The Design Exchange (DX) is Canada’s only museum dedicated exclusively to the pursuit of design excellence and preservation of design heritage. At a crossroads of multiple disciplines from furniture and architecture to graphics and fashion, DX exhibitions and talks reflect popular contemporary culture. Located in downtown Toronto in the historic and original Toronto Stock Exchange building, the DX annually attracts thousands of visitors of all ages.
Designers can be a tough crowd. I know because I studied Architecture and later Graphic Design myself, and I can still recall the trepidation I suffered when I had to submit my own creative work to the scrutiny of my teachers and peers. A Your Web Department client since 2008, the Design Exchange website was long due for a redesign. So I was glad and proud they chose us again, and amazed to see what YWD can do in the hands of a talented graphic designer such as Lisa Zych from the DX.
Establishing a visual nomenclature
The DX website has hundreds of pages ranging from exhibitions, events, their collection etc. to more static information such as its mandate, history, board of directors and membership. In order to solve the classic tension between form and function inherent to an information-intensive website, DX’s designer Lisa Zych came up with an interface that’s easy to navigate, while at the same time very appealing visually.
By having fun – in a “respectful” and elegant manner – with the DX logo throughout the various sections, the structure becomes organized. The grid is consistent but not excessively rigid, and the colour scheme is vivid and contemporary.
The days of resorting to silly Flash animation to create visual interest are long – and deservedly – gone. By playing with colour, balance, type and the other “weapons” present in a good designer’s arsenal, Lisa was able to create a website that’s modern, 100% search-engine friendly, extremely legible, clean and elegant.
Designer: would you rather design or code?
The entire DX website does not contain a single line of code that had to be entered by the client. Although Lisa does certainly know her HTML/CSS etc. it was not necessary for her to do programming. All the style results from settings entered in YWD Designer and dynamic components such as online forms were created and are maintained through YWD’s own CMS (Content Management System).
This gives designers, editors, stakeholders and ultimately business owners tremendous flexibility as they don’t have to rely on programmers or developers in order to build or update their websites.
The mobile website looks great too
In addition to the computer/tablet website, Lisa created a nifty mobile version. In YWD the same domain is used, with obvious SEO benefits. YWD also takes care of automatically directing the visitors to the appropriate device, resizing assets responsively, etc. And the client can define which sections of the website (and in fact even content blocks within the page) are to be displayed on computers, mobile or both.
Not only that but many design elements of the mobile design can be easily customized and more options are constantly being added, resulting in a mobile experience that’s both rich and fast for visitors.
Happy to make designers happy
In the words of Lisa Zych, the graphic designer in charge of the DX website redesign:
“Redesigning the DX website in YWD was a breeze! I'm used to writing all of my own code and playing a game of trial and error when I design websites – fun, but tedious. Flavio and his team took away the tedium and made our redesign fun and fast! Whenever I ran into a problem, speedy YWD support was there to give me a hand within the hour. Talk about service! Thanks, guys!”
This and other statements from designers in Canada, the US and all over the world mean a lot to us here at Your Web Department. And the feedback, suggestions and ideas we receive from them help us tremendously in shaping up the product so we can keep offering the best website solution for both businesses and designers.