Development

Designing a Website to Attract International Students to Canada

From the beginning, Upanup’s purpose has been to make the world a better place by improving communication and interaction among individuals and organizations. That’s why our partnership with the Victoria International School Programs (VISP) – an organization that connects students from around the world through high-quality international education programs – was such a natural fit. 

Our team is excited to announce the recent launch of the Victoria International School Programs website, designed to be accessed in different languages around the world.  

Drupal 7 and Drupal 8: Choosing the Platform That’s Best for Users

A question we’ve started to hear frequently from clients is which version of Drupal they should select for a project – or if they should be concerned about the future of their current Drupal 7 site.

With the Drupal 8.6.0 release announced this month, it’s a good time to reflect on some of the differences (and the similarities) between Drupal 7 and its successor.

Our experience with both versions of the platform demonstrates to us time and again the flexibility and capacity for customization that make Drupal the CMS of choice for so many projects. We’ve found that the simple answer to our clients’ question is that each version has its advantages for users.

Vernon Connect: The Power of a Customized Municipal App

Perhaps the greatest opportunity that arises from a municipal website redesign is the chance to re-engage with the public, delivering information that citizens need alongside news and alerts that can have an impact across the community. The City of Vernon’s website has helped to do just that, and with the launch of its Vernon Connect app in the App Store and Google Play this month, the City now has another tool to connect with citizens.

Vernon Connect arose from the City’s desire to implement push notifications for important events, emergencies, and other information of immediate value to the public. Having recently built the new City of Vernon site using a custom implementation of Drupal, Upanup proposed an application integrated with the Drupal API, which would streamline the publication of content and give the site’s owners complete control over which information appears on the app.

Build a Website with Flexibility for the Future

In this ever-changing digital landscape, technology and trends seem to advance daily and websites need the ability to adapt. In order to stay relevant, and to have a site that visitors enjoy using, it is important to consider how your website will accommodate future growth. Can it expand with your organization? Can it integrate with new software? Can the design be refreshed at a later time for a more modern look?

These factors, along with many others, are important to consider when choosing a new platform for your site’s development. They are also one of the (countless) reasons we choose to develop our client websites on open-source platforms like Drupal and WordPress. The freedom, scalability, and flexibility of open-source content management systems (CMS) allow us to develop custom websites that our clients can rely upon for years to come. A perfect example of this is the Greater Victoria School District (GVSD).

Complete Rebrand for the North Coast Regional District

In Summer 2017, we partnered with the North Coast Regional District (NCRD) to develop a new corporate brand for the region.

The Regional District had recently gone through a name change, from Skeena-Queen Charlotte Regional District to North Coast Regional District, and a comprehensive rebranding project was initiated to support this change.

NCRD wanted to create a meaningful corporate brand to reflect the region while taking into account the unique geographical, cultural, and environmental characteristics of the area.

Goals of the new brand identity were to:

  • Strengthen brand recognition
  • Differentiate NCRD from surrounding areas
  • Create a consistent message
  • Promote a connection between residents and nature
  • Attract new business, tourists and residents

To help us reach these goals, we travelled to Prince Rupert and conducted in-depth discovery meetings and stakeholder engagement sessions to familiarize ourselves with the region.

Custom Multi-Site Web Solution for Pembina Hills Public Schools

Recently, we partnered with Pembina Hills Public Schools in Central Alberta to redesign and develop their main division website, phpschools.ca, and their 13 individual school sites.

Along with creating a platform for parents, employees, and community members to easily access school information, we built an interactive tool to increase engagement and to help simplify internal operations for the Division as a whole. 

Utilizing a WordPress multi-site platform, we custom designed and developed a solution for the Division that houses each individual school site within the CMS. We also created a customizable website template, with a variety of colours, taglines, and fonts, for schools to showcase their personalities while maintaining cohesion across the division. 

Helping the City of Surrey Attract Investors with InvestSurrey.ca

In June 2017, we partnered with the City of Surrey to create an innovative, engaging online platform to attract and promote investment opportunities in the region.

After five months of both teams working diligently to produce a final product, we’re excited to announce the launch of InvestSurrey.ca.

This project was initiated by the City in hopes to strengthen Surrey’s brand as an investment-friendly destination.

Goals for this project were to:

The City of Colwood: Streamlining Internal Processes

Last year, the City of Colwood, a long-time Upanup client, asked us to develop a tool that would allow businesses to renew their business licenses online. The City was planning to eliminate business license fees and they wanted to create an efficient renewal process to coincide with the change and replace the antiquated systems of the past.  

After 10 months in operation, the City has found much success with their new process. Below is a small case study outlining the challenge, solution and impact of integrating the new business renewal tool onto Colwood.ca.

The Challenge

The City was using a paper system for their business license renewals and had no database for local businesses.

When Does a Microsite Make Sense?

But first, what is a microsite?

A microsite is a branded website that lives outside of a company’s main site and is used to offer focused communication on a specific product or service. Often used as a marketing tool, microsites help to diversify a company’s web presence and generate leads, while providing a flexible, efficient solution that can be tailored to specific markets.  

When does a microsite make sense?

  • When you want to build awareness around a separate sub-brand
  • When you have an abundance of information on one specific product, service, or event
  • When you have a product or service that targets different audiences
  • When you want to improve how a specific product or service ranks on a search engine results page
  • When you want to test a marketing approach for a specific product or service

Viking Air Aerial Firefighter Microsite DevelopmentUpanup’s long-time client, Viking Air, is a perfect example of when it makes sense to develop a microsite.

Custom Directories: Accessible for Every User

User-friendly. User-focused. User-centric.

Whichever term is used, enhancing a user’s experience is a top priority for clients when developing a new website. But often when describing user experience, it’s with the end-user, or site visitor, in mind. And while that is the ultimate goal, having a site that also provides a user-friendly experience to site administrators is extremely advantageous.

Recently we were approached by the British Columbia Assembly of First Nations (BCAFN) to incorporate directories into their existing site that would make information on First Nation economic development resources and communities easily accessible to all users.

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