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Q&A with NationBuilder Architect Tectonica

On Today's NationBuilder Live we featured the work of our Architect of the Week, Tectonica. If you missed it, check out the video below.

Ned Howey, Principal, Strategy at Tectonica answered a few questions for us about what it's like to work with NationBuilder customers and how they design those awesome themes. Here's the full Q&A:

How did you first find NationBuilder?

Ned Howey: Actually we were really lucky. Jesse Haff, cofounder of NationBuilder saw one of our sites on a design gallery and got in touch with us. Honestly when we first received the email we thought it was someone with some kind of spam or that he was just contacting a huge list of designers. An hour later we were chatting on skype and absolutely amazed to see what a great match our work is to that of NationBuilder's. A beautiful partnership was born!

What do you like best about working with NationBuilder's customers?

NH: When Martin and I started Tectonica one of our largest goals was to be involved in building sites that were important, that had positive impact on the world. Both Martin and I are very political. Before working in the web design world, I had worked for 10 years in homeless healthcare and social service non-profits. Both Martin and I are very passionate about politics and the power of government´s decisions to change society for the better.

We dreamed of some day just working on sites for non-profits, green business, and progressive politics. Our partnship with NationBuilder fast-tracked that dream. Every project we are involved with has a goal beyond just the building of a website. Our NationBuilder sites are a puzzle piece in a bigger picture. And we love being part of that and partnering with people who also bring their passion to those causes. 

Tectonica created our Victory Theme. What advice do you have for people who want to build their own NationBuilder themes?

NH: A theme is no small endeavor In some ways having to build a site that is versatile across different types of organizations with different objectives and goals can be far more challenging that focusing from the beginning on developing a unique strategy for one clear objective. We think the most important thing for any person looking into a theme is to really think through the following three questions:

1. Who is the audience that the website is trying to reach?
2. What is the strategic goal of their organization or project?
3. What piece of that goal does the website hold?
4. In terms of actions for your user, what is the most important actions on the site for the user to complete.

Until those last two questions match logically, an effective site cannot be built. Go back to step one and start again.
Once all the questions are answered clearly a good designer is key to creating a visual language, branding, and hierarchies in the interface that successfully achieve the goals. 

What special tips do you have for the NationBuilder audience?

NH: NationBuilder is a really beautiful new system. The amazing thing about building out a NationBuilder site is that, unlike something like a WordPress CMS, those smart folks at NationBuilder keep updating and improving the system. And everyone with a NationBuilder site automatically gets all those new features the minute they are rolled out. For that reason we are kind of all in this together, working as a community of developers, designers, site administrators, organizers, campaign managers, and staff at NationBuilder. We are all part of the conversation.

NationBuilder was founded with a mission that at its roots is about empowerment of ideas regardless of power or money. Its very democratic in that way. Luckily the staff of NationBuilder embody that value in their very way of operating. They function very much in an open way that reflects that sense of listening and empowerment and respond accordingly. It is all of our responsibilities to keep the conversation going, explore the creative potential of the platform, and keep this movement growing. 

What else would you like to share about Tectonica?

NH: We hope that everyone enjoys the sites we are building. We love doing what we do. We don´t just design for work. We design to have sites that work. We hope that others enjoy the results of our work as much as we enjoy doing the work. We consider ourselves so lucky to have this amazing partnership with NationBuilder and to have had such wonderful clients and projects keep coming our way. 

Thanks, Ned and Tectonica for your great work and for being a part of NationBuilder! 

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