The Official OpenRoad Blog


Ladies Learning Code: Tackling Gender Diversity in the Software Industry

The software development industry faces a major gender diversity problem. According to a survey conducted in 2015, only 5.8 percent of developer positions are occupied by women1.

OpenRoad was thrilled to help narrow this gender gap by hosting a Ladies Learning Code workshop this week. Ladies Learning Code is a not-for-profit organization that helps women and youth become builders of technology in a hands-on, social, and collaborative way. A few of our own front-end web development experts—Daryl, James, and George—were eager to share their tips and tricks, volunteering as mentors during the two-part workshop, CSS for Beginners.

“It was a great experience to be able to give back to the development community. Learners left the workshop feeling inspired by the endless possibilities of modern websmithing,” said Daryl.


Attendees learning the fundamentals of CSS

The seminar was designed to give novice coders a deep dive into the fundamentals of CSS through two, 3-hour sessions. As the Ladies Learning Code instructor took attendees through lessons about syntax, rules, floats, and positioning, our mentors helped them every step of the way to build a personal webpage-resume.


Before and after photos of the project

“Ladies Learning Code is doing a great job at getting women and youth involved in an important industry,” said George, a developer for OpenRoad’s intranet software product, ThoughtFarmer, adding, “I think everyone can benefit from a basic knowledge of programming.”

Say hello to our new(ish) marketing coordinator, Christie Atkins!

You may have noticed our OpenRoad and ThoughtFarmer blogs have seen a lot of contributions from a new author… meet Christie Atkins. As our marketing coordinator, Christie is responsible for brand communications, including blogging, website content, email marketing, sales collateral, and social media. She is also the friendly face of OpenRoad at our events, and herds cats to get all our award entries submitted on time.


Christie learning what it takes to be a power line maintainer for a lines appreciation event.

Christie joins us as a new graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from Simon Fraser University. We’re big fans of SFU grads around here, both Gordon Ross and Jacqueline Antalik are also alumni of the communications program. She also completed two co-op semesters at Hydro One, one of Ontario’s major electricity providers, where she worked on their corporate communications team and was responsible for managing mobile app content, handling social media inquiries, and publishing a lot of their corporate intranet content.

One of the great things about being a writer is during the process of researching your subject, you get to experience the world through other peoples’ eyes.

We’re Excited about Clicklaw’s New Mobile-Optimized Website!

In April, Google announced it would be boosting the rankings of pages that were optimized for mobile. This announcement acted as the catalyst for Clicklaw to connect with OpenRoad to create a mobile friendly version of their website. Clicklaw is an online resource aimed at enhancing access to justice in British Columbia. By having their site optimized for mobile, it would allow people in need of immediate legal information to have unfettered access wherever and whenever.

With limited budget and not a lot of time, we helped make their existing site mobile-friendly with some smart refactoring. In eight weeks Clicklaw had their mobile site up and running. We were thrilled to be a part of the project.

Below you can see a screenshot of Clicklaw’s new mobile-optimized website.



Meet our new Front-End Developer, Foley!

We are very excited to welcome Foley Lynn to the team. Foley brings over 15 years of digital communications experience to OpenRoad. He cultivated his expertise by splitting his time between agency work and running his own web development firm.


Foley with his adorable son Markus.

Over the last 15 years, Foley’s favourite project was working as the Lead Front-End Developer building the mobile web app for “The project moved quickly — and with no dedicated project manager, all team members became experts at communication. It was an exciting, fast-moving development environment that leveraged cutting-edge technology. It was a fantastic experience,” said Foley.

OpenRoad is proud to co-host the 2nd annual VanUX Awards

From a fledging roundtable group of people interested in this thing called ‘user experience’ to a sold-out award show celebrating some of the biggest brands in Canada, the Vancouver User Experience group has grown up over the past twelve years. We’re excited to announce OpenRoad will be co-hosting the Vancouver User Experience Awards for a second year in a row. You’re invited to join us on November 25, to celebrate the most joyful, innovative, and elegant user experiences created right here in our own city.

Congratulations, Emily Carr University!

A big congratulations to Emily Carr University on their new website, designed and built by OpenRoad! Emily Carr University of Art + Design is one of Canada’s premier post secondary institutions, devoted to excellence and innovation in visual arts, media arts, and design. They needed a site that was as vibrant and diverse as the university itself to attract the best and brightest students. We are really excited to have been involved with the project. Congrats again, Emily Carr University.

Take a peek at the University’s newly redesigned homepage:


OpenRoad’s 2015 Gastown Grand Prix party

105A0559Every year since 2002, OpenRoad has celebrated the Gastown Grand Prix with an annual party. Some of the best views of Vancouver’s legendary pro-cycling race are from OpenRoad’s second floor offices on Water Street. It’s an enviable spot that was made even better when we shared the experience of great food, drinks, and music with our clients, friends, and the local digital community.

The talented Jef Gibbons photographed the evening and captured some memorable moments.

Onward to the event gallery



Welcome Deborah MacKenzie, our new UX Designer!

11535687_10155654069665176_5703660948535445135_nWe are thrilled to welcome Deborah MacKenzie to the team! Deborah brings eight years of UX design experience, having worked both locally and internationally. Deborah recently completed her Master’s degree in Digital Media (MDM) from Simon Fraser University. “A lot of people went into this program to change their career direction, but that wasn’t my goal,” she said. “I LOVE doing UX design—I wanted to keep doing it, I just wanted to do it better.”  (more…)

Meet our new Senior Project Manager, Joey Bevacqua!


Joey and his Yorkshire Terrier named Zoey

We are more than excited to welcome Joey Bevacqua to the team! Joey is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and brings over 12 years of business management experience to OpenRoad. Over the past 12 years, Joey’s favourite project that he has had the opportunity to manage was the Army of Two: The 40th Day website build for Electronic Arts.

The project scope was to build an online custom mask and armour creator to get users excited about the game’s upcoming release. The tool allowed users to design and share custom masks and armour that would be usable during multiplayer mode. Once users created their designs (more…)

Congrats to the ThoughtFarmer Website Team!

How do you emphasize that an enterprise software product, which is typically stodgy and corporate, is actually fun, vibrant, and exciting? The design team at OpenRoad hit the nail on the head when they redesigned the ThoughtFarmer website in 2014. We are happy to announce the team won four awards for their vision and hard work on the project.

ThoughtFarmer is social intranet software that enables organizations to improve their internal communications and collaboration. The website had been last designed in February 2012, and, with new marketing goals, it was time for a redesign.

The website’s primary audience consists of intranet buyers, who include a mix of corporate communications professionals, HR managers, and IT managers. The goal of the redesign was to 1) increase website conversions, 2) provide content that would help convert opportunities to sales, and 3) support client services initiatives.

As ThoughtFarmer is a constantly evolving product, the design team was challenged (more…)