POWERSHiFTER’s ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

POWERSHiFTER ALS Ice Bucket Challenge from Powershifter on Vimeo.

Well, we did it avec sea water to meet our challenge by TELUS Digital! During our prep at the beach a passer bye was watching and said he should do it as well as his father had passed away from ALS. It just so happened that we had more ice, water and buckets than we had people. Gino, this is dedicated to your father, thanks for joining our ALS Ice Bucket Challenge! Thanks to Tim and his team at TELUS digital for the challenge. Donations made! Make yours to whom ever you choose as a need charity today! ^JP

GE Destination Africa – Responsive Web for Emerging Markets

POWERSHiFTER is delighted to announce the launch of GE Destination Africa in partnership with Scott Turner, Executive Producer of Content and Brand Co. The site’s purpose is to support the many career opportunities at GE Africa and showcase some of the innovative work already taking place on the continent.

GE Destination Africa has been described by the client quite simply as “Beautiful”. Check it out

Hyper focused talk on Happiness and Creativity – Joseph Wu

We were honoured to partner with Creative Mornings Vancouver this month to kick off the new year with the theme of “Happiness”. There are many ways to approach a theme and celebrated origami artist Joseph Wu chose to approach it from a “journey in progress” that has not yet been reached. Joseph was diagnosed with ADHD as an adult after his son was diagnosed with it. He says it was tough to discover this fact and that the it was the catalyst for a two year depression of which he is just emerging. Joseph’s journey is like so many other creative people that I know and his talk shines a bright light on what having ADHD and being creative can be like.

We have included the entire video below for your viewing enjoyment. If you want to know more about the Creative Mornings organization, then make your way over to thier site and see how the other 42 chapters embraced the topic of Happiness.

2013/01 Joseph Wu – ADHD, depression, origami, creativity, and happiness from CreativeMornings/Vancouver on Vimeo.

Creative Mornings Vancouver with Joseph Wu | Photo Credit - Rob Shaer

Eight glasses of water a day with TEDxVancouver.

We spent the day at the Orpheum taking part in TEDxVancouver – tedxvancouver.com.  If you didn’t know that TED was in Vancouver this weekend, TEDxVancouver, a non-profit, independently organized talk, brought 2,300 [Worlds largest to date] participants and 11 local speakers to share ideas and spark discussion.

POWERSHiFTER joined the sponsor family for this one day event – it makes sense for us to take part in in a day where people are encouraged to dialogue and think differently.  Today, speakers shared wisdom on everything from justice to travel to the sociology of gossip.

As part of the sponsorship, POWERSHiFTER was invited to provide attendees with “swag that was useful.” We gave these cool refillable, BPA free water bottles to attendees.  Thanks so much to the folks at TEDxVancouver for allowing POWERSHiFTER to sponsor today’s thought leaders and help us quench more than just thirsty ears with our water bottles.

TEDxVancouver did an awesome job, we had a great day and left inspired.  Can’t ask for more than that on a rainy Sunday.   Just wondering when the next one is so we can get tickets.

TELUS launches responsive web design Machine to Machine website

Working again with longstanding client TELUS, POWERSHiFTER is proud to play a role in this week’s launch of the new Machine to Machine (M2M) site with a responsive web design website. TELUS M2M service covers a wide range of applications, including remotely collecting vehicle data, monitoring equipment (such as pipelines and wind turbines), wireless point-of-sale devices and connecting consumer devices (e-book readers, personal navigation devices or cameras).
We give TELUS a big thumbs up on using responsive design for the website launch. A responsive design website is pretty critical when launching a new connectivity offering as potential clients are sure

Lean and Mean POWERSHiFTER plays with big boys, makes BIV list for 1st time

For digital marketing agency POWERSHiFTER, it pays off being lean and mean. For the first time the Vancouver agency was named to the Business in Vancouver‘s Biggest Graphic Design Firms in B.C. list.

POWERSHiFTER is 25th on the list. “They changed the way agencies are measured this year,” said Creative Director and Founder JP Holecka. “Instead of the number of employees, they’ve measured gross billings.” POWERSHiFTER currently has just four full time and 4 part time employees but earnings approaching seven figures. The agency expanded from five employees in 2011. “We are sustaining 50 per cent year over year growth and already on track to pass our targets this year,” said JP Holecka, who founded the agency in 2001. “We are lean and mean but we can still play with the big guys.”

POWERSHiFTER 2.0

Version 1.0 of our site over stayed it’s welcome longer than I ever thought possible. We have been working on our 2.0 site since late last year. In fact we just celebrated the wireframes 1st birthday. Kidding aside, the reason for the delay is because we have been busy with exciting new client work. Most of our new work never even made the pages of the 1.0 version of the site’s portfolio page because, we thought 2.0 completion was just around the corner.

