Project Definition

Hudson Microsites (Client Focus) – 2010

Completed: January 2010

At the height of the economic meltdown of 2009, Hudson North America restructured its sales teams to focus on local geographies and industry specializations. With this restructure came a laser focus on new business development within our most profitable businesses. Our websites were not reflective of the new business structure, nor the solutions that could help customers in the market environment. The sites were built without Search Engine Optimization in mind, and therefore did not rank for phrases that could generate inbound leads. Our online presence needed a facelift to drive new business, fast.

With a limited budget and timeframe to market what is 4 separate lines of business, we developed a microsite template that could serve the needs of 4 distinctly different market segments. We retained an SEO consulting firm to advise us during content development to ensure that pages focused on new business keywords, and were coded with search crawlers in mind.

Over a 4 month span, we revised or developed the content for 4 microsites, each dedicated to attracting new business to our service offerings. I focused the information architecture and creative on the best sales asset that we had – our case studies. By showcasing real solutions to past client problems, I hoped to build immediate trust with our audience.

Hudson IT Microsite Home Page thumbnailHudson Financial Solutions Microsite Home Page thumbnailHudson Legal Microsite Homepage thumbnaillHudson RPO Website Homepage thumbnail

Please visit the websites online to see more of our evolving client acquisition strategy.

The effort resulted in a dramatic increase in Search Engine presence. Traffic to our sites from search engines increased 40-60% over prior year.
Web Traffic from Search
A 30% increase of new leads came in from our websites over the prior year. Even though true ROI calculations and additional sales processes to support web leads are in the future, the sites were perceived as a business driver within the company. This set the stage for future investment in technology and marketing to push the sites further.

Categories: Information Architecture, Interactive Strategy, Project Definition, Project Management, Social Media, Web User Interfaces | No Comments »

Hudson SharePoint Intranet (MOSS 2007)

Completed: June 2009

When Hudson became an independent public company in 2003, it launched a global intranet on a 3rd party CMS dedicated primarily to delivering Company News from the top. In addition, a hastily launched “communities” platform based on WSS 3.0 had shown the company the potential of collaborative technologies to manage projects and encourage user participation. By 2007, much had changed; from user expectations and web technology to Hudson’s own business model and management structure. With this backdrop we embarked on a project to replace Hudson’s Intranet with a modern approach that could meet the current and future business needs of the company.

User Research
We wanted to redesign the Intranet with user research at the center of our decision making. So, we began by engaging an ethnographic research firm to help us interview and observe the work habits of a cross-section of our user population from administrators through to VP’s of sales. We found the following user themes:

  • I read the news on the homepage, what else is there?
  • I’d rather call someone than use the intranet
  • I don’t see anything relevant to my job
  • It’s easier to find people in Outlook

Using the research and the realities of an obsolete platform with no development support as the business case for proceeding with the project, we began the design process. We partnered with an external agency to augment our internal team for information architecture and wireframes. Only a month after the official release of MOSS 2007, our lead developer built a “Show Car” on a sandbox MOSS server to prove our vision and further refine our requirements. At this point in the middle of 2007, we could point people to the vision, but had huge doubts about our ability to roll the project into our internal infrastructure.

InSite 2004-2009 (replaced)InSite 2009 Home PageTeam Sites at the center of the user experienceImproved Intranet Search

Development/Beta Launch
With many web development and business priorities competing for attention through 2007 and 2008 we continued to chip away at the coalition building and hardware investments it would take to make the intranet a reality. During that time our CIO commandeered resources to clean up Active Directory and build out a development, staging, and production environment. At the same time the marketing team worked on final branding templates, content strategy, information architecture and Senior Management buy-in. Site development, including the heroic task of customizing Sharepoint templates, building custom webparts and configuring servers began in October 2008. The end result was a Beta Launch of InSite in June of 2009, 8 months later. We used the following Camtasia Video to communicate the exciting launch of what should prove to be a major leap in productivity for the company.

The Future
In the next 2-3 months we expect InSite to come out of beta and be every person’s homepage. After the platform is fully vetted in North America, we plan on deploying the project globally to fully replace the aging current platform.

