Highlights of 2019

19 December 2019
Scribbly line drawing of a Christmas tree shape, with animated coloured flashing lights

It’s always rewarding – and often pleasantly surprising/shocking – to take a look back on what we’ve achieved over the past 12 months.

Our busiest year yet has included lots of exciting projects with long-time clients, 10 brand new website launches, and a growing team.

These are our collective highlights of 2019:

Keeping things simple

As well as our work with clients, we regularly step back to review how we’re working; and look for ways to improve.

Over the past few months we’ve been under the hood, simplifying the way we integrate clients' websites with ticketing systems like Spektrix and Tessitura. This should make it easier for us to manage complex integrations even more efficiently in future 🤓

We’ve also spent time refining the way we turn design into code. Sally and I co-wrote this article on CSS Tricks which gives an insight into how we magic note-filled drawings of interactive, responsive websites into the real thing.

A big win was starting to use CSS Grid at the beginning of the year. It’s now a big part of how we build websites, and it makes laying things out in code easier and quicker than before. This gives us even more design flexibility – and, as Josh says, more time for the details and the fun stuff!

Working together

We work closely with clients on all projects, but this year’s stand-out example was Sheffield Theatres.

From the start, we knew this project was going to be tight; a full rebrand and website happening in tandem, over just a few months (… with pesky Christmas getting in the way too).

The only way we were going to manage it was by working closely with the Sheffield Theatres team and their branding agency, Cafeteria. Mutual trust and transparency, and us being involved in the rebrand process from start to finish worked a treat.

Sheffield Theatre's website homepage – March 2019 – with Standing at the Sky's Edge promo

We were able to plan our work alongside the rebrand; successfully incorporating the theatres’ bold new look and feel into the website design – while each were still being developed. (Shout-out to Rachel at Sheffield Theatres, who did a stellar job of managing both the rebrand and new website at their end 👏)

Everyone rose to the challenge during this project, and we built some great relationships in the process.

Focusing on inclusivity and accessibility

Universal 'access to Information' symbol in white on an orange background

Since we started making websites, we’ve always been intent on doing it ‘properly’. That is, designing and building in a way that allows websites to be used by as many people – and assistive technologies – as possible.

This year we’ve made a concerted effort to share practical tips about improving website accessibility – at talks, events, conferences, and online.

It was particularly interesting running website accessibility audits for 28 organisations as part of the AMA Conference in July. Everyone who took part got a handy report and list of practical ways to improve their site's accessibility – and we learnt a lot from the process too.

We’ve gathered-up a host of useful tips, hints and links in our Access Resources. This includes all sorts of practical stuff; from easy ways to review how your website appears to someone with a visual impairment, to hints and tips for making your accessible events stand out online.

Inclusivity and accessibility are, to use a high falutin’ phrase, guiding principles for us – so our collective New Year’s Resolution: Find ways to be more inclusive and more accessible in 2020.

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