print or digital format. This caused a delay in the information updates and frequently took IT administrators away from other tasks critical to the banks internal systems.
FFBF had also spent years developing a well-recognized corporate identity in their marketing endeavors and required that the new site reflect the same unique corporate image online as well, which required a CMS solution that would be flexible and highly customizable visually.
It was determined that First Federal required a secure, scalable site rich in user and client-side features, which complied with web standards, including CSS layout and cross-browser compatibility. Once we had outlined a defined list of specific features and requirements for the proposed FFBF site, it was clear that the Sitefinity platform offered a secure, easy-to-use solution that would accommodate growth and efficient, continuing development. The easy integration of Telerik tools and use of themes/CSS offered the flexibility needed to create a functional, visually pleasing site for use by multiple administrators and employees.
The site was developed in ASP.NET, SQL Server, and Sitefinity CMS and required custom design and CSS for multiple page layouts, development of custom modules and integration of Flash. Utilizing two graphic designers and one developer from Eyespike Design, the new FFBF website took just over two months to design, develop, and deploy once the specifications and website outline were completed and approved.
The Sitefinity CMS has enabled the FFBF website to add overall efficiency and become an integral part of their marketing and internal business model, allowing multiple employees to keep the site updated with little or no training necessary. FFBF’s staff is now able to update the site quickly from multiple locations, creating and rearranging the site according to the bank’s needs. Michael Housch, VP & Chief Technology Officer noted, “Our new CMS framework delivers rich application and integration capabilities that link to our secure internal applications. We have been extremely impressed that our CMS allows First Federal content authors, editors and reviewers to easily manage web content without our on-going IT involvement.”
Implementation and execution of the finished site was also painless and straightforward. Brian Boatright, Lead Developer and CTO with Eyespike Design commented, "Making the transition from the old static site to a new dynamic site was very smooth thanks to the standard ASP.NET MasterPages and Theme rolling abilities built into Sitefinity CMS."
When launched, the new FFBF site exceeded expectations in terms of available features, ease of use, and performance without sacrificing the style and elegance First Federal required in terms of the look and feel. The use of themes allowed for multiple page layouts to be created and seamlessly changed to fit adjustments in content. According to Phillip N Flint, Art Director with Eyespike Design, “First Federal was expecting a unique look for this dynamic site and as designers we were really able to stretch our creative wings, integrating complicated CSS, Flash, and alpha transparency with ease.”
Overall, developers and users agreed that the Sitefinity platform was the premier CMS solution with robust functionality and virtually limitless flexibility. After the site was completed, Susan Lance, VP & Marketing Director with FFBF stated, “The custom Sitefinity CMS system has tremendous capabilities, but what has impressed our team the most is how easy it is to use, manage and publish.”