Custom web design and WordPress development for Canada’s premier awards – The JUNOS.
The history of the JUNO Awards began with the creation of the RPM Gold Leaf Awards in 1964 to honour Canadian musicians from coast-to-coast. Rebranded decades later as The JUNOS, the awards have served as a platform to recognize Canada’s most talented musicians and recording artists, as well as a celebration of Canadian culture and creativity.
CARAS invited our Toronto Web Design Agency to support the JUNO Awards in 2018 with the design and development of the 2018 JUNO Fan Choice live voting website used during the awards show broadcast to collect more than 200,000 live votes.
Following the success of our shared efforts, our work continued together throughout the year as we delivered some software and user experience design updates to the Canadian Music Hall of Fame website in preparation for the 2019 JUNO Awards nomination announcements.
In the spring of 2019, we finally kicked off the long-awaited website design overhaul of the JUNO Awards website and awards archive.
Establishing Website Design Goals
- Website architecture and user experience design – the existing JUNOS website had survived many awards seasons on the back of yearly patches and incremental updates to an ageing WordPress platform. 2019 offered our Toronto Web Designers ample time to dissect and understand how the website was utilized previously and how CARAS (the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences) planned to use the website going forward. This opportunity would allow our web strategists to devise a complete website architecture audit and overhaul to enhance the user experience.
- Responsive website user interface design – after the onboarding process, one of the first points in our discussion with clients is all about what is not working in their current website. In this case, the previous JUNOS website was extremely image-heavy, causing performance issues as well as general confusion among users trying to navigate the website. Conversations such as this are fundamental in establishing goals and benchmarks from which we can measure the success of a project afterword.
- Custom WordPress development – the JUNOS website featured nearly 8,000 pages of nominations and awards content that was carefully tagged and stored in a database. With some intense analysis and careful web development strategy, our WordPress developers devised a method to transition the extensive database into the new website without data loss or significant content entry challenges. Developing the new website on the WordPress platform would allow for a seamless transition into the new website as well as offer the future-forward flexibility website owners come to expect when overhauling a website today.
Our Web Design Process
Our discovery phase for the new JUNOS website was unique in that the website itself housed nearly 40 years of archival awards data and information that had to be treated as Canadian gold – not referring to maple syrup here. To transition this historical data into the new website, our Toronto WordPress developers spent weeks analyzing and dissecting the inner workings of the existing site and database. This early research ensured that we could design a new website and WordPress backend that would properly reference and utilize the decades of information at the core of the website.
On the user interface design front, our Toronto web designers analyzed the current user experience against the historical data available and compared this against other popular award websites such as the Oscars, Grammys and Country Music Awards.
Web Design Strategy
Relying on our professional web design strategy experience, our team moved ahead with the next phase of the JUNOS website redesign. Our first step was establishing a revamped site map detailing the navigational flow and structure of the new website. The strategy phase is where our web design projects start to come alive and offer a more comprehensive view for our clients.
With the approval of the newly designed site map and navigational flow, the JUNO Awards marketing team plunged headfirst into the project taking ownership of critical decisions for the future of the website.
The next stepping stone in our website design strategy was wireframing. Wireframing can sometimes be a real catalyst in a website design project as this exercise provides a virtual look at the information architecture within the new website design to the client. Our web designers rely on a state-of-the-art prototyping tool that provides an authentic contextual experience for our clients to review the proposed wireframe designs and make critical decisions without the distraction of polished UI design.
Wireframing is an essential tool for our Toronto web design company as it provides the opportunity to quickly and efficiently sandbox design ideas saving our clients time and money. Wireframe design also ensures that the creative website design phase flows naturally and that client-requested revisions are often minimal, which prevents the concept design from straying too far from our intentions.