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Recommendations for web design firm to upgrade existing website to responsive design

We are seeking recommendations for a firm to work with us to create a responsive version of our website.

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Hi Jon,

Please post more deets for the best advice: I see that your site is at http://www.ycp.edu/ and you list a proprietary CMS, Terminalfour (http://www.terminalfour.com/). Are you sticking with your CMS, or considering a switch? Any significant new features being added? Any other requirements that would help us make good recommendations for design and development.

As a follow-up, if you are looking for a full rethink of your site that addresses strategy as well as design and development, Converge (http://www.convergeconsulting.org/) is an excellent agency to work with.

However if your project is specifically technical, without a strategy and design component, you are probably looking for a technology-specific development team instead. In that case you'll need to consider your CMS choice before you pick a team.

If you are planning to stick with your current CMS, you'll want a development team with experience in that specific technology. If you plan to switch, you'll need deep experience with your next CMS platform.

Have you made a decision on strategic vs. technical, or switch vs.stay, or is that still under analysis?

Hi Daniel,

Thanks for getting back quickly.  I appreciate your input. At this time, we need first a technical upgrade to make as much of our existing content responsive.  A couple of vendors have mentioned taking a framework "cms agnostic" approach.  We will not move from our current cms which is Terminalfour.  

The next phase will likely involve some visual redesigns and probably some strategic changes as well.  We have a new committee forming, so we will find out not too long from now.

Have you worked with Converge before?  It's not encouraging to see character encoding "typos" on some of their main pages http://www.convergeconsulting.org/about-us/ http://www.convergeconsulting.org/our-team/.  How would you characterize their team?

Best regards,

Jon

Hi Jon,

In my view Converge focuses on design and marketing for higher ed more than on tech. We are currently working with them on a brand refresh, and I think they are very good in that kind of creative space. The firm that I believe Converge 'diverged' from, Stamats (http://www.stamats.com/) is also very big in the design/marketing end of things, and was responsible for our web site redesign back in 2010, using some  early responsive design techniques. It seems to me that both firms are well worth checking out when you decide to look at a new design cycle.

The idea of CMS agnostic responsive design is an interesting one to me... depending on the structures generated by your CMS, I can see that media queries and CSS could address some of your responsive requirements, but it also seems to me that working within the CMS templates will almost certainly be required, or at least very, very helpful. If Terminalfour gives you or your selected agrency access to both HTML rendering templates and CSS, then you have all the control you need... but that would not be CMS agnostic then, but more along the lines of 'CMS DIY templating'. Unless Terminalfour has committed to implementing the responsive design your agency comes up with for you? In that case you probably have smooth sailing ahead!

As an opinionated aside: I think proprietary CMSs need to be proactively approaching their clients and offering free or discounted responsive template upgrades if they are going to remain relevant and maintain any market share at all. The competition from consultant-supported open source alternatives is only growing stronger. I expect that only the most nimble and proactive of the proprietary CMS offerings will survive beyond the next few years. Most will become legacy products... though some might morph into hosted cloud services and gain a new lease on life that way.

Hi Daniel,

Thanks for your thoughtful comments.  I will look into these firms.  Just for info, we do have complete access to css, html, etc. with Terminalfour.

Have a great day.

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