I’m raising a toddler and a tween– one is potty training while the other is bugging me for a new infrastructure and content management system.
For several months, I’ve been working on our new website and Online Branch projects, pushing towards a completion date that keeps flitting just out of my grasp. Such is the nature of managing projects of this type and scale. We’re aiming for June 22 as a go-live date.
Last Friday, I took a break from the testing and the drudgery of reporting issues to dig up images of our past websites. It was like looking at photos of my son, aka Baby Verity, when he was born. I realized that veritycu.com has been the virtual “baby” I’ve been nurturing for more than 10 years. Veritycudotcom could almost be considered my first born! So right now, I’m raising a toddler and a tween at the same time — one is potty training while the other is wanting a new [insert latest and greatest thing here] in the form of a total website rebuild. What follows is a little walk down memory lane featuring screenshots of veritycu.com (born nwfcu.com) and how we both have grown up over the years.
The website was already up and running when I came on board in February 1998. I was the assistant marketing director then and I wrote the copy, but had to give it to IS to have to uploaded. I learned HTML and began to do it myself. There was no CMS or templates. I hardcoded HTML, edited images and FTP’d pages to a production site. I didn’t have a staging site, so if I didn’t catch a typo in my review, I saw it in production and had to make the edit ASAP. (Of course, I was never near a computer when that happened and I didn’t have VPN then.) The illustrations and design were custom and designed to make Home Banking and the website feel fun and full of whimsy. NW Federal was one of the first credit unions to offer free online banking services. At the time, the Internet was this novel, mysterious, scary thing. I remember our main selling points of Home Banking being “free, easy, safe and fun!” The “What’s New” exclamation point and finger was an animated GIF that moved from left to right.
Kept the whimsy, but cleaned it up a bit. By this time, I became handy with Dreamweaver and Photoshop and was able to change out the home “splash” image every month, depending on the marketing focus. As we added new menu items, I had to create new oddly shaped rectangles (parallelograms?). Looking at it now, I kinda miss the bright colors, but looking at these bright colors for too long makes me thirsty. Hmm.
Major redesign! Gone are the illustrations and cartoons. We changed our charter from solely Federal employees to Washington State residents, so we had to change our name from NW Federal Credit Union to Verity Credit Union. This was my first website rebuild with a web developer who I “found” at a conference. I finally got a CMS that enabled other staff members to post and update content. And there were handy shortcuts like being able to select and bold, link and italicize without having to type in HTML. A HUGE improvement to my work flow and it gave us the ability to feature our products and services better. A number of members did miss the illustrations, though. Our Home Banking made use of the illustrations, too, but we also changed online banking systems and the option to customize at that level went away. That is one of the disadvantages of using a hosted solution versus an in-house solution.
Our website today: May 2009
We had a little design tweak in March 2003 when we added Business Services, We also added “Quick Links” and our contact information on the home page. But at 7 years old, the website was due for a change and needed to take advantage of today’s technology. We’ve added so much info and “stuff” that if the website were a pair of worn jeans; its seams would be frayed and ripped at some embarrassing places. A re-design is underway and it will debut this summer. Online Branch (our new online banking system) will launch before the new website.
And the new veritycu.com? Where’s the screenshot of that?
Sorry– I’m putting my protective parent hat on. The kid isn’t ready to be seen yet. The designs have gone through usability and user experience testing. Development is well underway. I promise to haul out the brag book and show screen shots of the new site in a few weeks, as any proud parent would do.
No biography available for this author.