Sandstorm Blog

Crain's BtoB

2011 has been an award-winning year for Sandstorm Design! Earlier this year we were recognized by BtoB Magazine as a Top B2B Interactive Agency. Today, we've been recognized again—This time as a top Chicago Web Developer for 2011 by Crain's Chicago Business. Not only does this mean we're in the printed newspaper, but we'll also be included in the Book of Lists for 2011. Our developers work closely with the design team to create powerful results. And when it comes to content management systems, our Drupal 7 developers build robust and flexible web sites customized to your needs. We love the work we do, and are so honored to be included as a top Chicago Web Development firm!

This blog was posted by on July 18.
Karen Boehl

About the Author

Karen Boehl

Karen does a little bit of everything – webmaster, social media manager and search engine optimizer. She can most often be found on Twitter, in the Usability Lab, or happily buried in the Drupal admin menu.

Chicago is a booming city with a robust pool of developers—web developers, software developers, application developers. We’ve got them all. (Chicago even hosted DrupalCon this year.) So we are pleased to see our government agencies taking notice and utilizing the city’s developer resources by challenging them to “build apps that solve problems and improve services in Metro Chicago” with the Apps for Metro Chicago Illinois Competition.

While our Chicago web design firm focuses on user-centered design, we'd like to give kudos to the City of Chicago, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, Cook County, and the State of Illinois for taking a user-centered approach to government and working to build useful tools for Metro Chicago. Bravo! Now, while we're pleased to see Chicago building useful apps, there are some pros and cons to the competition method, also known as crowdsourcing. Crowdsourcing has become very popular, even as a tool to leverage as part of a marketing strategy. But even with the possibility of benefiting from the talent that fills Chicago, in the end, there is just less creative control of the end product. Instead of choosing one dedicated team that builds a relationship with you, learns your business needs, and provides a customized solution to your problem, you end up hoping someone in the crowd finds the right idea.

But what if none of the entries solves your problem? During the two month entry period, how do you feel about sitting in the dark, unable to truly guide the direction your solutions are headed? And what do you say to all the unselected artists and programmers who put in dozens of hours creating an app for you and get nothing in return for their hard work? However risky their methods, we are still very excited to see Chicago focusing on technology! At Sandstorm we do custom quality work, gathering requirements to make certain that the end product meets the clients’ specific needs. Let us know what your needs are!

This blog was posted by on June 27.
Karen Boehl

About the Author

Karen Boehl

Karen does a little bit of everything – webmaster, social media manager and search engine optimizer. She can most often be found on Twitter, in the Usability Lab, or happily buried in the Drupal admin menu.

Drupal 7 Developers Share Lessons from Conference in Chicago

This time a month ago, Sandstorm Design attended DrupalCon Chicago. Since then, our team of Drupal developers have been sharing with the rest of the company the key takeaways from the conference.

Over sandwiches and soda, our Technology and Usability Director Michael Hartman talked to the team about new possibilities Drupal 7 features open up and how we can use them to continue to provide exceptional content management solutions. We were inspired enough to keep discussing Drupal long after the last bite had been eaten. In fact, we're still talking Drupal this and Drupal that. And the conversation isn't likely to end anytime soon!

This blog was posted by on April 14, 2011.
Karen Boehl

About the Author

Karen Boehl

Karen does a little bit of everything – webmaster, social media manager and search engine optimizer. She can most often be found on Twitter, in the Usability Lab, or happily buried in the Drupal admin menu.

Sandstorm at DrupalCon Chicago

It has been an amazing week for our development team at DrupalCon Chicago 2011. We absorbed Dries Buytaert’s keynote, mingled with other Drupal 7 developers, danced to a song about Drupal (not kidding!), and attended session after session on topics like theming, design, user experience, implementation and configuration. We had a blast and learned a lot!

We’re so proud that Chicago got to host the Drupal conference this year. And we’re so grateful to all those who made DrupalCon Chicago a success. Most of all, we’re looking forward to the future of Drupal, which is only looking brighter and brighter!

Check out our pictures from DrupalCon Chicago!

This blog was posted by on March 11.
Karen Boehl

About the Author

Karen Boehl

Karen does a little bit of everything – webmaster, social media manager and search engine optimizer. She can most often be found on Twitter, in the Usability Lab, or happily buried in the Drupal admin menu.

Sandy
Drupal Development Company Chicago

Drupal web developmentAcquia Certification - Drupal 8
Drupal is the enterprise-level, open source content management system (CMS) behind websites like The White House, Forrester Research,  Harvard University and many associations including American Library Association, National Association of Realtors, and more. The built-in functionality, combined with thousands of freely available add-on modules, enables features such as SalesForce, calendars, file uploads, blogs, user accounts, and HubSpot to be easily integrated. 

Our senior level, in-house Drupal development team is located in Chicago
We do not outsource our Drupal development to any company nor developers overseas. Just because a site was built in Drupal, doesn’t mean it actually leveraged the tools that Drupal offers or was built efficiently. At Sandstorm, our rock star team perfected our Drupal install. They attend DrupalCon annually, participate in the Drupal community, speak at events, maintain multiple Drupal sites (that were previously developed by other agencies, as well as sites we have designed and developed), and use the CMS daily. Check out our very own Senior Director, Technology, Sean Fuller, sharing his 5 Tips to Manage Security. 

