UL Consumer and Retail Services
I served as the tech lead on a team of project managers, marketers, designers, and other developers whose project was to create a new website for the Underwriters’ Labs Consumer and Retail Services division. The CRS division needed to 1) increase its visibility and 2) distinguish its offerings from the main U.S.-based and U.S.-focused business.
The goal of the CRS project was two-fold. Firstly, it served as the homepage for the international branches of UL and funneled leads to the proper sales teams. Secondly, it contained a technical library containing information about regulatory issues specific to various regions.
Additionally, work on this project would form the nucleus of further updates to all UL websites across the globe, so the design needed to be more comprehensive than solely for this website, and we needed to engineer enough abstraction and durability into the theme to allow for easy extension and reusability.
I was brought in as a WordPress specialist. The main UL website had been constructed on a WP backend, and the Marketing division wanted to continue to use the framework in which they were experienced. Internationalization needed to be taken into account from the start. Pages needed to be well-engineered: responsive and quick to load; moreover, outside of the U.S., mobile- and tablet-based browsers are responsible for the majority of site visits, and did not necessarily use common U.S. mobile browsers such as Mobile Safari or Chrome: the design needed to serve these visitors.
I created a custom theme based on the popular understrap (_s + Bootstrap) theme framework. This included multiple custom post types and dozens of templates. Each one of these, of course, needed to be set up for easy translation into five languages. We also worked diligently on reducing the page load time for visitors with slower connection speeds.
Working across the world
The work on the CRS site was performed across the world. From the main UL offices in the Chicago suburbs we coordinated the efforts of stakeholders in Ireland, Hong Kong, Singapore, and beyond.
Now completed, the website—its theme and templates—is being used as the default style for new international websites. The website itself now serves 21 countries in two languages.