Law Firm, SSRGA, Launches New Website by Van West Media

September 13, 2016

Schwartz, Sladkus, Reich, Greenburg, Atlas, LLP (SSRGA) is a dynamic New York City law firm with deep experience and a passionate commitment to providing smart, efficacious solutions to their clients. Their mission is to serve clients with loyalty and integrity and to help their clients leverage opportunities and surmount challenges while also maintaining a culture characterized by hard work, respect and dignity for all, “non-egotism, fairness and a sense of humor.” Their practice areas include litigation, health care, business & corporate, trusts & estates, and-for-profit.

SSRGA was looking for a complete refresh of their website. They felt their website lacked energy, did not properly convey their corporate ethos and that it was missing a certain wow-factor. At the time, SSRGA felt the website did not effectively differentiate them from the many law firms in and around NYC. They wanted a new site that would set them apart from the competition, so SSRGA turned to Van West Media (VWM) to help them reach their goal.

From the start, Van West Media’s design team worked closely with the Partners at SSRGA to help them define what a “wow” direction would look like from a design perspective. Historically, Law has been a somewhat staid field in terms of online presentation, so the new site had to be edgy and hip without feeling forced or over-the-top. Van West Media’s design team used several creative techniques and elements to differentiate the new site including the use of bright, but familiar colors, engaging micro-animations, and a host of interactive in-page effects that allowed the visitor to explore information in a manner that was fresh, entertaining, and most importantly, informative.

mail_image_preview-2After interviewing numerous companies, my law firm ultimately retained Van West Media to redesign our website and assist in marketing strategy. We are thrilled with the level of services Van West has provided. They hit a grand slam home run with our new website and have supplied us with valuable marketing guidance. Van West exceeded our expectations and we are proud to be one of their clients.” – Steven Sladkus, Partner, SSRGA

It was important for the homepage to make a very strong first impression to the user. With this goal in mind, Van West Media’s production team shot and edited a very carefully crafted video campaign to quickly illustrate some key elements of SSRGA’s culture. The video successfully and tactfully expresses that SSRGA’s law firm is thoughtful, dynamic, professional, and client-focused. It also clearly showcases they are located in the heart of Manhattan. The video was a great way to convey visually and quickly the ethos of SSRGA. Other effects that are utilized on the homepage include micro-animations and in-page interactive effects, easy to read typography, and the use of a bright and inviting color palette.

Because SSRGA wanted their lawyers to be a primary focus of the new site, Van West Media spent two days on-site to capture headshots of every member of the team. These were used to create an effective section to showcase the firm’s attorneys with quick and easy access to lawyer bios, LinkedIn profiles, and contact information. Each attorney is also connected to a robust on-site search mechanism.


How Single Page Applications (SPA’s) Can Enhance User Experience

August 18, 2016

What Are Single Page Applications?

You may have heard someone refer to Single Page Applications recently, it’s kind of a buzz phrase right now. But what is  Single Page App, or SPA, and why would you use it? A Single Page Application is a web app that can fit on one HTML page and it provides users with a more fluid and responsive experience. The page updates, but never reloads throughout the whole process, and control never transfers to a separate page.

These web apps load all of the page information at once onto a single HTML page that can dynamically update as the user interacts with the app. Just because it is a web app, doesn’t mean that the scale can’t be enormous; both Gmail and Netflix use a SPA framework.

SPA Example – The Golden Door Program Calendar

Van West Media chose to use a SPA for, naturally, a Spa – Golden Door Resort and Spa to be exact. Golden Door recently received the 2015 “World’s Best Destination Spa” award from Travel + Leisure Magazine and has a comprehensive annual program calendar. The VWM design and development team worked closely with Golden Door to create a beautiful and highly functional SPA that allows users to sort, filter and select from a variety of program types.

There were several important reasons why Van West Media chose to use a SPA when developing the Golden Door Program Calendar. One of the biggest factors was page speed and user experience benefits. To the user, the calendar works and feels more like an application than a web page. As users filter or browse through different months and program types, only data is being transmitted back and forth to the server since all the initial HTML, CSS, Scripts pages only need the initial load. This makes for fast interactions on the page, particularly on mobile, tablet or cellular networks.

Another advantage in developing the page with a SPA framework was the ability to keep the data and the user interface separate. This allowed for streamline testing when developing the page and also provided an advantage when working with Golden Door’s booking engine. Future integrations or potential changes to how program data either comes into the SPA framework or goes out to other systems can be managed more effectively without having major implications on the interface.

You can view the Golden Door Program Calendar here

Why Use Single Page Applications?

