At Envision, there are few things we like as much as coffee and donuts, so we were understandably excited when we began working with New England’s premier donut chain, Honey Dew Donuts, in early 2011.
Initially brought in as consultants, Envision’s earliest projects with Honey Dew focused on their existing infrastructure. With over 140 locations spread throughout New England, IT plays a vital role in Honey Dew’s operations and communications. Envision’s initial focus included detailed technology planning to help prioritize investments in IT.
Building a Strong Partnership
Envision started our relationship with Honey Dew Donuts by looking at the big picture and planning for the future. A strong communication channel between the two companies helped reinforce this partnership, allowing Envision to recognize opportunities to help improve Honey Dew’s technology in a way that would ultimately save them both time and money maintaining their infrastructure.
Our ongoing relationship also put us in a perfect position to offer solutions outside of the initial services Envision was hired to provide. In the case of Honey Dew Donuts, these additional services ultimately included the design and development of the company’s website and Intranet.
Streamlining Online Communication
Envision’s Web Services team first began speaking with Honey Dew concerning the company’s Intranet and their online communication strategy with the franchisee community. Right away, we realized that much of the content to be included on the Intranet would also need to be on their public website. This included information on store locations, nutritional details for the company’s menu of products, and more. Managing the same content across two site (a public website and a company Intranet) is a recipe for inefficient publishing and inaccurate content, so we proposed connecting the Intranet and the public website together to make for more effective, and consistent, content management.
By expanding the scope of the project to include Honey Dew’s public website, Envision was able to help improve the entire online communication strategy for the company and design a visual framework that would unite both the website and the Intranet as two distinct pieces of a larger whole.
The Honey Dew Website
Our design process started with the Honey Dew Donuts’ website - focusing on capturing the warm, friendly feel that is so evident in their stores and through their wonderful people and customer service. This redesigned look and feel also included a stronger focus on the company’s menu items through large, visually striking photographs.
This project was about much more than just a visual redesign, however. New features on the website include a “responsive web design” approach to ensure Honey Dew’s site would be optimized for the widest range of devices available – including desktops, laptops, tablets, smartphones and more.
The support for phones is especially helpful when combined with another feature added to the site – HTML5 Geolocation. The new website uses HTML5’s geolocation module to determine an approximate location for site visitors. It can then automatically determine which Honey Dew Donuts’ location is closest to them and provide them with store details and directions. If a user’s current location cannot be determined, the site defaults to Honey Dew’s main offices in Plainville, MA. Visitors can then change that default location to find a Honey Dew nearby.
Information on the company’s history, downloadable coupons, menu and nutritional information, and even an interactive “Build Your Coffee” feature were also included in the new website – all of which can be easily managed by Honey Dew Donuts using the ExpressionEngine CMS (content management system) upon which the site was built.
The Honey Dew Intranet
With the new public website well underway, Envision’s attention turned to the Intranet next. Our focus for the Intranet was to design something that worked alongside the public website from a visual standpoint, while also creating a user experience that was intuitive and engaging. This was a complex task.
The Honey Dew Donuts Intranet acts as a hub for communications between the company and their franchisees. The newly designed Intranet needed to include areas for updates and announcements, news and promotions, company documents, social media feeds, discussion forums, and more. The challenge before Envision’s designers was to find a way to include that wealth of information in a design that was crisp and intuitive, while also responding to different devices and screen sizes. Our design team accomplished this by developing a “dashboard-like” responsive layout for the Intranet’s main page. This dashboard allows franchisees and corporate visitors to quickly access information important to them, see timely updates and announcements, or accomplish important workflow tasks – all from any device they chose to use to connect to the Intranet.
From a backend standpoint, the Intranet, like the public website, was built using the ExpressionEngine CMS. This allowed us to connect the two sites and share content between them (using ExpressionEngine’s Multi-site Manager features), while still allowing certain content, including much of the Intranet, to remain private and only available to authenticated users.
Information that was slated to be shared across both sites, such as menu information, could be added to the website and then be pulled into the Intranet, meaning changes on one would automatically be reflected on the other. This significantly reduces the amount of time needed to publish content and ensures that changes will remain consistent across all Honey Dew communication channels.
An Integrated Services Approach
Many of Envision’s clients initially come to us for a specific service, whether it is desktop or data center virtualization, website design, security consulting, Ground Control managed cloud services, or another of our solutions. We are happy to work with that client to answer their specific need and deliver that solution to them, but we can also provide a more complete, holistic approach to IT.
All of Envision’s solutions have been designed to complement each other – so that when a business is in need of multiple Envision solutions, we are able to offer those services in a way that, once again, maximizes their overall IT investment. The projects we have completed with Honey Dew Donuts are a testament to this “integrated services” approach and our ability to serve our clients' complete IT needs.