The central part of the Aikens Approach program is 8 hours worth of audio that walks you through meditations and exercises in order to reduce stress and enhance performance in the workplace. The program was developed by Dr. Kim Aikens, a board certified physician with extensive training in Integrative Medicine. They have also put together an extensive list of resources, articles, and studies that dive deeper into nutrition, physical fitness, and stress to continue the learning process. The website that I designed and developed for them is a membership-based site that allows members to access the audio files and the supplemental resources, all with a built-in content management system to control content, users, and blog posts.
Since their main focus is MBSR for businesses, The design of the site needed to be clean and professional above all else. Apart from a few simple background patterns, the site relies on a grid-based layout, strong typography and color to create a sense of balance, consistency, and visual order that adds to the professionalism of the brand. The modern and versatile Titillium Text was chosen as the main typeface, embedded using the CSS property @font-face.
A lot of care was given to the planning and structure of the site, ensuring that a large amount of information would be presented in an easy-to-use and understandable way. Wireframes helped us to visualize the main elements of the site and how they would interact together. Not a drop of color or style was added to the design until the wireframes were finished.
One of the concerns that the Aikens team had with the membership side of the website was managing and protecting content. To address this, I created a custom WordPress theme that includes multiple member login areas, custom content management features and a multiple-author blog. Most importantly, member-only content is protected from illegal download. While WordPress isn’t a traditional CMS, a little expertise can add a lot of functionality to an already powerful blogging platform.
The idea to incorporate sails into the logo (client has a background in sailing) brought a lot of ideas and strong imagery that could have been used to represent the brand. We started with a classic feel that served the professional side of the company just fine, but didn’t quite get the personal growth aspect right. Again, focusing on the corporate MBSR side of the brand was important.
The final concept we settled on used four sails side-by-side, with each sail representing one of the four main approaches of the meditation program — physical sensation, breath, thought is not reality, and non-judgement. In the full-color version, a graphic that rises from left to right symbolizes growth, focus, and light. The shade of blue that we ended up choosing in the final concept is also a little more vibrant than the classic “nautical blue” of the original, giving a bit of needed energy to the brand.
When it came time to code the site, I started from scratch using HTML5 and CSS3. Not only can we easily create beautiful user interfaces such as rounded corners by using CSS3, but we also leave ourselves with a faster, easier to update website going forward.
I then created a custom WordPress theme that was developed over many hours to incorporate all of the membership and blog features. The theme includes several custom templates, multiple widget areas (about 15!), and plugins for the member login capability, SEO, and member login areas. The site integrates with PayPal and MailChimp to round out a robust, easily managed e-commerce site. Final enhancements such as jQuery-based slideshows, toggle content areas, and other interactive user interfaces make for a usable, concise, and accessible experience.
David was incredibly adept at working with our ever changing needs and visions for our new company. We feel that his logo design really captures the essence of our brand. The website he created is easy to use, easy to update, attractive, clean, and professional. We needed custom functionality in order for our users to be able to download mp3s, access a supplemental library of information, and create user profiles. Davids capabilities made the creation process near painless. His patience, timeliness, and attention to detail made working with him a real pleasure. We will not hesitate to recommend David to anyone searching for website or logo design.
It was a pleasure to work with the Aikens team and I think they are doing a wonderful thing by encouraging us to take a deeper look at ourselves amidst a busy, sometimes stressful life. You can see the finished website and get a better feel for the MBSR program for business people at AikensApproach.com. Thanks for reading.