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Case Study
Vera Water and Power

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Vera Water and Power's new site provides quick updates and solid answers.

Founded in 1908, Vera Water and Power supplies water and electricity to 10,000 customers in the Spokane Valley area. After working with Vera on small projects for several years, it was ready to work with us on a completely new vision for

Vera Water and Power

A new Content Management System

Vera had been maintaining a static HTML site for several years. This meant that for every update, staff members had to open HTML files and edit code. While static sites provide excellent performance and flexibility, they are not convenient when content has to be updated often. And since Vera provides water and power to thousands of customers, frequent updates are critical.

By implementing a new content management system, Vera staff are able to provide timely updates (especially for outage events) to the site.

"Design Spike was the most knowledgeable company we talked with about website design, and we trusted them to give us exactly what we asked."

- Christine Roach, Communication Specialist, Vera Water & Power

Planning the site

Before writing code or drafting page layouts, we met with Vera to plan out every aspect of the site's content, called the Discovery Phase. Discovery is crucial as a first step because it defines the crucial features, clarifies key content, reevaluates important features, or removes unnecessary distractions for the final web project.

After a series of meetings, Design Spike developed the information architecture, which determined the structure and content of the new site.

"Updates" feature

The new site features an update system that enables Vera administrators to add news items in a blog-like system. These updates can include images or other media, and admins can choose which items should appear in the featured area of the homepage.

Screenshot of admin area updating news

Vera site administrators can quickly add news items

"Knowledge base" feature

On most days, visitors to are looking for answers to questions like "How can I pay my bill?" or "How do I transfer my service?". This use-case is perfectly solved by the site's new knowledge base. The knowledge base is a special section of the site with a growing collection of articles on specific subjects. It's organized with categories, a "Top Questions" list, and a "Related Questions" feature that appears at the bottom of each article.

To help visitors find the knowledge base, each page on the site can also link to "Related Knowledge Base Articles," which can be managed by an admin.

Knowledge base on the Vera site

The knowledge base provides a central place for customers to find answers

Usability, mobile access, and navigation

Vera's website needed an organized navigation system that would guide visitors to relevant information. On the desktop version of the site, the navigation appears as a traditional and highly polished dropdown system that introduces visitors to site content. On other devices (such as a cell phone or a tablet), a "hamburger menu" quickly displays the full site map.

Sidebar menus are used so that the site's subcategories may be accessed, and a robust footer menu lists tertiary links and contact information. Breadcrumbs, buttons, and links all help to provide redundant forms of navigation and keep the user from getting lost. The site administrator can control all navigation features using a drag-and-drop system.

Navigation features on the Vera site

Visitors have access to multiple forms of familiar navigation (including dropdowns, breadcrumbs, search, and sidebars) to find information

Are you interested in a powerful content managed site?

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“We have always been impressed with Design Spike's attention to detail and working closely with us and our clients while controlling cost and meeting all deadlines.”

- Bill Burke, Burke Marketing Promotions

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Laura Bracken

Laura Bracken
Founder / Principal

Laura is the cheerleader for Design Spike. Since inception, she has been the face of the company and believes that Design Spike delivers the most positive and successful solutions to its clients. She is responsible for company culture and unity.

As the founder and owner of Design Spike, she is responsible for daily operations; oversees proposals, contracts, and customer accounts; and builds relationships and friendships with clients. read more 

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Expert in: Learning new trends

Hobby: Sitting quietly

Oddity: Has only nine toes

Will Hall

Will Hall
Lead Developer

Will has been making websites for over a decade and loves the challenge of staying ahead in our constantly changing industry.

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Expert in: Usability, Best Practices

Signature Spell: Lightning Bolt

Brandon Perdue

Brandon Perdue

Brandon works with clients to provide solutions that transform their business into a leading online player in their respective industries. As a Developer, he is also responsible for making designs sing. And he does. And they do.

Brandon joined the Design Spike in 2008 after graduating from Eastern Washington University where he double majored in Multimedia and Computer Information Systems. By that time, he had already been programming for eight years. He is a major collaborative team player who thinks about the bigger picture and explains possibilities and who manages and focuses on the success of the projects.

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Expert in: PHP, Javascript, and CSS web development; website usability

Hobby: Woodworking, Cooking, and Mixology

Preferred Bartender: Likes to make his own cocktail bitters and liqueurs

Lindsey Wells

Lindsey Wells
Art Director

Our in-house Art Director, disnerd, and potterhead, consistently manages to wow everyone with her design skills. With a little bit of faith, trust, and pixie dust, Lindsey ensures that your dream designs will come true. In her free time, when she’s not clicking away on her creations, Lindsey’s out getting inked up, talking fandoms, or at home curled up with a book.

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Expert in: Branding & Design

Hobby: Photography

Hogwarts House: Ravenclaw

Tracey Cox

Tracey Cox

Tracey is a graduate of Eastern Washington University and holds a BA in HR and Operations Management. After spending most of her career in Higher Education as a Financial Aid Advisor, she has brought her expertise and love of numbers to the Design Spike team.

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Expert in: Balancing the books and being a Grandma

Hobby: Gardening

First Concert: Cheap Trick, REO Speedwagon, Molly Hatchet, Journey, & Black Sabbath

Aaron Perkins

Aaron Perkins
Director of Business Development

Aaron has worked at T Mobile, New Horizons, and Whole Foods. Among those companies he has served in operations management, has multi-tasked between sales and customer service, and has gained strong leadership and networking skills. Aaron says he’s good at juggling. We’re hoping that means projects and not flaming bowling pins.

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Expert in: Sales

Hobby: Video game collecting

Any Relation? No, my family does not own the Perkins’ chain of restaurants.