Mah Ze Dahr, founded by pastry pioneer Umber Ahmad, sells heavenly culinary treats inspired by the flavors of her upbringing (by Pakistani parents in Northern Michigan) and her family’s international travels. A hint to the complexity and delight of Chef Ahmad’s treats: her bakery’s name translates roughly from Urdu as "the magic that makes something delicious".
We built Mah Ze Dahr’s original e-commerce site in 2012, and just launched a new design and upgraded e-commerce platform in anticipation of the opening of their third brick and mortar store Midtown Manhattan.
We wanted the site to feel as rich and sensory as Chef Ahmad's baked goods, so we started by highlighting Vanessa Rees’ mouth-watering photos. Because the photography is so striking, we mirrored the clean aesthetic with the website design as a whole, even extending it to the uniquely modern way we built the site.
Instead of relying on clunky and sometimes slow page refreshes to display content, we built the entire site as a single page application. When a user interacts with the site, only the content that needs to change will change, giving us the flexibility to design subtle transition animations and create a more responsive, desktop app feel.
In 2016, when the bakery opened up its first storefront in the New York City’s West Village, the shop was a physical extension of the website sharing a similar aesthetic to create a unified experience.
Western Michigan University
Cloud Gehshan Associates
Large, physical locations like university campuses, hospitals, and public parks require excellent signage and wayfinding to help visitors get around. Western Michigan University was working with Cloud Geshen Associates to help with their physical wayfinding strategy, who then came to us to make recommendations about how to better leverage mobile and digital technology to improve the ease with which visitors, students, and faculty navigate the campus.
We began by researching existing conditions and holding stakeholder workshops to hear from staff, students and visitors of the university. It was important to include stakeholders from the beginning, so that they were able to be part of the planning and help frame the problem. We also wanted to build consensus around the idea of a wayfinding app as a solution to some of WMU’s unique problems, like inconsistently and inadequately signposted paths, confusing naming, and a sprawling layout. Off-the-shelf solutions like Google Maps just weren’t going to address these specific needs.
To prove the amorphous nature of the campus, workshop attendees spent much of their time talking about their wayfinding needs as they applied to tangentially related destinations and activities, making it clear that campus life is constantly in context with what’s happening around and off-campus.
Using those findings and an outline of best practices, we provided a detailed strategic document that makes recommendations about why mobile is important, how to build consistency, fixing inconsistent naming, and making parking, transportation, and off-campus information as easy to find as the campus map itself. We also made recommendations on the technical side, discussing various platforms, proposed functionality, and a project plan for moving forward.