Take 20 some non-profits with technology needs beyond their current capabilities; mix in a plethora of talented web developers and designers from a variety of local companies and freelancers; set the stage for success with preplanning time; come together in a creative environment with elbow room, gallons of coffee, and good Wi-Fi; and let the magic happen.
That’s the recipe for Design Like Mad, a one-day design marathon that helps non-profits make a dent in their technology wish lists and provides a way for companies to give back to their communities. In a span of roughly 10 hours, on April 8, 2017, Acumium was part of the mix as a first-time sponsor with three volunteers.
Acumium web developer Chris Vater was part of a four-person team (two developers, two designers) who “did the coolest things” for the Wisconsin Science Museum. Their major task was developing a new WordPress site. In their spare time (!) they created a visitor map and designed new business cards. Chris also tackled a problem with email servers that had been plaguing the organization for over a year. Chris was a WordPress novice before Design Like Mad, noting, “I wish I knew ahead of time what I know now.” Now he’s ready for next year.
Wisconsin Microfinance wanted to change their hosting provider, move their site to WordPress, develop a new look and feel, and migrate the content. To tackle this extensive list, two developers and two designers including Acumium’s Director of User Experience, Caroline Sober-James teamed up to get things done.
Caroline recalls, “At one point, we needed a particular graphic to be created and a graphic designer from Widen stepped up and knocked it out.” One of her vivid memories from the day was floating developers from Zendesk kneeling on the floor with laptops balanced on their thighs, doing their part to help the team meet their goals.
Deb Norslien, Acumium user experience designer, worked with two developers and one other designer to “do what we said we would do” for the Urban League of Greater Madison. This high profile organization had a cumbersome, outdated website that was difficult to keep current. They wanted a modern look with easy-to-update functionality. Deb found it rewarding, “To see their [the Urban League staffers] excitement of what was accomplished so quickly.” Creating their new site, a process that would typically span weeks or months, was largely finished in just 10 hours.
Participating in events like Design Like Mad aligns with our company ethos. We’ve talked about sustainability, not only in terms of being green but also in terms of keeping the business strong and enduring. That orientation doesn’t stop at our doors—we are equally passionate about helping other organizations thrive. An added bonus of getting involved is the natural networking and relationship building that evolves from this kind of intensive experience. Chris, Deb, and Caroline continue to work with their non-profit in some fashion, as the organizations work on follow-up to-do items and get ready to launch their new sites.
Outside of the Design Like Mad event, Acumium currently provide website, technology and marketing assistance to these organizations: