accessible. available. inclusive.

For VantageOne Credit Union, living its vision to provide its 12, 000+ members with an ‘extraordinary experience’ is an inside job. It starts with exceptional leadership, excellent staff and a company-wide commitment to going the extra mile. With so many strengths fuelling its growth, VantageOne CEO Glenn Benischek felt that the time had come to have a website that reflected the credit union’s vision as well as the changing mobile needs and expectations of its membership. 

When Benischek and his team asked us to design and develop VantageOne’s new website, we were more than happy to chime in. 

First steps
As always, our process began with our personification process. It gave us tremendous insight into what VantageOne members were looking for in a website. They wanted to connect with VantageOne online and they wanted that experience to be every bit as friendly, simple and ’end-to-end’ as it was when they visited a branch in person. While their needs were nuanced in many ways, there were clear commonalities. They wanted:

  • information and support to be available from anywhere
  • access to tools that would allow them to take action online, whether it was to manage their accounts, apply for a loan, become a member or to chat with VantageOne staff in real-time
  • the content and tools of the site to be inclusive of every device (phone, tablet, laptop or desktop)

Mobile-centric focus
The VantageOne personas were clearly of the mobile-first mind-set. Kathy Matkin-Clapton, our copy and creative director recognized that mobile-centricity was a potentially huge catalyst for current and future engagement. ‘The personas reflected the intimate relationship that most of us have with our mobile devices. Our phones are becoming an extension of ourselves. We count on them to deliver the content and functionality we want at precisely the instant we request it. We wanted to design the site and choose content in a way would help VantageOne make the most of that mobile-first mind-set.’

Responsive design
Jeff Coomber, our Director of UX Design and the architect of the new website, agrees. ‘We put a lot of thought into how to design a website that would not only meet only VantageOne’s needs but also the needs of its members. With the rising tide of smart phones and tablets flooding the market and increasing consumer demand for virtual banking services, there was no question for our team that responsive design was the way to go.’

Benischek agrees, saying, ‘We live in a multi-device world. A company’s web presence must reflect this to continue to compete effectively. As technology rapidly reshapes the world, a responsive web presence is critical in our business today and moving forward.’

So we developed a site that would:

  • embrace device diversity by making access, navigation and utility simple from every device
  • support every action the personas wanted to take, whether it was to learn more, chat in real-time, manage their money, apply for a loan, open an account or become a member
  • ensure that all content would translate well in a growing number of contexts

Support a multi-channel, multi-device strategy
VantageOne’s new site also supports a multichannel strategy that is powered by thirdstream software:

  • cumulus™, our online member onboarding and account opening solution
  • jump(start)™, our online loan application

Thanks to the seamless integration of this software into the site, people will find it easy to become a VantageOne member, open a new account or apply for a loan, line of credit or mortgage. And since the user interface of all of our software is also responsive, they can do all of this in a matter of minutes from any device. This multi-channel strategy will support  VantageOne in meeting the strategic goals to:

  • increase member engagement
  • grow deposits
  • increase lending
  • promote its other business lines

It’s all about the member experience
At the end of the day, our goal was to develop a website that would resonate with the members and deepen their relationships with VantageOne. Coomber says, ‘We wanted to make it incredibly easy for people to engage with VantageOne online, whether it was to find a branch, transfer funds, open an account or apply for a loan. We applied personification and UX (user experience) design principles to create a simple and intuitive user experience that makes it easy for members and potential members to achieve their goals from their computers, smart phones or touch screen devices.

Check it out

  1. View the VantageOne site here.
  2. Listen to what Benischek has to say about the site here.

For more information on responsive design and other online strategies for your credit union, call us 403-381-1360 or connect with our VP of Business Development.