We've developed a Drupal SEO Admin Interface
Sandstorm’s Drupal development team identified the need for non-technical administrators to control targeted aspects of HTML code to better optimize for keyword phrases and developed a custom Drupal SEO Admin Interface as part of our standard Drupal install. This allows Sandstormers and our clients to better optimize their sites and improve rankings.

Make your site responsive for mobile and tablet
We provide flexibility for future enhancements and mobile/tablet responsive web design by developing our sites using responsive base themes in Drupal. Our base install includes theme and module standards allowing us to optimize for mobile and/or tablet. 

Combine our Drupal web development and our UX expertise for a powerful user experience
Many Drupal development companies outsource their design or have a lone designer on staff. We have an elite creative team complete with UX designers, UX architects, and content authors and have conducted 3400+ hours of user research and usability studies. Our Drupal developers and UX designers work side by side throughout our agile development process to ensure the most intuitive user experience design and technically savvy, data-driven Drupal website.   

Sandstormers spend 500+ hours staying up to date on the latest Drupal updates, web development, and user experience trends. Being Curious is what we are all about. Let us put together a proposal for your Drupal web development project!

This blog was posted by Sandy on February 19.
Sandy Marsico, Founder & CEO

About the Author

Sandy Marsico

Sandy Marsico is the founder & CEO of Sandstorm®, a digital brand experience agency that turns consumer insights into engaging user experiences through our unique blend of data science, brand strategy, UX and enterprise-level technology.

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Sandstorm Design is thrilled to kick off the new year by launching a new web site and brand for Gregg Communications! What started with a web site has grown into a full on partnership to reinvent Gregg’s brand. And it has been so wonderful to have a client as enthusiastic about the process as we are! With a new website and identity, the Gregg brand is now aligned with the quality service and expertise of their staff. We are so proud to announce this launch and look forward to more growth with Gregg!

This blog was posted by on January 18.
Karen Boehl

About the Author

Karen Boehl

Karen does a little bit of everything – webmaster, social media manager and search engine optimizer. She can most often be found on Twitter, in the Usability Lab, or happily buried in the Drupal admin menu.

It’s easy to love your job when you work for Sandstorm Design, and it’s even easier when the projects that come your way are for organizations that are working to make the world a better place – like The Cradle, an open adoption agency in Chicago. Along with giving them a fresh, new look, we also made their site easy to update by completing development in Drupal so that they can change their content regularly with current news, new waiting families, and new stories of success.

We loved working with The Cradle and being a part of helping birthparents, adoptive families, and adopted children come together to create their own unique family stories. We are so proud to launch this web site!

This blog was posted by on .
Karen Boehl

About the Author

Karen Boehl

Karen does a little bit of everything – webmaster, social media manager and search engine optimizer. She can most often be found on Twitter, in the Usability Lab, or happily buried in the Drupal admin menu.

Sandstorm Design is excited to announce the launch of SRES.org! We’re so happy to provide this excellent resource to anyone age 50+ with real estate needs, helping them connect with SRES® designees all over the country. The SRES® designation, offered by the National Association of REALTORS®, indicates specialization in the real estate needs of those age 50+. Baby boomers can visit this web site to easily search for an SRES® designee near them, and prepare themselves for what types of considerations they’ll face with their real estate decisions.  We love working with the National Association of REALTORS® and marketing to seniors, and couldn’t be more excited to launch this web site!

This blog was posted by on November 2.
Karen Boehl

About the Author

Karen Boehl

Karen does a little bit of everything – webmaster, social media manager and search engine optimizer. She can most often be found on Twitter, in the Usability Lab, or happily buried in the Drupal admin menu.

New Law Firm Gets a New Web Site

Sandstorm Design is so excited to announce the launch of a new web site for a new firm, Partridge IP Law. Having the opportunity to work with this unique law firm from inception has been such a privilege.

We created their new identity and brand, starting with the logo and print work before moving to the web. While the firm might be new, the attorneys are experienced. Their new web site showcases this expertise with detailed bios and a very active blog. We absolutely loved working with Partridge IP Law, and couldn’t be happier to announce this launch!

This blog was posted by on October 25.
Karen Boehl

About the Author

Karen Boehl

Karen does a little bit of everything – webmaster, social media manager and search engine optimizer. She can most often be found on Twitter, in the Usability Lab, or happily buried in the Drupal admin menu.

Sandstorm Design is proud to announce that the Pilsen Junior Tennis Camp web site has been served! We had such a great time working with this nonprofit, and even donated a large portion of our time in order to provide them with the kind of web site they deserve. We are an inspired group, and love working with others who inspire us, like Pilsen Junior Tennis Camp. This nonprofit teaches tennis to economically challenged children, and focuses on building personal achievement, confidence and self-esteem.

The new web site includes a blog so they can keep the community up to date, as well as a sponsor/partner area to help promote local businesses. We’re so proud to have been a part of this project, and couldn’t be more excited to launch this web site!

This blog was posted by on July 12.
Karen Boehl

About the Author

Karen Boehl

Karen does a little bit of everything – webmaster, social media manager and search engine optimizer. She can most often be found on Twitter, in the Usability Lab, or happily buried in the Drupal admin menu.

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