Armadillo Studios Inc.

Welcoming RNBC To The Armadillo Family

2010 is gearing up to be an exciting year for Armadillo Studios.

We are already into the second month of twenty-ten and we’ve launched three new web sites, with even more projects on the docket. The second of these new web sites is the new home of the “The Resource Network Breakfast Club of Calgary”:http://www.rnbccalgary.com.

Dating back to 1989, the Resource Network Breakfast Club has been formally meeting every Friday morning as a vehicle for local businesses to share connections and potential clients. This is the group’s first major foray into the web and into the realm of social media and we were more than happy to lend a hand. With that in mind, we set about building an online identity that reflected the club’s main goal of building connections.

We built a simple and easy to navigate web site, with a design that leverages soft colours and the iconic image of the blank business card; a design concept that represents the potential connections available for businesses joining the group’s illustrious roster.

By utilizing the WordPRess CMS we were able to incorporate a new posting system for the group. RNBC can now update potential members on the club’s latest events or the new category of businesses they are looking to add to their roster. We also incorporated an easy to navigate business directory, which showcases the diverse group of companies associated with the group. We also leveraged our experience with integrating Social Media networks directly into our sites, by “incorporating their new Twitter account”:http://www.twitter.com/rnbcbreakfast into the body of the web site.

We are very pleased to have worked with RNBC over the past little while to help them promote their breakfast club. And we welcome them to the family of Armadillo web sites.

The Revamped U of A Ski Club

_Ah! University. Sweet, sweet memories of University_.

The Armadillo Team have some fine memories of our days in University and our time with the University of Calgary’s Ski Club. Many of these memories are fairly blurry, but they are rather fond one.

So when the U of Calgary’s sister club, The “University of Alberta’s Ski Club”:http://www.uofaskiclub.ca, came to Armadillo Studios with a predicament we were more than happy to help. (Plus, “we’d already gave their southern cousins a little bit of a makeover earlier this year”:http://www.uofcskiclub.com/)

First and foremost, the new “U of A Ski Club Web Site”:http://www.uofaskiclub.ca is not an original Armadillo design; rather we’ve dramatically upgraded the structure and the skeleton of what they were left with.

The U of A Ski Club had a web site built by a third party, but was never given the information on how to update it or maintain it. Instead they were left with a static web site with no real CMS and no way of communicating with their beloved membership. This is unfortunately a common predicament in our industry and many clients in this situation approach us. So in came Armadillo to save the day.

Using the key elements of the original design to the site’s keep continuity, we rebuilt the web site using the WordPress Management system and even incorporated a few key design elements that were missing from the original site. Including links to Social Media elements, ShareThis Functionality, a Contact Us form and even a large beefy footer for simple navigation.

Over the next couple of weeks we’ll be working with the U of A to further improve their web site and improve their web site’s usability. But more importantly, we hope the new site will help them get more involved with the student body and creating more fond memories for others.

Eco Living Inc. Launches

Armadillo Studios and Eco Living Inc are proud to launch “www.ecolivinginc.ca”:http://www.ecolivinginc.ca – the online home of Calgary’s newest Developer of Multi-Family homes.

Earliet this year the owners of Eco Living contacted Armadillo to help develop a brand new web site site, one which would be easy to update, accessible on mobile apps and would allow them to showcase the different elements of their business model. The main goal of the new Eco Living Inc site was to develop a contemporary HTML/CSS based web site that stood out against the local competition, through simplicity and ease of us.

Leveraging Eco Living’s existing branding development, Armadillo constructed a WordPress powered site built on a simple and intuitive layout design. The color scheme reflects the earth-tone nature of the company’s logo and their commitment to _Eco Logic_ developments. In addition, we also incorporated a simple photo sideshow in the sidebar, which will allow the Eco Living team to update their web site with photos of their latest products once they become available.

We are proud to launch this new site and look forward to seeing Eco Living’s business grow.

The yycPhotobook Launches

It is with big grins that we are proud and extremely pleased to announce the first copies of the “yycPhotobook”:http://www.yycphotobook.com have been published.

As mentioned in a “previous article”:http://blog.armadillostudios.ca/article/yycphotobookcom, Armadillo has been honored to team up with Duncan Kinney (of “yycBlogs”:http://www.yycblogs.com) to design and construct the yycPhotobook. And now that the book is completed, we are even more excited for the upcoming launch party on Sept 18th.

In regards to the actual design process for the book, the yycPhotobook team started by selecting a diverse collection of unique and engaging photos from a group of Calgary photographers. Next, we brainstormed a layout and order that would maximize the impact of each photo. We then assembled the basic skeleton of the book in InDesign using the easy to use templates supplied by”Blurb.com”:http://www.blurb.com. Keeping with the theme of the original web site; The yycPhotobook design utilizes the same crisp aesthetics associated with the minimalist web site. Each photograph in the book is given it’s own page with the author’s accompanying avatar and a short 140 character description of the work. In combination, this ultimately created a unique 40-page book that encompasses Calgary’s distinctive identity.