Canada Post AddressComplete in cumulus™

We’re pleased to tell you that cumulus™ is now integrated with Canada Post’s AddressComplete. What does this mean for online member acquisition through cumulus™? Now all an applicant has to do is start typing an address or postal code, and AddressComplete will suggest results as they go.  This next generation address finder uses intelligent, rapid search technology to:

  • improve data accuracy
  • significantly reduce entry errors
  • eliminate the need for call-backs
  • reduce application abandonment

Check out this quick demo to see AddressComplete in cumulus™ action.

For more information on cumulus™ for your credit union, call us 403-381-1360 or connect with our VP of Business Development.

meet our director of digital design

Beast mode is the term we use to describe our Director of Digital Design’s productivity and drive. That’s because ‘getting things done’ just doesn’t quite reflect how hard Mike Wojcik works. Nor does it accurately describe the insight and innovation he continually brings to the table as a designer, inspiring all of us to up our game in what we deliver to our clients.

Mike wears many hats (literally and figuratively) in our company. He leads the design team, works closely with our 3S Labs to conceive, develop and design new software and innovation and plays a key role on our User Experience (UX) team to ensure that the focus is always on meeting the needs of the end-user.

When he’s not driving business and innovation forward, he’s developing online/mobile games that are played by millions of users. That’s Mike, our our talented, hard working, team-playing, hockey-loving, creative and all-round fantastic director of digital design.

Here are some other cool facts about Mike.

Tell us about yourself
I created my first web page when I was 12 – a site that had cheats for the video game Mortal Kombat. My post-secondary education includes both Computer Science and Multimedia Production. I also worked for a Nintendo game publisher and am proud to say I developed 3 store-released games. I also run an online/mobile game company with games played by millions of users

I’ve used programs like Photoshop, Flash and Dreamweaver since their infancy and my programming languages include PHP, C#, C++, Java, ColdFusion, SQL, .NET, XML, ActionScript, CSS, HTML, JavaScript and JQuery

When did you join the thirdstream team?
Funny story. I started out doing some contract work for the company back in 2004 when we were known as Webtech. I then joined the team full-time in 2006, took a little break to pursue some other goals and then happily returned to thirdstream full-time in 2013.

What is your current role with thirdstream?
Digital Design Director and jack of all trades. I do art, design, programming, animation, video and gamification. I’m constantly trying to push the envelope with our work. I also provide the team with tunes to sing along to as we work.

What appeals to you the most about the work you do with thirdstream?
I love being involved in all facets of a company that’s constantly pushing us to move beyond our limitations. I love our cutting edge philosophy and I’m always ready to jump on current technologies and trends that would benefit our clients.

In 1-2 sentences, what do you appreciate the most about being part of this team?
I love how casual the atmosphere is around here and how we are given a lot of freedom to be who we are. We’ve become a family in a lot of ways rather than just a team. They also put up with me constantly singing out loud to cheesy songs and goofing around.

Now for the fun stuff  

Born
Oct 9, 1984 in Lethbridge, AB.

Raised
In the Crowsnest Pass.

Grew up in which decade
The 90’s.

Biggest musical (or other) influence when you were growing up
As a kid, I grew up listening to 80’s rock thanks to my Mom’s obsession with them (Motley Crue, Poison, Guns n Roses, Skid Row). Grunge and Hard Rock were my biggest musical influences later on.

Favourite tune/band on your iPod right now
Anything from Steel Panther.

Huge fan of
A lot of my inspiration for art and design comes from decades of playing video games. Music is also a big part of my life. My friends call me the king of Name that Tune.

Family you’d like to mention? (kids, spouse, etc.)
My girlfriend Nika and my French Bulldog Bowser.

You’re happiest when
Hanging out with friends over some nice, frosty beverages and when the Flames are winning (a rare thing these days).

Other hobbies/interests
Hockey (I’m a hardcore Flames fan), music, UFC, skiing/snowboarding, cars, fitness, road trips/travelling and video games.

Favourite beverage
Vodka water.

Greatest achievement (so far)
Helping shape Webtech/thirdstream into the company it is today and developing award-winning games that have been played by millions.