April 12, 2013

Spring 2013 Project Roundup

It's been a wee bit crazy here over the last few months. Our blog has suffered as a result. Carving out time for writing has been tough. We see a faint light at the end of the tunnel now and hope to get back to some helpful Drupal related posts. In the meantime, i thought i'€™d give you a sampling of what we'€™ve been working so hard on the last few months and what we'€™ve got lined up for the next few.

OpenRoad Auto Group - Site revamp and mobile theme


We've been working with OpenRoad on their dealership network sites for more than two years now. To our knowledge it was the first dealership network (11 sites in all) managed through one Drupal 7 install. We are pretty proud of what we accomplished with these sites: Multiple data sources, third party apps & feeds. The site(s) helped win OpenRoad an innovation award in 2012 and we think OpenRoad has become the standard for auto dealership websites in Canada.

Making a better mobile user experience

For the initial build, we were not mandated to provide mobile users with an optimized experience. For the most part, the sites were quite usable, but not ideal for users on the go. As part of a winter initiative, Fuse was brought in to improve the mobile user experience.

Most of our projects now start their lives with responsive web design in mind. As other web shops can attest to, it’s not easy to retrofit an existing site with responsive technology. A mobile-first strategy is usually employed rather than designing a desktop experience and working back through screen sizes. As such, we opted to design a separate theme for mobile users instead of attempting a responsive retrofit. This gave us more freedom with the design, allowing us to focus on users on the go.

Through an audit of available analytics we established that the primary actions of mobile users were: finding a dealer, calling a dealer, checking service status and browsing new and used cars. We focused on quick and easy access to these key areas while providing what we think is much improved mobile experience.

Site revamp

Following the launch and success of the mobile experience, OpenRoad asked us to redesign their desktop/tablet experience. With this redesign, OpenRoad wanted to set themselves apart from the typical car dealership web experience. A modern interface, more engaging and without the clutter.

Thankfully Adnan, our stellar designer is a car enthusiast and spends countless hours dorking out on car related websites. His over-indulgence proved invaluable in the process. He was able to take all his frustrations with typical dealer sites out on this design in translating the OpenRoad brick and mortar dealership experience to the web. We especially love the new car search page and interactive experience on the new car pages. 360 interiors, 360 exteriors, video/image galleries and slick google maps implementation make the online car shopping experience stand out from their competitors. Check it out

Museum of Vancouver - OpenMOV

We’ve been working with the Museum of Vancouver for a couple of years now. We built and maintain their public website as well as the software that manages their Collection. All built on Drupal. The OpenMOV is the museum’s collection management system that we originally launched over a year ago. We were brought on late in 2012 to build enhancements to the system. One of the major goals for the enhancements is to reduce the amount of paperwork and redundant processes the museum has to contend with as they bring in a new object or retire an old one. In museum speak, this is Acquisition, Accession and Deaccession of objects.

The new modules we are working on will reduce admin time and automate many of the currently manual tasks so curatorial staff can spend more time finding cool new stuff for the museum.

You can check out many of the museums objects online over at the OpenMOV.

Modern Dog Magazine


Modern Dog Magazine is arguably the best Dog magazine on the planet. While many magazines and periodicals have shrinking readership, Modern Dog’s readership is growing steadily. They also have a very popular website that complements the magazine. Photo contests, articles, product info, breed profiles, etc. get people coming back to the site for more.

Modern Dog’s old site was...well...old. Running Drupal 5 and Ubercart, it was getting tough to maintain and there were some issues with some of the functionality on the site. Late in 2012 we were approached by Modern Dog Magazine to take over the rebuild of their site on Drupal 7 from another company. We took Modern Dog’s design and a poorly and partially built site and finished the job right. Why not submit your beloved pooch to the photo contest now?

Capital City Centre / Skye


Capital City Centre is a multi-tower development project outside Victoria, BC managed by League Financial Partners. The project is set to become the largest real estate development on Vancouver Island including the Island's tallest towers.

League needed a platform where they could easily launch new sites as each separately branded tower'€™s marketing came online. We partnered with Rally Creative on the project. They did the design and we architected and built the site on the Drupal 7.x framework. Their new system will allow them to quickly deploy new sites for each tower on a single Drupal codebase. We'€™re thrilled to report that the site recently won a 2013 Georgie award for "€œBest Project-Specific Website"€. Check it out

Working on now

Some of the projects we’re excited to be working on right now include:

Simon Fraser Student Society


Originally contracted to provide maintenance on the Student Society'€™s existing Drupal 7 website, we were asked recently to figure out how we could provide separate websites to each of the Society'€™s business units in a cost effective way. The Highland Pub, Out on Campus, SFSS Surrey, Build SFU and the Women'€™s Centre will all get their own websites, managed by their own staff. We'€™re using a single Drupal 7 codebase in order to reduce ongoing maintenance time. Launch of the sites is scheduled for early May this year.


The Lower Mainland's chapter of the International Cinematographers Guild has contracted Fuse to build their new website. This one will be fun. We'€™re integrating with their internal systems to provide a platform for directors, union members and internal staff the ability to access and update their profiles, availability, etc. With a mobile focus, this will be the go-to place for members and directors to find and update essential info while in the field. The first phase of this project is scheduled to launch this Summer.


We were excited that Taymor, designers and manufacturers of door, kitchen & bath hardware, chose Fuse to undertake the redesign/build of their website. Responsive, multilingual, regionalized and hundreds of products and resources make this project a welcomed challenge. We’re well into the interactive wireframes now and we’re excited to get into design. Look for this project to launch early Summer 2013.

Header photo credit to Jonathan Pope