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The Whole Picture

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					                   The Whole Picture
 Maine’s DECD gains an online presence that effectively reflects the state:
             energetic, aesthetic, and open for business.


Maine’s Department of Economic and Community Development
(DECD) has a mission to ‘improve the quality of life for all Maine
people through effective programs in business, tourism, community
development and through policies that advance the state’s position
in the global economy’. It is a well-rounded mandate, and one
DECD must fulfill in a diverse environment—of renowned
natural beauty, thriving tourism, a healthy business economy, and
a population with a strong sense of community and a sought-after
quality of life.

In marketing these strengths, DECD had, over the years, created an
array of first-generation websites, all of which differed from one another,
and which had begun to look dated. In addition, users were demanding
an increased level of service and interaction that the sites couldn’t
provide.

DECD faced a significant challenge when it decided to update its online
look, and create one that would effectively meet current service
demands, as well as represent the varying social and economic
dynamics of the state.

“While we wanted to remain true to the state and its more traditional
imagery, we also wanted to present the whole picture,” says Elaine
Scott, Marketing Manager at DECD’s Office of Business Development.
“We wanted to communicate the economic energy and technological
sophistication that Maine offers—in addition to its community and
lifestyle. It’s all of these factors combined, after all, that make Maine
what it is: a good place to do business, to visit, and to live.”
                                      Scott feels DECD’s new online            xwave’s relationship with DECD
                                      look and feel—established                dates back several years.
                                      incrementally through three new
                                                                               “I’m proud of the partnership
                                      websites—achieves these
                                                                               we’ve built with DECD,” says
                                      objectives. A blend of artful
                                                                               Jason Spooner, a web designer at
                                      design, minimal text, and an
                                      overall intuitive interface, the sites   xwave who helped create the new
                                      are not only easy to navigate but        sites. “We have a good give and
                                      are also aesthetically pleasing.         take with the client—and that kind
                                      Images and interactive elements          of rapport is fundamental to
                                      are enticing, but never intrusive;       delivering a website that fulfills the
                                      visitors are able to reach a final       client’s needs.”
                                      destination with relatively few          Equally important, acknowledges
                                      clicks and minimal scrolling.            Spooner, is expertise. “In my
                                      “We’re particularly pleased with         experience,” he says, “A successful
                                      the dissolving Flash banner at the       website is one that blends
                                      top of our home page,” says Scott,       aesthetics with usability: it enables
                                      referring specifically to DECD’s         people to quickly get where they
                                      central site,                            want to go, but do so enjoyably.”
                                      www.econdevmaine.com. “The               Spooner points to Maine Made—
                                      variety of the images (each              the first site designed for
                                      representing a different DECD            DECD—as an example. “It’s
                                      office) and the fact that they’re        enticing and pleasing to look at,
                                      constantly changing help convey          yet it’s a highly functional
                                      the sense of diversity and energy        directory of vendors from across
                                      that characterize Maine.”                the state.”
“We wanted to                         Along with current news and              As Spooner explains, artisans and
communicate the economic              official information such as the         manufacturers use
                                      Governor’s message,                      Mainemade.com to—among other
energy and technological              econdevmaine.com contains links          things—display products online,
                                      to the sites for the individual          register for special events, and
sophistication that Maine             DECD offices: Business                   provide links to their own
offers—in addition to its             Development; Community                   websites. And while site visitors
                                      Development; Film; Innovation            can choose to locate items directly
community and lifestyle.”             and Science; International Trade;        through a list of categories, they
                                      the Maine Products Marketing             can also visit the Online Open
Elaine Scott, Marketing Manager,      Program; and Tourism.                    House: there, they interactively
DECD Office of Business Development
                                      The site was designed by                 browse through full-screen room
                                      xwave—as was two of the other            interiors; different items in the
                                      six: www.mainebiz.org (Business          room pulse as the cursor moves
                                      Development), and                        over them. When the visitor clicks
                                      www.mainemade.com (Maine                 on an item, a profile of that
                                      Products Marketing Program).             particular vendor appears.
For vendors, there is a special
section that provides helpful
resources: marketing tips, for
example, an e-newsletter, and the
ability to download logos. This
section, says Jason Spooner, has
been particularly well-received.
For wholesalers, meanwhile,
there’s a section called Wholesale
Central: it indicates those vendors
who offer products wholesale or
in bulk.                                                                        www.mainemade.com
                                       “At least once a year, we sit down
Maine Made is one of the first
                                       with DECD to discuss how things
dynamic websites of its kind to be
                                       are going, and how we might
maintained by a system
                                       improve them,” says Jason               “A successful website is
administrator. The fact that it is
                                       Spooner. “In talking about the
database-driven enables it to                                                  one that blends
                                       second website, they wanted the
support a self-populated directory
                                       same level of quality and attention
to which vendors subscribe, and                                                aesthetics with
                                       to detail that was displayed on the
which they update themselves.
                                       Maine Made site, extended into          usability: it enables
They do so through a web-
                                       Mainebiz.”
publishing tool, which they access                                             people to quickly get
using a combined ID and                Mainebiz.org clearly carries the
password.                              brand, but focuses a little less on     where they want to go,
                                       aesthetics and more on function: it     but do so enjoyably.”
“Self-service is key for a site like
                                       is the site companies and investors
this,” says Jason Spooner. “When
                                       visit to find all the key information   Jason Spooner, web designer,
the content owners control the
                                       they need to set up and do              xwave
content, it remains up to date and
                                       business in Maine—forms,
accurate.” He adds, “You could
                                       publications, economic stats,
think of it as an online
                                       assistance programs.
cooperative—a form of entry-level
e-commerce that is simple to use,      “While this is a highly content-
but highly effective.                  driven site,” says Spooner, “we
                                       felt it should still be pleasing to
Pleased with the results of Maine
                                       look at and, in particular, should
Made, DECD wanted to carry the
                                       be simple to use—it should
look into other web channels.
                                       organize all the various sources of
When the Department decided to
                                       information and make them easy
develop a new website for the
                                       to get at.”
Office of Business Development,
it once again turned to xwave.
Case Study

             Elaine Scott feels the site does     Contact us
             exactly that. “There’s a lot of      xwave is a business solutions
             information in this site—            provider with 1500 professionals
             because there has to be,” she        in locations across North
             says. “But the screens are easy to   America.
             scan; you’re able to figure out
                                                  xwave has three service lines:
             pretty quickly where you need to
                                                  Integration, Infrastructure and
             go to get what you need.”
                                                  Fulfillment solutions. These
             With the new design of Maine         areas offer clients a broad
             Made, Mainebiz, and the central      delivery capability: xwave plans,
             DECD site, the Department has        designs, builds and operates IT
             a strong, unified, identifiable      solutions that span both
             brand that can be extended both      corporate and operational
             on- and off-line. And while there    systems and fulfills all
             are still several DECD sites that    infrastructure needs.
             have yet to be updated, the hope
             is that eventually, they will be.    For more information:
                                                  Visit our web site at
             “Our new online presence             www.xwave.com
             positions us perfectly—it puts us    Call toll free 1-877-449-9283
             exactly where we want to be,”        Email us at
             says Elaine Scott. “It               solutions@xwave.com
             encompasses all the facets that
             make up the state—and does so        Or visit your local xwave office
             professionally and progressively.    in the United States or Canada.
             And it’s worth noting,” she
             adds, “that from a project-
             management perspective, the
             development of these sites was
             as easy as it could possibly be.
             The xwave team was organized
             and proactive and, though highly
             detailed-driven, delivered
             everything on time and on-
             budget.”

				
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