As mentioned, the yycPhotobook launch party is on *Sept. 18 at Venturion* (214 11th Ave. SE). There will be beer and wine for sale at reasonable prices and some light refreshments. You’ll be able to meet the contributing photographers and get a sneak peek of the book. The book will also be made available to the public through yycPhotobook.com and Blurb.com, on the day of the party.

The Cookingwithfire.com Redesign & Recipe E-Books

The average lifespan for a web site design is roughly 1.5 to 2 years. Due to which, we have seen a bit of an influx of returning clients looking for touch-ups to their site. One such client was Linda Matthie of
of “Cookingwithfire.com”:http://www.cookingwithfire.com.

As one of the original roster of web sites launched during Armadillo’s inaugural year, the first cookingwithfire web site was built as a fairly straight-forward promotional site designed to showcase the company’s line of Mexican inspired cookbooks. It was one of our first web sites built with an integrated corporate newsletter and it was the first e-commerce site we built to use the “e-junkie commerce engine”:http://www.e-junkie.com/?r=5350.

Now, queue the redesign.

The new Cookingwith Fire Redesign has shifted the focus of away from a promotional site complimented by a small online market place, into a fully functional e-commerce web site.

By shifting the navigation from the left-hand side of the site to the top, key navigational information is now located in a more intuitive area. In addition, we have removed some of the unnecessary sidebar content and populated it with direct links to the site’s popular “newsletter articles”:http://www.cookingwithfire.com/bite-your-tongue-when-sharing-these-hot-sauce-tips/, the “existing hardcover product line”:http://www.cookingwithfire.com/the-fire-n-ice-cookbook/ and the “new E-Book Recipe line-up”:http://www.cookingwithfire.com/the-cooking-with-fire-product-line/.

The second aspect of the redesign was to improve the e-commerce interface to coincide with the release of 11 new “Recipe E-Books”:http://www.cookingwithfire.com/the-cooking-with-fire-product-line/. Using the upgraded *E-junkie* platform we were able to enhance the overal shopping experience, keeping users contained within the cookingwithfire environment and the removing the hassle of additional windows. We have also created easy to find *View Cart* buttons on each page and simple links to the iniduval product desctiptions.

We have been honoured to work with Linda and her popular Cookingwithfire brand for the second time in our short history. We’re currently working on implementing a new newsletter service for the next round of e-book recipes, in the hopes of enhancing the web sites reach and awareness.

Seenster Alpha Goes Live

Two weeks ago, the Armadillo Team made the hour trek up to great wilderness of Banff for the latest rendition of “DemoCamp Calgary”:http://barcampcalgary.com/2009/06/03/democampbanff-in-two-days/ at the “nextMedia conference”:http://www.nextmediaevents.com/banff/. The team was up there to support Cameron Rout and the live alpha demo of the “seenster.net”:http://www.seenster.net project.

As the about page describes; *seenster.net* is for independent musicians who bootstrap their efforts on their own dime, the Prolific Compilation Card is a recommendation tool that gives artists the opportunity to get paid for recommending music in real life, at their gigs. *Unlike Last.fm, iTunes, and Myspace our product brings the social music network into Real Life to sell recommendations as a tangible commodity*.

The Armadillo team was proud to help Cameron with design tweaks and some back-end modification to get the product into a live state. In the future we’ll be working together to really enhance the product and get out of the dreaded Alpha state and into the more sensual Beta state.

If you are curious about the project or would like to get involved either follow the “team on twitter”:http://www.twitter.com/seensters or email Cameron directly at “cameronrout@seenster.net”:mailto:cameronrout@seenster.net.

Dynasty Auto Glass Goes Live!

Late last year, the new owners of Dynasty Auto Glass approached Armadillo Studios to develop a new web site for the long standing Calgary icon. They wanted to create a unique online identity, which separated them from their competitors and also embraced their long standing independent status within the community.

So today we are happy to add “Dynasty-autoglass.com”:http://www.dynasty-autoglass.com to the growing list of Armadillo Studio Web sites.

Combining Dynasty’s established branding, Armadillo Studios has developed a unique and bold layout for their new web site. The new web site embraces a retro feel by utilizing fonts that mimic a vintage local dealership and by incorporating Polaroid templates to showcase images of the shop. As an added bonus the design also utilizes Veer’s fantastic “Calgary Script”:http://www.veer.com/products/typedetail.aspx?image=UMT0000326 to give a subtle nod to the local community.

Design wise, the site embraces a simple navigation with an enhanced sidebar, which links directly to the “company’s services”:http://www.dynasty-autoglass.com/dynasty-services/#ag and it’s location on Google maps. We have also moved the layout away from the stereotypical boxy feel, associated with most of their competitor’s web sites, to a rounded aesthetic.

And as an added bonus, Dynasty Auto Glass is offering a *$10 discount on Windshield Replacement* to celebrate the launch. (See the new site for more details)

Now that’s a win-win.