Categories: Information Architecture, Knowledge Sharing, Project Definition, Project Management, Usability/Research, Web User Interfaces | No Comments »

Hudson Job Distribution System

Completed: March 2009

Job candidates are the raw materials of the recruiting business. Without a steady supply of human resources, a staffing firm cannot deliver its products: filled job openings for clients. The supply chain is often fulfilled online through the use of job advertisements on websites like Monster and CareerBuilder. These ads cost millions of dollars yet their expense, deployment and effectiveness are difficult to manage. In a tough economic climate Hudson needed a way to manage job ad costs while gaining an understanding of the ROI.

Our other challenges included recruiter productivity loss, difficulty in achieving OFCCP compliance, and out of date website software which made jobs on our own site invisible to search engines.

We convened a cross-functional team of marketing, IT, senior leadership and field recruiting professionals to establish a more efficient way of posting jobs and processing candidates. I documented requirements for all of the affected constituents then evaluated our own systems and additional vendors that could optimize each step of the workflow. The resulting systems map led us to the following:

  • Front-Office/ATS enhancement. We needed to create new candidate processing, job posting and OFCCP compliance modules for PeopleSoft and our home-grown Applicant Tracking System.
  • Job Distribution. Having one piece of software to post job ads to multiple websites while measuring the traffic to each ad was crucial. For this we chose First Advantage Postmaster
  • Website Rebuild. Creating an SEO-optimized portal for job postings on our own website would reduce our reliance on high-priced job boards. For this, we chose OptiJob.

Through a 4 month development process that involved coordinating vendors, contractors, training, and line of business teams we launched a functioning system on March 1, 2009.

PeopleSoft Job Ad Posting to FirstAdvantage Postmaster LXHudson Jobs Portal SEOPostMaster-Job Board Reporting

We won’t fully understand the impact of this project for a few months, but we will review the following metrics.

  • Recruiter/Staff Productivity. Having a single location to post from instead of individual logins will save certain staff hundreds of hours of work. The additional media buying knowledge of the ad agency should reduce time spent chasing media contracts.
  • Job Ad Effectiveness. Consistent review of job ad ROI (number of impressions, number of applicants, number of hires) from ads across our different placements will help to direct investment to the right media.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Increased search engine visibility should allow for decreased need for job board expenses.
  • OFCCP Compliance. A process that helps recruiters comply with government regulations should assist in obtaining more government contract work.

Categories: Information Architecture, Interactive Strategy, Project Definition, Project Management | 1 Comment »

Hudson Recruitment Blog: IT Hire Wire

Completed: July 2008

While Hudson maintained a professional informational web presence for many years, 2007 marked the year that social media began to change the expectations of the candidate and client marketplace for recruitment firms. The market, especially candidates, demanded more transparent and direct contact with real people within their potential recruiting partner. Hudson needed to develop a new approach to online interaction that would address this shift in the market.

In early 2007, I started an intense research phase into social media to get first hand knowledge of the latest tools. I familiarized myself with WordPress and various social websites like MyBlogLog,, RSS feeds, Twitter, and Facebook. This resulted in my new personal blog and a blogroll filled with competitive sites that I admire.

With this as a backdrop, I lobbied hard for a blog project. In November of 2007, we brought in an agency to make sure we set the cultural groundwork properly within Hudson, and to have enough resources to complete the project on top of an already heavy load. We chose our IT practice to pilot the program because we felt the target audience was most comfortable with blogs. At the same time our IT recruiters were likely to be the most blog-savvy of our employee population.

Creative Direction
We differentiated the site’s look from the many tech news or gadget blogs out there and, at the same time did not take ourselves too seriously. We ended up with a theme that evoked the balance of work, life, and the technical knowledge it takes for a successful IT career. Rather than align the site with the Hudson domain, we chose a separate URL that would allow for an independent voice from our corporate brand while providing good link building SEO for our corporate websites.

IT Hire Wire Editorial

The IT Hire Wire blog launched on July 1, 2008. Since that time it has gained steadily in traffic, comments and candidate leads to recruiters. For recruiters and guest bloggers who contributed content, the blog is highly ranked in Google for their personal brands. The blog is likely to drive future web strategy for the company toward a more customer driven experience, locally and in international markets.

