Covid-19 Shutdown Changes Trajectory for Two Websites Essential to the Wellbeing of Washington Businesses

Content Strategy Data Science Development WordPress
Angie Carson

The project for the Association of Washington Business (AWB) was in full-swing when Covid-19 prompted a statewide shutdown and shelter-in-place order. In fact, our design and development teams were in the middle of working on not one, but two websites to connect people with resources from the AWB and the AWB Institute when the pandemic changed our team’s daily status to WFH and prompted shifts for both projects. 

The AWB’s mission is to be “the catalytic leader and unifying voice for economic prosperity throughout Washington state.” Nearly 7,000 members represent 700,000 employees in Washington. In March 2020, as uncertainty loomed, the AWB remained steadfast in its mission and turned its attention to providing local businesses with the information and resources they need to rebound and recover from extended closures. 

New Purpose for Data Visualization Project

The AWB Institute supports Washington employers by focusing on human resource and employment issues and advocating for public policy positions at the state and federal levels. 

The vision for the AWB Institute’s new website, nearly three years in the making, integrated economic data provided by Eastern Washington University and messaging crafted by our friends at the public relations agency Desautel Hege. 

The strategy at the start of the project promoted economic prosperity but as headlines and news stories frequently included phrases such as “unprecedented times” and conveyed an uncertain urgency with “now more than ever,” the project focus shifted to presenting data indicators that told the story of recovery and provided information to help businesses and local governments identify areas of opportunity and improvement. 

Data indicators and the website design changed, too. Our team focused on immediate indicators to show a snapshot of economic health and updated these with a frequency that matched the pace of pandemic changes. These data indicators supported the Institute’s pillars and include rapidly changing numbers including unemployment rates and retail sales.

All of these economic vitals are presented in a single dashboard on the AWB Institute’s website so users can easily engage with the numbers that tell the story of growth and recovery in our state. Curious how we pulled all the data and organized it?  We’ll have a case study about the AWB Institute up soon. 

View the AWB Institute’s website.

Connecting Business Owners with Personal Protective Equipment

In the midst of finalizing developing, the AWB communications team faced another challenge; ensuring COVID-specific content was prioritized on their existing website. Additionally, the team needed to connect Washington State manufacturers with business owners who need personal protective equipment (PPE) to safely reopen their business and protect their workers.

Our solution? Pause work on the main website and quickly build a new website, using design elements from the redesign, with custom forms and instant search results.

Business owners use the request form by selecting which types of PPE they need and order quantities. They can instantly view results with manufacturers that match their requests. We also built an automated custom form for manufacturers to be added to the database.

The form has more than 4,000 PPE requests and has helped 676 WA businesses reopen. The Rebound and Recovery website also provides resources like posters, floor stickers, even social media content as templates that local businesses can use to communicate with customers when they reopen.

View the AWB Rebound and Recovery website

SiteCrafting and the AWB have enjoyed a long partnership. In the midst of redesigning two websites during a pandemic, we have found innovative ways to adapt in order to create ways to connect our communities with valuable information they need and support our state’s economy.