Digital Mobile-First Revamp with Solarity CU

Anthem: Where did the process begin?

Chad Ritchie, Chief Information Officer: Through an extensive discovery process we defined the strategic objective for updating the website to ensure we provide the best possible digital experience for our members. This digital initiative is a result of an in-depth strategic process that included discussions with staff, members, and potential members. In order to create this strategy and identify the digital initiatives for the project, we conducted a series of internal interviews, and a detailed survey of both members and non-members, as well as identified key areas of improvement for our members’ experience.

Anthem: What was your process for finding the right vendor?

Ritchie: We wanted to ensure that we were defining the appropriate details, inclusions, expectations, success measures, and timeline for our website project throughout the process. We asked ourselves questions like: What do we want our new website to do for our members? How will our new website communicate our brand vision? Once we determined the answers, we were able to begin the vendor process.


Request for Proposal

To successfully pull off a digital project of this magnitude, we had to go through a comprehensive requirements gathering, project definition, and request for proposal (or RFP) process.


We needed someone to help us bring our new digital experience to fruition, so we utilized a scoring system to choose our primary vendor, as well as the tertiary vendors. We wanted to make sure the chosen vendor had the capabilities to help create content on the new site, had a strong development team, the ability to create custom capabilities, clear project process, roles and timelines, and a strong design team.

Top two vendors presented to core project group

A cultural fit is one of the most important criteria when selecting the perfect vendor for your company. In many ways, hiring a vendor is like hiring a full-time employee. You should always be methodical in your hiring process, investing time in finding the right partner, just as you would someone that works at your company full-time. Along with a cultural fit, we scored based on the vendors’ capabilities with the project. We wanted to make sure they could deliver an extraordinary experience.

Anthem: What took more time or resources than you expected?

MaryAbigail Dills, VP of Marketing: Content. Sourcing, creating, vetting, and proofing all the content was the most labor intensive component of the site as it required almost all departments of the organization to be involved. No content from our old website was being reused, so we had to start from scratch.  We wanted to have a complete refresh of our brand on our website and to make sure our culture could be seen throughout. We devoted one third of the site to community involvement, one third to products/services, and the other third to recruitment/culture. This was a new concept for us, which required us to dig deeper and find what makes us Solarity, what makes up our culture and who we are.

Anthem: What features are you most excited about?

Solarity CU’s DATi (Digital Assistant Tool) as part of the project.

Dills: We created a unique proprietary smart search feature, nicknamed DATi (short for Digital Assistant Tool), that helps identify exactly what you’re looking for. When you walk into a physical location, and someone says “How can I help you today?”, that tool does the same thing. We can run reports on what our members are looking for to make sure we are providing them with the content and information that they need.  We are also excited about integrating a chat feature into the site, as well as a new ATM locator which allows members to easily find over 23,000 ATMs in the nationwide network.

Anthem: What is something you would recommend other companies not forget when implementing a similar project?

Dills: You think about the products, the program integrations, and the site map, but it is easy to forget about the new photos, the updated video library, and the other supporting content needed to make a new website. These are very important components if you want to have great content that shows your culture and your brand.  Have a plan and timeline in place to collect the needed items that align with your project plan.

Anthem: You made an interesting distinction between “mobile-responsive” and “mobile-first”. How did you make that decision?

Dills: We did not need to make that decision, the data made it for us. People are viewing the majority of sites on their mobile devices. Think about it: the last time you were getting groceries, how many times did you pull out your phone to look up a few products, check out a few websites while waiting in line. And when was the last time you sat down at a desktop for personal use? Mobile is where business is being done.

Questions about this story? Contact Eric Horvath: 503.350.2222,




Posted in Marketing & Communications, NWCUA.