Visit the blog at

Categories: Interactive Strategy, Project Definition, Project Management, Social Media | No Comments »

JIU Online Open House

Completed: January 2003

In 2000 Jones International University was one of many in a new crop of for profit, all-online universities offering real degrees over the internet. By 2002, the simple hook of getting a degree online wasn’t enough to increase enrollment numbers. JIU wanted to use e-mail marketing to reach potential students and give them the experience of interacting with its sophisticated online learning system. Coupled with the emergence of online chat, the University asked TMP to help deliver a compelling Open House experience online to reach the most prospects as cost effectively as possible.

The core IT team at JIU built and supported an Online Learning System that the entire student body and faculty used for class registration, participation, and graduation. The admissions marketing team proposed using this same system to interact with prospects in an Open House. TMP needed to build an Open House information site, registration and e-mail marketing system to get prospects to the event. On the date and time of the event, prospects would then use the Online Learning system to chat and interact with admissions staff, current students, faculty, and alumni in Q&A sessions. The entire experience was designed to introduce candidates to the online learning experience and convince them that an MBA could be attained online at a fraction of the cost and inconvenience of attending an offline campus.

JIU Online Open House Flow DiagramJIU Online Open House Screen SchematicJIU Online Open House HomeJIU Online Open House Back-end

I worked as the project’s Information Architect to assist the creative and development teams build a solution with the following components:

  • Information website with only the “right” content to motivate a student to explore more via an open house
  • Custom e-mail marketing engine that took qualified names from the admissions marketing database and solicited registration for the open house
  • Back-end user interface to allow JIU Admissions staff to easily setup new events, track registrations, and send reminders.
  • Online Open House User Interface within the Online Learning System to facilitate the chat and provide information to the prospects, then ultimately motivating students to Enroll.

The client did the project right by funding proper usability testing so that we could ensure the workflow for both admissions staff and propsects was as natural as possible. Working with a branding agency as well as the local IT department many kinks were worked out during testing and it made the staff much more confortable in administering the real open houses.

Online Open Houses became a fixture of the admissions marketing process at JIU. The client experienced excellent enrollment rates after them. Continued enhancements to the e-mail marketing and registration systems were created to allow more frequent events to drive even more conversions.

Categories: Information Architecture, Interactive Strategy, Project Definition, Project Management | No Comments »

Online Powerpoint Presentation Builder

Completed: August 2002

Recruitment presentations by Fortune 500 companies are often delivered in front of large open-house audiences. Recruiting teams put together custom PowerPoint presentations on the businesses they are recruiting for, many times with outdated information and inconsistent branding. We wanted to help our clients maintain a consistent and professional employer brand in front of these important audiences.

We designed and built a web based PowerPoint Presentation Builder from the ground up with a very ambitious feature set. The idea was to provide a single place for recruiters to access pre-approved presentations, build new presentations from collections of PowerPoint slides and media files, and provide a best practice knowledge sharing community to help recruiters put their best foot forward when presenting. My role was information architect and web designer on a small team of programmers who overcame many technical hurdles. The site allowed for:

  • A searchable database of completed presentations and individual PowerPoint slides classified with metadata like audience type, presentation length, and topic
  • An automated builder that could recombine user-selected slides into a new presentation within the web interface
  • User profiles that tied assets in the system back to individuals, including ‘favorites lists’ for storage of frequently used presentations
  • FAQ’s and articles on how to use the system and public speaking skills

The intent of the platform was for it to become a product that TMP could sell via an ASP model to a variety of clients that shared these challenges.

Presentation Builder Home PagePresentation Builder ToolPresentation Builder Clip LibraryPresentation Builder Sitemap

A major recruitment client purchased and embraced the system, giving it high marks for streamlining their presentation delivery. Within a year Microsoft’s own technology (Sharepoint) advanced beyond the system’s capabilities, slowing demand for the product.

Categories: Information Architecture, Project Definition, Web User Interfaces | 3 Comments »


This is my Life as a 37 year old husband and father of two and Bennett International Group in McDonough, GA relocating from home in Rochester, NY.
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