Creating Websites for Change

Skills Inc aerospace manufacturing website
nonprofit aerospace manufacturing website

Client: Skills Inc.

Scope of Work:
Front-end web development, Performance optimization, Rebranding, Security hardening, Visual redesign, WCAG 2.0 Accessibility

Team: Scott Marlow, Charles Cotugno Photography, Tami Vileta

The Challenge

Skills Inc. is one of the region’s largest non-profit employers for persons with disabilities. One of the most respected aerospace manufacturers in Puget Sound. They are unique in their approach to diversity, inclusion, and leadership – adhering to two bottom lines: social and enterprise. Showing their diverse workforce in action as their competitive advantage informs all the brand work, including the website, designed by Pinpoint Strategic Communications.

BenchmarksNew Site
Visitors23%
Average Visit Duration56%
Pages Per Visit23% increase
Web Page Size353 Kb
Web Server Requests 29

When we decided to take our website to the next level we turned to Marketing by Marlow. We use a very collaborative approach which includes our outside consultants, suppliers and vendors. Scott’s style of management and design meshes well with our team.

He brings a high level of expertise, competence and energy to the table while simultaneously listening to others. This is key to the conceptualization of any design and implementation process. He stays current with trends and technology.

Above all Scott is super easy to work with and he produces results. We think of Marketing by Marlow as an extension of our marketing and branding activity. We definitely think of Scott as a member of the Skills Inc. family.
Cheryl Roe, Director of Programs, Development & Marketing, Skills Inc.

A WordPress Solution for Every Situation

screenshot senior care website

Visual Design by Emeritus Corporation
Project Management by FUSE IQ
Backend Development by Hipster Creative
Mobile Responsive WordPress Theme Development by Scott Marlow

A microsite for a corporate client to educate and communicate with seniors about living and care options.

A font-resizer and high contrast toggle help low-vision seniors, while the online chat link is visible only during operational chat hours to avoid confusion and frustration. An online form also makes it easy for visitors with only webmail to make contact.

Making WordPress Accessible

screenshot of International Association of Accessibility Professionals

WordPress Accessible Theme Development: Scott Marlow

The mission of the International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP) is to define, promote and improve the accessibility profession through networking, education and certification in order to enable the creation of accessible products, content and services.

Automattic routinely makes accessibility improvements to WordPress software and its default-installed themes, like TwentyEleven and TwentyTwelve – two of my preferred mobile responsive, parent themes. Browser makers and the W3C also make routine improvements.

For example, W3C recently deprecated the “hgroup” tag that allowed multiple h1/h2 headers in site mastheads – this created semantic issues for site visitors using Assistive Technology devices.

It’s highly unlikely for any theme to be 100% accessible, but there are improvements that can be made. Here’s an abbreviated list of accessibility features that we integrated into IAAP’s TwentyTwelve child theme:

  • removed auto-hyphenation
  • reduced main line width to 80 characters
  • added 2 visual identifiers to link hover state
  • increased all text color to minimum hex value of #666666
  • removed title attributes from all links
  • removed target attribute (opening new windows/tabs) from all links
  • added Post Title to ‘read more/continue reading links’
  • properly marked up Posts on the post page as H2s, instead of H1s

Additional usability improvements for low-vision site visitors included:

  • convenient font-resizer
  • high-contrast toggle button
  • high-contrast reverse link hover state
  • a “visual change” to links that exceeds a 4.6 to 1 contract and an additional visual marker (an underline) to insure a proper visual difference for the visually disabled to actually see links

Joe Dolson’s WP Accessibility Plugin is a convenient tool to improve accessibility for many themes.

HTML to WordPress CMS Conversion

screenshot Hearing Loss Association of Washington

WordPress CMS Development: Scott Marlow

My latest nonprofit website conversion for the Hearing Loss Association of Washington.

HLA needed to migrate their award-winning design from a static HTML site to an easy-to-edit Content Management System. Following the existing branding elements, I converted the design into a mobile responsive website that can now be easily edited by the nonprofit’s volunteers.