Technical case study: New websites for Burson-Marsteller EMEA

In my role as Digital Developer for Burson-Marsteller in Switzerland, I am responsible for developing, designing and often programming web and digital projects. My biggest project in 2010 was the re-building of the wide network of websites for the Europe, Middle East and Africa region of Burson-Marsteller.

I first proposed the revision of the websites in autumn 2009, when I assessed the existing websites and made a wide range of suggestions for how they could be improved. The internal management were very supportive of the idea, which would not only modernize the websites but also bring the technical and editorial control “in-house”.

Work began in early 2010 and after a round of consultancy and design suggestions, during which I met with the CEO and Strategic Managing Director of the EMEA region, I began work on the websites themselves. The ten local markets covered by Burson-Marsteller itself – excluding regions covered by partner agencies – were reviewed and the content was updated by colleagues in those markets. Once the round of editorial work was complete, I compiled the content and re-structured it to fit around a centralized structure and technical concept. This ensures that visitors familiar with one local website would easily and quickly be able to find the corresponding information for another national market. The local focus is very important, as some national markets have more specialist knowledge and capability.

Web standards

I created the websites according to modern web standards using the WordPress content management system, and ensured that the new design and functionality was compatible with all modern web browsers: from the various versions of Internet Explorer on the Windows platform, Google Chrome and Firefox on a cross-platform basis, to the Macintosh “Safari” browser. I also cross-checked the layout and operation of the website on the Apple iPhone, although the current iteration of the websites is not tailored specifically for this device.

Multilingual

The websites are presented in a range of languages appropriate to their local markets, including English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Norwegian, Swedish, Danish and Dutch. By working with international colleagues, and the use of a WordPress plugin for multilingual site support, I ensured that both template and contextual functionality and design matched the requirements of the national audiences.

Supporting media

In support of the new websites, I also designed corresponding HTML and Outlook email templates for a range of themed messages, which an editorial team in Brussels dispatches regularly to colleagues and clients across the EMEA region.

External links

The following national and regional Burson-Marsteller websites were rebuilt as part of this project. (Update: I handed over responsibility for the projects and for onward development of the websites in Spring 2011 and as such, some website elements no longer match the original global or local concept.)

EMEA; Brussels; Denmark; France; Germany; Italy; Netherlands; Norway; Spain; Sweden; Switzerland; United Kingdom