Designing and building an all-new web experience.

When an energy company with national reach came calling, we were definitely intrigued. Not only are they a literal powerhouse in the Midwest region, they are historically good corporate citizens. When it came to their website however, they had several disparate agencies and companies helping them. Unfortunately, the customer experience of the site didn’t match the quality of the internal IT department or the company itself. When they partnered with RIIS, we worked together to reimagine then create a user experience worthy of the brand.

The client is a diversified energy company with more than 10,000 employees involved in the development and management of energy-related businesses and services nationwide. Its operating units include an electric utility serving 2.2 million customers in Southeastern Michigan and a natural gas utility serving 1.3 million customers in Michigan. Their portfolio includes non-utility energy businesses focused on power and industrial projects, natural gas pipelines, gathering and storage.

Mapping the new site’s user journey.

Before designing or building anything, we took a deep dive into the current site. With so many stakeholders involved with the old site, we discovered a large amount of content that was either redundant, not useful or both. Working collaboratively with the client, our designers, developers and UX experts mapped an all-new site that considered every step of the end user experience. Ultimately, we cut up to 60% of the content that proved unnecessary.

The real strength is the connective tissue.

When tackling a project like this, it takes a well-oiled machine to make it as successful as possible. And the real strength of RIIS is that our teams are multi-disciplinary. But, even more than that, they understand their teammates' role as well as their own. Our designers have technical knowledge, our programmers understand design principles and our UX people work seamlessly with the programmers and the rest of the unit. You can call it Total Development. Ultimately, this made it easy to work with the wonderful group of people already on staff, and made it possible to quickly and efficiently create a site that stands out for quality and useability.

Rather than beat the system, we created a new one.

The previous site had a lot of masters. And the results were as expected. Colors, fonts, pages, links and more were all over the place and all were inconsistent. This initially made developing the new site a challenge. The solution was creating a whole new design system. Using Figma, we installed the new design system which allowed for a consistent coding practice for the front end. This new software also made it simple for the internal IT group to reference after we left.

Our staff is your staff.

At RIIS, one of the things we’re known for is how we work with internal IT departments. We always play well with others, and we stay only as long as we’re needed. For this project, we documented everything we did, left them with tangible documents detailing the entire process and instructed the internal team in our methods so they could be successful after we left. Then, the project proved so successful, that some of our staff were asked to stay, and are still on site to this day. If needed, we can stay to help as long as necessary.

Key technologies used.

For this project, the biggest thing to note was the design system created using Figma for digital design and prototyping. To help the entire team work as collaboratively as possible, as well as for planning and organization, we turned to Notion. Additionally, we utilized Slack to speed up the process. Maze further allowed us to get faster turnaround times.

We used HTML and CSS for languages to help build web documents. We used JavaScript for our programming language, turned to React for building UI components and trusted GatsbyJS to follow the latest standards and make the site high performance. Package management was performed with npm, and Netlify was the choice for hosting and backend services.

How did we do it?

Actually, we’re still doing it. The partnership has been fruitful, and some of our staff are still helping. The original project used Scrum and Agile methodologies with daily scrums and two-week sprints until completion.

Key Services Provided:

Agile Methodology

UX/UI Strategy

Web Design

Quality Assurance

Automated Testing

Software Development

Staffing Support

What can we develop for you?