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In 2016, we had the opportunity to rebrand Hill Holliday. As part of the initiative, we had to reintroduce the brand to the world online. I was tasked with being the lead dev on the project, on top of all of my other work. I worked within a super close team to launch the initial website, as well as maintain the project, even 4+ years later. 

Let's get Atomic

Around this time, Brad Frost had just introduced a new design thinking paradigm called Atomic Design. The idea is that you boil the design down into it's most basic components, and use them as reusable design objects over-and-over again. By employing a methodology like this, we could rapidly come up with new features using tools already at our disposal, instead of rebuilding the wheel every time.

This was a new concept not just for our digital team, but for stakeholders, including senior leadership, as well. It was my job to sell in this idea and get it off the ground.

While this was definitely a learning experience for us; it gave us an opportunity to look at how we work. We truly embraced our agile workflow, and how we could tie that into our atomic design philosophy. The result culminated in over 40 components with 220 different permutations.

Robust Search

We knew that a robust search was huge for our business. We're a 50+ year young company, representing 200+ other businesses, with over 300+ employees, with so many different subject matter experts, search has to work for everyone; be-it intern or consultant. I wrote more about our robust search functionality on CodePen.

It's All About the People

Hill Holliday is proud of their culture, and they should be. The culture is created by some fantastic people here at the agency. To celebrate the people, we wanted to ensure that everyone would get to put their mark, or at least their face, on it. We built a custom web app separate from the website that tied into our Active Directory LDAP system so that employees could log in whenever they wanted and upload a new selfie of themselves to appear on the site. These selfies then went into a review queue, and when approved by HR, automatically published to the site.


We built a custom integration with JobVite that dynamically loads in job listings and displays them on our site. It was important to us to maintain all of that SEO value that comes with job descriptions, as well as keeping potential candidates on our experience for as long as it makes sense. We wanted the brand to come through in all things, including our job listings.

Performance & Optimization Planning

Being able to test our experiences and improve them over time is really important to me. I'm all about making things better. In order to keep track of all of the things we can do to improve our site, we kept track of a live Performance & Optimization Plan, or POP for short.

We kept a backlog of all the things we wanted to test then we implemented them and recorded their results. Anything from default font sizes, to adding a "menu" label next to our hamburger.. we did it. 

This let us redefine what we thought best behaviors were using data, that we were then able to bring to all of our other clients. Adding that label to the hamburger menu reduced our bounce rate on mobile by 3%, which goes a long way when you implement it for 20 different projects.

All in all

It was a lot of fun breaking out so many new principles on our own property. It was sort of a safety net to try new things and push the envelope. Atomic Design, Performance and Optimization plans, integrations with different APIs and services... this was a lot of first's for us, but it set the new standard for our work moving forward.

If you need help with an internal project, atomic design system, or setting up your own optimization plans, I'd love to help. Please get in touch with me over at my contact page.

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