Last fall after the Umpqua Community College shooting in Southern Oregon, I decided that my donations and support for Everytown weren’t enough. I wanted to do more. And I wanted to do something local.
I did some research and discovered a wonderful advocacy group called Ceasefire Oregon. They seemed to be both passionate about sensible gun legislation and also wonky which appealed to me.
Ceasefire Oregon is the best resource on local legislation. Unfortunately, the website was difficult to read and navigate.
So we offered to help redesign Ceasefire Oregon on a pro-bono basis. And I’m pleased to announce that the new Ceasefire Oregon site has launched.
In addition to the opportunity to contribute to a great cause, we found several pieces of the project interesting from a technical and design perspective.
The first challenge was finding a way to convey what Ceasefire Oregon does in a logo. The old logo was a riff on a shooting range target which seemed less than ideal for a gun violence prevention group.
We talked to Ceasefire Oregon about their goals and what they wanted to convey:
- Change is possible
- Moving ahead
- New future
We collaborated with Ceasefire Oregon on mood boards to get closer to the brand. And then we began working on logo ideas.
Aileen designed an origami-like dove that captured everyone’s imagination. It became the centerpiece of the new design.
Once the dove was approved, Aileen began work on variations of the logo. We wanted to support both horizontal and vertical logos as well as different versions for the three different Ceasefire Oregon organizations.
After we had the high-level brand details sorted out, we moved immediately into building a pattern library.
I want to highlight a couple of things in the pattern library.
First, because of the three different sites and their color schemes, there is a pull down menu in the upper left that allows you to switch which colors are being used. This is most noticeable when looking at buttons, blocks, and navigation.
Second, during development, our pattern libraries rarely follow a completely linear progression from smallest components to larger ones. You can see evidence of this in the sandbox where we experimented with designs.
For many of our recent projects, our clients had well-established content management or ecommerce systems. This has meant that we were able to keep all of our development front-end and exclusively used local development tools.
Ceasefire Oregon needed a new content management system. The old site was running on Drupal 6 which has been discontinued. We decided to move them to WordPress.
We wanted to find a way to continue to work on our own local machines while doing work on a content management system. We ended up running vagrant installs of WordPress.
I also want to give a hearty endorsement to WordPress Migrate DB Pro. We lost a lot of time trying to get open source database syncing solutions to work. I wish we’d bought the plugin earlier.
One of the thornier challenges we ran into was figuring out how to tie the output of the Ceasefire Oregon Pattern Library to the WordPress theme that we were developing.
We ended up with a solution that worked pretty well. The gulp process for the pattern library also created a compressed CSS file that was aliased into the Vagrant environment in the theme directory. Whenever we made changes to the pattern library, they were automatically reflected in our theme.
The biggest downside to this approach was that the repository was a mixture of pattern library and theme code. But this combination sped up our design and development so much that it was worth it.
We spent time working with Ceasefire Oregon on their content strategy. We’ve done a little bit of this in the past, but this was the first time we’ve run workshops with clients discussing content. It is clear that the new site benefits from this work.
I’m particularly proud of how Sara and Gerardo mapped the content into WordPress content types. The new legislation section makes it easy for Ceasefire Oregon to keep track of new and old bills. I expect it to become the canonical source of gun safety legislation relevant to Oregon.
This article is inadequate for describing all of the hard work that went into this project by everyone on the Cloud Four team. I’m incredibly proud and grateful for everyone’s contributions. It means a great deal to me.
And I hope we get a chance to write in more detail about the way the site was built in the future.
We’re tremendously grateful and humbled by the work that Penny Okamoto, Joanne Skirving and the rest of the volunteers at Ceasefire Oregon do. If you feel strongly about sensible gun legislation, they deserve your support.
We’re honored to have had the opportunity to work with them and to contribute our small part towards helping make our community safer.