This month ecentricarts turns thirteen years old!
My how time flies - our adolescent years as a studio are now behind us and we have become a teenager.
The last year has been an exceptional year for ecentricarts. Looking back there are many highlights we’d like to share.
In the last twelve months we launched close to forty websites. Whew! That’s a lot of work! Props to our project managers for keeping us all on track! Over thirty of those sites were built on the Kentico CMS platform. Kentico is without a doubt a best in class CMS for the Microsoft platform, and can scale to meet the needs of a broad range of organizations (small not-for-profits, right up to Fortune 500 companies). Petr Palas, the founder of Kentico, has done an amazing job in creating a world-class product that marries flexibility, functionally and ease of use. As well, in our experience the end user support provided by Kentico is unparallelled (a seven day bug fix guarantee – unheard of!). Out of over twelve hundred Kentico partners ecentricarts is currently ranked number one in Canada and number five in the world! We’d like to thank Petr and his team in North America and Europe for their continued support.
On the open source front, ecentricarts has also formally adopted WordPress as our Open Source CMS. This year we launched over half a dozen sites on this platform, with more to come! WordPress provides a stable, easy to use CMS. We find it’s especially well suited for simpler website implementations.
We’ve also jumped wholeheartedly into mobile. We now have over a dozen live or in production websites that include an adaptive and/or responsive user interface: one that dynamically changes the layout of pages and content so that they are optimized for mobile users. We believe mobile web via adaptive or responsive implementations is an excellent option for many websites. This approach has many benefits when compared to either stand-alone mobile sites or native apps. We also just launched our first iOS application: Soundmakers for Soundstreams!
We launched our first iOS app: Soundmakers for Soundstreams
Our creative and user experience team’s bench strength has also grown in leaps and bounds this year. We have delivered exceptional creative for our clients, and have produced some particularly innovative and engaging online experiences for end users: an interactive Google Maps mash-up for Rick Mercer, new online identities and websites for Entertainment One, the Canadian Physiotherapy Association and Soundstreams, engaging fundraising and awareness microsites for Red Cross, and more.
We can’t thank our clients enough. ecentricarts is blessed with wonderful assortment of customers that span the gamut from small not for profits to Fortune 500 companies. They constantly challenge and inspire us. This year several projects and new client relationships stood out as memorable:
Bell Media Radio Division: Common Web Platform
Bell Media joined our client roster this year. Bell’s Radio division owns thirty-four stations across Canada. As of late 2011, the Bell Media digital team was mired in a website technology and support nightmare, having to support thirty-four radio station websites that each used different technologies and CMS platforms – the quality of the websites also varied considerably. Our solution was to build a common web platform on the Kentico CMS. This common platform allows Bell to give each radio station their own look and feel and distinct functionality, but deliver it all from the same underlying technology base, and to provide a much richer experience for end users. Since we launched the platform and the first website on it (www.Flow935.com), Bell’s internal web team has migrated more than a dozen other radio station websites to the new platform - well done Bell Media! Look for more sites to launch this year, and look for a range of new features and functions that we’re currently working on to roll out across Bell’s radio stations sites, including enhanced mobile support as well a better music player.
Entertainment One: Global Online Brand, Global Web Platform
In a similar vein, Entertainment One group (eOne) engaged us to help make sense of their family of thirty different web properties, which included websites for five distinct business divisions, plus regional/country sites representing eOne’s global presence across four continents. eOne had grown rapidly over the last several years, becoming the World’s largest independent distributor of music, film and television content – but in the process of acquiring companies and bringing them into the eOne family and opening up new points of presence across the globe, the company’s online presence had become fractured and significantly off-brand.
Our work on eOne earned us the Kentico Corporate Website of the Year award
We led a process to bring the whole eOne family together under one global web umbrella, with a stunning new online brand, a common website look and feel, and a common web technology platform. The global corporate website, Film, Television and Family Entertainment divisions launched in 2012, eOne Distrubution just launched and Music is rolling out shortly. Entertainmentone.com also won Corporate Website of the Year in Kentico’s Website of the Year awards. Congrats to eOne and to the eca team!
A Growing International Clientele
We’d like to give a particular shout-out to our growing roster of clients in the U.S. and overseas: the Cancer Research Institute, ITT Industrial Processes, Summer Infant, iBidMobile, Calico Cottage, Vocus and the National Guild of Community Arts Educators are all part of our growing American family. In particular, New York seems to turning into a second home for ecentricarts!
Other 2012 Highlights
This year we continued to add to our body of work and depth of experience in the not for profit and professional association sectors, launching new sites for the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres, the Canadian Physiotherapy Association, the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Ontario Provincial Police Association and the Munk Debates, among others.
The upcoming Munk Debates site refresh implements our new responsive approach to design
There are also many newer clients who ecentricarts is looking forward to long-standing relationships with, including the Canadian Bar Association (and the Ontario and BC Branches), the Canadian Red Cross, Shred-It, and the YMCA of Canada, among others.
Through our work with clients such as Shred-it, ITT, Scotiabank and eOne, we are furthering our reputation for solutions that work on a global scale, serving audiences in a variety of countries, in multiple languages.
We would also like to recognize many of our long time clients that have been with us for the long haul. The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, the College of Family Physicians of Canada, Canada’s National Ballet School, JustFoodERP, are just a few of the organizations that we’ve been providing services to for many years. A special shout out goes to Canada’s National History Society who has been with us since we first opened our doors. We value the trust they have put in our hands for their online properties.
A Growing Body of Awards, and a Growing Team
In the last year we’ve also been thrilled to have our work recognized by the outside world. We’ve won (or been nominated) for many awards, including work done for Kids Help Phone, Entertainment One and the Canadian Physiotherapists Association.
The past year has also seen our ecentricarts team grow in size. We continue to hire the best and the brightest - our staff never cease to amaze, bringing an enormous amount of passion and dedication to their work. Our complement of staff now includes two owners, a project management team of six, a user experience and creative group of six, eleven front end developers, eleven application developers and one part-time (but full-time hungry) dog. As of our thirteenth anniversary, we now have two employees who have been with us for more than ten years, and six who have been with us for more than five. We value and appreciate the loyalty our staff has shown us.
Our team is growing! You'll never meet a more passionate and dedicated staff of artisans.
On a more melancholic note: 2012 was the year where we bid farewell to one of our partners-in-crime: Michel Blondeau, a co-founding partner and Creative Director. Michel was one of the most creative and inspiring people we have ever met. We wish him well in his new adventures - as Michel would have said, GodSpeed!
So where do we go from here, what do the next thirteen years have in store? Well, we not known for our extreme prognostications, but if we had to guess, here are our thoughts:
ecentricarts will continue to be one of North America’s leading web design and development shops.
The next few years will see a surge in organizations replacing their legacy websites, to take better advantage of content management and customer experience management solutions.
As mobile and tablet device usage continues to multiple, responsive design will be a must have for any new site deployment, versus a nice to have.
ecentricarts will continue to hire more of the best and brightest creative, business and technical people out there.
ecentricarts will soon offer formal search engine optimization and marketing services as part of our core offering.
Our office will expand (we just took over our original space next door!).
Friday beer o’clock will continue to flourish.
Speaking of which, it is Friday, and it is beer o’clock. It’s time for a drink. If you have made it this far through this post, you deserve one too. Cheers!
Keith and Sean