I like to tell a story about how when I launched my first website in 1995 that it was front page news in what was then known as the Kitchener-Waterloo Record. It also merited a photo and short story in Maclean’s magazine. The website was for John English who was the Member of Parliament for Kitchener at the time. It was the first by an elected federal or provincial politician in Ontario and only the second by an MP across Canada. At that time, embracing this new technology to inform constituents and listen to them was considered news.
Amazing eh? Launching a website today doesn’t draw that kind of attention.
Yet today’s post is about the launch of a website. But it is deserving of some attention. Part of the reason why is that it is the first website created by Communicate & Howe! We’re thrilled to have an example of how we can create cost-effective websites for organizations that need to upgrade or are looking to create their home base on the Internet.
Now online: Brant Haldimand Norfolk Community Legal Clinic
The website is also special because it is the very first website for the Community Legal Clinic serving Brant, Haldimand and Norfolk counties.
The clinic has been able to effectively serve its communities without a website. Clients found them easily enough by referrals from other agencies and former clients.
They engaged Communicate & Howe! because they knew that James Howe had expertise in websites for nonprofits. Their clinic was part of a group of ten community legal clinics that had me guide them through the process of determining their website needs and recommended a collaborative solution of 11 separate websites with a common back-end that allowed some content like blog posts to be shared. The process resulted in developing and issuing an RFP for the group and ultimately attracted the interest of other clinics across Ontario.
As the project grew, the Brant Haldimand Norfolk Community Legal Clinic realized that the time had come to move beyond their traditional forms of communicating about themselves and that a website was now a basic tool to help and inform people. They felt it important to have a website now before the larger project took shape. They knew that they had plenty of information they could share with people online. They also wanted an online resource so that other community agencies would be able to easily confirm how they could help people.
The website I created for them is based upon the wireframes that I developed for the collaborative clinic website. It strives to quickly put legal information into hands of the lower income people that clinics normally serve but also those with higher incomes but are looking for a trusted local source for information. At the same time, it is a website that is firmly rooted in the communities that it serves by ensuring that information included is relevant to the people living in them.
The website uses the same set of solutions that I used for updating my website in the summer–a self-hosted WordPress website with a great deal of customization thanks to the Headway theme.
Website features new visual identity
Communicate & Howe! also developed a new visual identity for the clinic.
The logo emphasizes the service provided by the clinic while clearly showing the communities that it serves. The icon shows slightly abstract hands grasping each other to show how people help and support each other though the work of the clinic. People get assistance to address the legal issues that they face. Even if they may not get the desired result, people appreciate that the clinic has helped them to make their voice heard.