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Case Studies

Columbia Basin Trust

Columbia Basin Trust Website Redesign

The Client

Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) supports the people in the Columbia Basin – a region of nearly 80,000 square kilometres in southeastern British Columbia – through a range of services, programs, and financial investments. Their mission is to help create a legacy of social, economic, and environmental well-being and to achieve greater self-sufficiency for present and future generations.

Key Project Features

Columbia Basin Trust logo on a photo of the BC landscape

The Need for Change

CBT approached PathWise Solutions for a full rethink and redesign of their website, which they felt was not effectively reaching the broad range of users in the many different communities of the Columbia River Basin.

In particular, they wanted to reach out to the many mobile and low-bandwidth users in the region by offering a compelling and modern site that features easy-to-locate information and offers a high level of engagement.

CBT was also looking for an easy way to manage their full grant application cycle.

The Path for Change

After extensive discussions with CBT, PathWise decided that the modernization of the websites should be driven by a content analysis process utilizing the Core Model approach. This focuses on identifying the needs of website users and the needs of the organization itself, finding appropriate pathways to connect one to the other effectively and fluidly.

Through this approach, PathWise identified the need for

  • A fully responsive website that would be easy to access and use on mobile devices, regardless of bandwidth
  • An easy-to-use interface that would allow CBT to edit and administer their own content
  • Modern-looking design and website branding in alignment with CBT’s overall look and feel
  • A robust search function

The Approach

PathWise developed a family of WordPress sites for CBT, with custom themes built on the Genesis framework. We integrated an Algolia advanced search engine that ensures superior contextual search results. In addition, we built and integrated a grant management system into the main CBT website.

Web Development

PathWise consolidated CBT’s mix of a proprietary Content Management System and  several static sites into a single, mobile-friendly WordPress site structure.

This allowed CBT to gain platform coherence and the ability to directly edit and administer all of their website content in a single, easy-to-use interface.

We included the advanced use of online forms to intelligently route form submissions to the required recipient and to allow new forms to be built easily by CBT staff.

We also provided WordPress customization and theming, as well as custom WordPress plug-in development.

Web Features

The CBT project also features a modern, responsive WordPress theme that displays well on mobile and tablet devices, even under the low-bandwidth conditions common in the region.

Other features of the website include

  • A fully integrated grant management system that allows for online application submission and outcomes reporting
  • An events calendar
  • Conference registration (via a subsite)
  • A regional broadband initiative
  • Social media integration
  • Additional microsites


PathWise supplied all WordPress theme graphics, as well as an animated timeline.

We focused on

  • Strong, outreach-oriented design and presentation adherence to CBT’s brand and visual identity guidelines
  • Accessibility best practices, including giving users control of their own accessibility experience
  • The application of WCAG 2.0 AA standards
  • Redesigned information architecture carried out using current service design best practices


PathWise was able to provide CBT not just with a mobile-friendly website but also improved functionality and the ability to complete more of their own editing and site administration. We ensured CBT can also add interactive subsites for conferences and special projects. Since 2016, PathWise has continued to support and consult with CBT’s Communications and IT Departments in their online efforts.

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