Responses by AREA 17.
Background: The US Chamber of Commerce’s site empathizes with users by sharing the advocacy group’s positions, knowledge and keen insights. For the B2B audience it serves, its site provides opportunities by informing and connecting them to each other, the US government and the world.
Larger picture: The website was part of a multi-year organizational transformation spurred by new leadership. This effort culminated in the Chamber unveiling a new visual identity developed by design firm COLLINS and a more inclusive approach to its business advocacy. The site served as a key touchpoint to showcase its new identity and articulate what it means for current and prospective Chamber members. It also provides significant value to members and the business community, keeping them informed about topics that will impact their business strategy and bottom line.
Design core: The regrouping and interweaving of content into themes—such as “The Competition for Talent”—invites users to explore multiple facets of today’s most pressing issues. What’s more, the site seamlessly integrates various content types within a thematic topic. Users can quickly access digestible yet comprehensive coverage of any relevant topic.
The contemporary design focuses on providing value to the reader and encourages them to return, deepen their understanding and follow topics as they evolve. Written content complements related initiatives, programs and events that promote discussion and support networking. Within the design templates, the quick-reference topic index enables users to find the right theme to explore, the topic landing page provides a structured view of the topic and related content, articles and events compose the core reading experience, the events listing regroups past and future events, and a detail page provides a framework for the Chamber to elaborate on programs and initiatives.
Challenges: We were committed to populating the website with content that aligned with the new brand vision as developed by COLLINS. This meant that we were ideating around new content strategies that spoke to the Chamber’s various audiences in parallel to designing and building the site. From a workflow standpoint, this was difficult to navigate. Ultimately, through close communication and a commitment to the product vision, we pushed through. Compared to the former site, we are pleased with the progress this evolution represents.
Navigation structure: While the desire to influence policies forms a pillar of the Chamber’s work, we identified an opportunity to implement a more inclusive digital experience and taxonomy that speaks more effectively to the communities it represents. We asked ourselves: How can a website better support businesses by guiding, informing and connecting them? The answer was to enhance topical pages—covering areas like immigration, cybersecurity and infrastructure, among others—to appeal to a broader audience and encourage site visitors to explore interrelated hubs.
Technology: The site’s front end leverages Tailwind, a modern CSS solution, to manage and scale front-end components. For component management, we used the framework-agnostic pattern library tool Fractal to build components in isolation, which allowed for a more effective QA process. On the back end, the site was built with the Craft CMS. We developed a custom extension for Fractal that enabled the automated accessibility testing of front-end components.