Let’s backtrack for a second. Why would single page apps be used over other web applications? Well, single page applications try to solve 3 main problems that web apps are often faced with, which are:

  • Bad user experience – Continuous page rendering negatively impacts user experience because network delay is clearly visible.
  • Poor performance – Every time the page completely reloads, unnecessary re-transmission of data occurs.
  • Lack of offline support – A web application continues to function as long as there is a server connectivity. If that connectivity drops, the web app is essentially useless.

SPA’s require no page reload from the browser, and all user interaction and changes of the application state are handled within a single Web document.

What Other Advantages Do Single Page Apps Have?

With no page reloads, comes no extra wait time. The following are some more advantages of SPA’s:

  • SPA’s minimize response time by moving working data and processing it from the server to the browser.
  • SPA’s can go offline if the connectivity to the server drops. When the connection returns, SPA’s synchronize the local data with the server.
  • SPA’s instantly update like a website. Users don’t need to take any action, they can just reload the browser and it works.

Contact us to learn more about Single Page Application and how  Van West Media can improve your digital strategy.

SPA_CTA_Blog vwm

The KISS Rule Never Fails in M-Commerce

July 18, 2012 is a Seattle-based e-commerce website affiliated with Walgreens and partially owned by Amazon. Given that information, I chose to write about its mobile commerce (m-commerce) site, expecting a higher level of quality. It’s an impressive site and would prove helpful as a benchmark for any e-commerce company looking to expand into mobile.

The site is simple and clear, which is most important for a mobile website. A lot of time should be spent organizing the site in a way that’s understandable to users and beneficial to you, which is what I feel has been able to accomplish here. They have a banner for featured products at the top, their free shipping offer (which is crucial for a site with low cost items like this), a search bar and a listing of each category that takes up no more than the whole screen.


Allowing customers to see every category without scrolling is hard to do, yet very helpful in terms of getting them to the product fast. The subcategories seem to be grouped according to the product types (ie: eye care comes after contact lenses). Depending on the nature of your products, you can also organize items in alphabetical order, though grouping by type is best here as customers may be thinking of different terms when looking for an item on your list. To group properly, think of a brick and mortar store where these items are sold. How are products grouped there? Typically, these groupings are what customers come to expect from their shopping experience both online and offline.

The success of mobile commerce sites rely on the ability to organize properly. It’s true that any site should follow this rule, though the lack of space on mobile devices leaves no room for mistakes. Like many mobile shoppers, customers are most likely busy urbanites looking to get a purchase in during their commute home or while at the office. Users aren’t interested in spending time on the site so much as they are to accomplish the task the came for. Keeping this in mind when designing your m-commerce site can save a lot of greif. Always remember the KISS rule. Keep it simple, stupid!

Website Review- This is Why Good Web Development is Important

July 10, 2012

I like to explore the yellow pages for examples of websites because of the wide variety between downright terrible to well designed. The website I chose for this post is not terrible, in fact it sits right in the middle, with mistakes that anyone can make if they’re not being totally careful. The business is a swanky west side hair salon that I once visited on a deep discount.

The site struggles between nice design and bad development. What I mean by that is, it’s glitchy.

First, it’s not totally optimized for Chrome. The homepage doesn’t scroll down without having to manually click and drag the side bar, which is a common mistake. Always check each major browser before you decide to launch a site. If it doesn’t work for one, make that fix.

The site also varies in page lengths. The homepage has a ridiculously large Facebook plugin that takes up the bottom of the page. Reducing the size is likely a quick fix, as Facebook plugins are not supposed to be that large. There is also a random enter button in the middle that directs the user to a page of the same length, only without the plugin. Here’s what the homepage looks like from top to bottom:

The pages shorten to a normal length once you click into the categories. As you can see in the picture below, the side bar shows I’m at the bottom of the page. This is an optimal size for the site.

I also noticed that a lot of the links aren’t clickable or lead to blank pages. When I checked, some of the links that don’t work in Mozilla work in Chrome or Safari. Everyone gets his or her own experience, but overall it’s quite frustrating.

After all this, I must say that I like the design of the site. The black looks chic and the pictures are nice. If the gallery works on your browser, there are some nice photos that give prospective clients a good idea of what to expect. You can book an appointment online and learn a bit about the staff before coming in.

If you weren’t sure why you would ever need to seek a professional web developer, I hope this post can help you to understand their importance. If you still think it’s a waste and want to go DIY, be sure to check for these types of glitches. A beautiful website is good to look at, but without the right developer, it’s just for looking.