The Rochester Business Journal’s Best of the Web Awards has added three categories this year.
Designer of the Year and Digital Developer of the Year were added to recognize local talent for the integral role they play in helping an organization succeed on the Internet.
The new Best App category acknowledges the widespread use of apps today; many companies are making an investment in apps to reach customers.
The winners are ESL Federal Credit Union, Best App; Brittani Riley, Archer Communications Inc., Designer of the Year; and Jonathan Potter, Dumbwaiter Design LLC, Digital Developer of the Year.
Potter is senior software engineer and one of seven people who work at Dumbwaiter Design, known as Dwaiter Design. The firm has worked with local clients such as Bully Hill Vineyards Inc., Logical Operations Inc. and Klein Steel Service Inc. Dwaiter provides clients with a variety of services including search engine marketing, mobile strategy, user interface design and data strategy.
Potter enjoys working in such a young and dynamic industry.
“It’s definitely an honor,” Potter said. “I was really surprised; I didn’t even know I was nominated. It’s crazy out of all the web developers in Rochester to be picked.”
As a digital developer, the user is constantly in mind, Potter says.
“Things change when it becomes alive versus just a picture,” he said. “It’s fun—I really like (thinking about) how is the user going to feel going through this flow and how are they going to understand what they need to do.”
Brittani Riley, a designer for Archer Communications, got her start at Rochester Institute of Technology. Today her clients are in the medical, landscaping and hospitality industries.
“I get really emotionally invested in every project,” she said. “There’s really no client or industry we would work with that I would find too mundane. I get excited about pretty much anything, and I think it’s important to get on that level with the project.
“It’s hugely creative. It’s always changing—nothing is definite. You’re always researching new technologies and new media and I think it’s really exciting,” she added.
A website is a way for a company to show its character.
“Ultimately from the get-go, my focus is delivering a quality product to the client,” Riley said.
“So I guess that’s how I determine the success rate—whether the product at the end is effective for the client or not, meets their needs (or) meets the needs of their users.
“You want it to be an honest, accurate representation of your company’s values,” she added.
Staying relevant in the website-developing world requires research. The field is constantly in a state of flux.
“As the process goes you definitely have to stay current,” Riley said. “There’s a lot of research involved. I think it’s important to be aware of trends, and you want to leverage those to an extent, but you never want to follow trends blindly. You want to always be innovating and just being aware that one solution for one company may have been successful for them but a different client is a different client entirely. Nothing can really be canned.
“One of the biggest challenges would be really getting into the mindset of the product itself and the users themselves,” she added.
Building a website takes much more than one person’s efforts. The fun part is collaboration, Riley said. “I wouldn’t have been able to do anything without the team that I have at Archer.”
ESL Federal Credit Union has a strong focus on mobile banking. Its app allows users to perform a variety of functions: check account balances, transfer funds, pay bills, deposit checks and locate the nearest ESL branch or ATM.
The ESL app enhances a customer’s banking experience, officials say.
“We wanted an app that is user-friendly and provides top-of-the-line security to ensure that customer information is protected,” said Celeste Kier, ESL vice president and director of customer experience.
The app will continue to evolve with users. For now it offers them multiple options, Kier said.
“The app enables customers to access their accounts 24/7, anywhere, anytime,” she said. “Customers can check balances, deposit checks, view transaction history, transfer funds and pay bills with just a few taps on their Android and Apple devices. A special feature of our app is Touch ID, which enables customers to sign into online banking via the mobile app with a simple push of a button. We continually look to add the features our customers want.”
The recognition tells ESL it is heading in the right direction, officials say.
“It’s an honor to receive this award,” Kier said. “Our customers frequently tell us how much they like our mobile banking app. Receiving this recognition confirms that our app provides value to our customers.”
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