For the past few years, Acumium has been a proud sponsor of Madison’s Design Like Mad hackathon, where graphic designers, architects and developers work on business projects for local non-profits pro bono. We were so excited to participate in this awesome hackathon again this year and give back to an incredible local organization.
On Saturday, April 13, my colleagues Deb Norslien, Chris Vater and I worked on a new website for Wisconsin Food Forests (WFF). WFF is a collective of permaculture designers, gardeners, locavores, and naturalists, who want to see food forests planted all over Dane County. These food forests mimic a forest edge that’s planted with edible plants and includes all the vertical layers of a forest growing together: tall trees, small trees, shrubs, herbs, and ground covers. They’re an emerging form of green infrastructure that’s becoming more common across the country.
The task was to take six people and just 12 short hours to build a new website for Wisconsin Food Forests, which happens to be the 2019 project focus of Madison Traffic Garden. The WFF team explained that their current site was outdated and hard to manage, and needed an updated look, an optimized content structure, the ability to collect donations for various food forest projects, and easier maintenance.
The team started this project with a pre-planning event, where we asked a lot of questions around WFF’s goals, their pain points, their audiences, and what they needed this site to do for them. At the end of the pre-planning event, we landed on a recommendation of re-platforming the site from Xara to WordPress to allow them the flexibility and functionality they needed, along with the benefit of increased support options that comes with a more ubiquitous platform.
In between the pre-planning event and the hackathon, we worked with WFF on theme selection and got their development site stood up so they could hit the ground running. Once the hackathon kicked off Saturday morning, we quickly divided responsibilities and started working on content planning and information architecture, theme and plugin installation and configuration, image selection and optimization, blog migration, PayPal integration, styling, and content population.
By the end of the day, we had created a brand new site, on a new platform, with an updated look and feel, which included a new logo that was done off-hours by Paul Lackner, Acumium's Executive Creative Director. All content was migrated over into a new information architecture, all integrations were working, and a hand-drawn series of plant illustrations by one of our graphic designer team members were added.
The WFF team was thrilled with the result and excited to share this new site with the world, mission accomplished.
We’re so honored to participate in hackathons like Design Like Mad and our upcoming inaugural HackingKindness hackathon at Acumium. Being able to give back and use our skills to benefit a local organization is always something we’re happy to do. A big thank you to Design Like Mad for hosting us and Wisconsin Food Forests for allowing our team to work on your site.