The directive to our sr. developer was to make it pixel perfect, something he does every time anyway, and make the backend so easy to update that we could task either our parents or an intern to do it. I am happy to announce that he did both. Not only did he nail the visual handed to him by the art director, he also customized the CMS so that 95% of the site could be updated without a single line of code being manually altered. The reason for the direction was two fold, firstly this is what we would deliver to our clients, and secondly so many digital agency sites are poorly cobbled together quickly between client projects and it’s too hard for anyone other than the busy agency developer to update.

We are extremely proud of our new site and know that it better reflects who were are as an agency. Please explore the site and feel free to let us know what you think in the comments below.

New digs, new places to eat

We have physically moved offices to our new building on the edge of Gastown. Some claim it to actually be Gastown but that is not correct, Gastown is further to the north. Our new office is in the historic Dominion Building that was at one time the tallest building in the Commonwealth. I was reluctant to head back over to this side of town after spending many years at other agencies here, but I have to admit it’s finally changing for the better. We have great places to eat and hairy hipsters that serve up coffee just the way I like it, strong and with plenty of attitude. I mentioned that we are physically in our new digs but not fully moved in yet as our order of furniture is not arriving until April 20th. So it’s cardboard boxes and milk crates for a little while longer I am afraid. We should be fully moved in by the end of the month and may even have a little open house to celebrate the expansion.

Please take note of our new address: 310-207 West Hastings Street Vancouver.

Photo:  rommy ghaly

TELUS revamps the Community Section of about.telus.com

In the late spring of this year TELUS came to us with the request to completely revamp their Community website. The existing site was hard to navigate and important information about TELUS community involvement, programs and donations were not being showcased well at all. Not that it was the fault of the site’s design per say, but rather the business objectives and content had changed substantially since the last major overhaul. TELUS is much more active in the community and funds hundreds of community programs across Canada as well as emergency relief in places like Haiti and Pakistan. In fact they were named Most Outstanding Philanthropic Corporationglobally this year. With that kind of commitment to giving they needed a site to both showcase the programs but to also give charities easier access to applying for the funding. Our goal was to achieve both objectives while updating the branding that the site had not kept pace with.

Our team completely re-wired the information architecture into four main sections. 1) Philosophy, 2) Community Investment, 3) Team TELUS Cares, and 4)Funding Application form. Prior to our design, new sections would get “bolted on” in odd locations because the site’s architecture was not designed to capture the community program holistically. With the four new global sections we knew that all current and future content would be able to find a logical home in the site that was not be a force fit.

One of the key problems of the existing site was that there were all of these great programs being funded by TELUS that was not being percolated to the top or home page for users to see….well there was no real home page in the last design to begin with to be honest. The new homepage now has a large current events carousel that showcases big projects and initiatives very clearly and in the well known TELUS brand of large images, short headlines and summary copy. The cool part of the carousel is the hidden funding map that is just behind the large revolving slides. When you click the Funding Map button an interactive Google map is takes center stage on the homepage and a showcase of TELUS community projects from coast to coast is revealed. Users can quickly browse the projects and then click into the bigger story right from the map. Site users no longer have to root through many levels to dig into the funding showcases.

The four sections of the new site are now more logical and will always be able to absorb new content organically. There were two main areas that were not showcasing the way TELUS funds programs. Both the Community Boards and TELUS Ambassadors were not only buried but were just giant dumps of heavy copy that users would have to wade through. Each Community Board and local Ambassadors group were given there own landing and project pages. Now each team could showcase the project with text and images. There was substantial weight added to presence that they had on the site. Both of these groups really are on the front lines when it comes to actively working with either local community funding or in the case of the TELUS Ambassadors working directly as volunteers.

The other main goal for the new site design was to give community groups and charities easier access to TELUS funding for projects. A new prominent global driver was added to the site so that no matter where the site user was they always had a quick way to apply for funding. We also changed the funding pages to be a stepped process so that applicants would have to walk through a gated pre-application area. This was done to reduce the error rate in funding applications. The old site design let applicants jump right to the application form bypassing the funding guidelines resulting in a large number of errors in the application process. The new design looks to reduce this substantially.

The biggest challenge for us with the Community site as the fact that it was not on a content management system and all 400+ pages [ 200+ English and 200+ French] needed to be delivered in flat html….we utilized a Ruby on Rails compiler and some markdown to make the process a little easier, non the less it was quite the Herculaneum effort for the dev team.

This is not a dump and run exercise either for the site. Our team is moving right into phase II and ongoing site updates. We are assisting TELUS in a content program that will help them manage all of the stakeholders to provide timely and important updates to the site, so that it will continue to grow and showcase the latest ways in which TELUS “Gives where it Lives”

New corporate photos for Ryan and Myself.

We have been in need of some decent photos for a few months now, so I bit the bullet last week and hired Nordica Photography to shoot Ryan and myself. We set up a nice little route here in Yaletown that would give us the best in variety in scenes and backgrounds. Want to know one of the hardest things to do? Well trying to get the two of us to look naturally happy in front of a camera would be up there I suspect. Thanks to the guys at Nordica for the great shoot, we are legit now and have the photos to prove it.