Festival Site Wins Gold in International Competition


The Small Halls Festival is an annual, award-winning event in Ontario that brings together locals and visitors for great music, good food, and a celebration of rural heritage. 

In the Township of Clearview, community halls have been the heartbeat of rural life for generations. The award-winning Small Halls Festival celebrates that history with music performances and farm-to-table dinners, as well as family activities like chicken races, hikes, improv shows and bowling nights.

This year marks the Festival's 15th anniversary. The Township wanted a new website to better reflect the fun, high-spirited atmosphere and to make it easier for staff to update event details on the fly.

Ontario Municipal Web Solution Wins Gold

Collingwood is a beautiful town north of Toronto, situated on the vast Georgian Bay. We partnered with the Town's team this year to design and develop a new municipal goverment website that better serves their residents, businesses, and visitors. 

Accessibility and user-friendly content were the priority for Collingwood. The Town's new website is citizen-centric and engaging, showcasing local events and making it easy for anyone to find information and services. The design incorporates best practices for web accessibility. It features navigation tools like quicklinks on the homepage and an I want to... menu that helps residents easily apply for everything from a dog tag to a marriage licence.

Creating a great user experience meant a major shift for the Town's complex and sometimes repetitive site map. Town staff were passionate and determined throughout the process of reconfiguring and distilling content. The result is an easy-to-use website, thoughtfully organized for their audiences. 

5 Ways to Boost Your Website's Accessibility

To truly meet and exceed web accessibility standards, it always helps to have your solutions designed and developed by experts in the field. That way, when you launch a new website, you know that your digital presence is built from the ground up to be easy-to-use for everyone.

However, accessibility goes well beyond your site launch! Keeping your website accessible means taking into account all the circumstances that can keep someone from getting information they need— including having a hard time viewing images or reading text. So, while many web accessibility standards are met in the initial design and development of your site, others are always in the hands of your content editors.

It’s important that your website is easy to update and that you and your staff have a set of accessibility guidelines you can follow for consistency. To help you create great content that all your users can appreciate, we've put together a checklist of 5 ways to improve accessibility for your site's content.


1. Are your text links descriptive?

Gold Award Win for City of Grande Prairie Website

Grande Prairie is a growing city located a few hours' drive north-west of Edmonton, with a population around 70,000. We recently launched a brand-new website for the City, built with our Drupal solution for municipal government.

This was a fun project! We really enjoyed collaborating with the City's super-organized and knowledgeable team to deliver a beautiful, user-friendly website for their citizens. Before launch, we had the opportunity to meet more than 60 City staff for hands-on training so they can keep their site up-to-the-minute. Their new platform is built with scalability in mind, ready to accommodate the City as it grows. We're thrilled that the redesign is a huge success for Grande Prairie.

It's icing on the cake that their new website has been recognized internationally. We're proud to announce that the redesign won gold in the Hermes Creative Awards! This competition celebrates outstanding creative work and has grown to be one of the largest global competitions for digital marketing and communications.

10 Ways a Dynamic Infographic Can Help Your Organization

Do you meet new clients at trade shows and events? Need to share technical details in an interesting way? If yes, this scenario will feel familiar.

Urban Solar’s team connects with hundreds of decision-makers at trade shows every year. It can be next to impossible to engage every potential buyer— especially with a crowded booth. To help solve this issue, they asked us for a tool to capture attention and give their team strong talking points.

The result: a custom-built dynamic infographic. It’s an eye-catching webpage their team can display to show the unique benefits of commercial solar lighting. Here are 10 ways a tool like this can help your organization:

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).


Subscribe to RSS - Development