Case Study: Responsive website from Zync helps Canadian Olympic Committee build national engagement for Sochi 2014

Case Study by Jeremy Linskill RGD, Design Director, Zync

The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) leads the achievement of the Canadian Olympic Team’s podium success and advances Olympic values in Canada. By sharing athletes’ stories, they inspire all Canadians through the power of sport. Zync was chosen by the COC based on our vision for the look and function of the next iteration of their website.


Our primary objective was to design, build and support a site that would engage Canadians leading up to and throughout the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games—with particular focus on a best-in-class mobile web experience.


Design Process

As the digital agency for this project, Zync had five months to deliver a website that would address the needs of the COC.


With an appreciation of the aggressive timeline for the project, The Canadian Olympic Committee supplied a very detailed document as part of the initial RFP, outlining their expectations, target audience and messaging. Based on this document, Zync began its process with a competitive analysis of the industry and conducted a planning session with key stakeholders from the COC. Our team for the project’s execution included developers, an account director, designers, a design director and creative and strategic direction from Zync’s founding partners.



Following the initial planning phase, we began to map out content, design wireframes and develop creative for the best possible user experience across all devices. We took a modular approach to present the Canadian Olympic Committee's vast amount of unique and dynamic content. Through our mobile-first strategy we made sure fans experienced the same content and functionality on desktop computers as they did on much smaller screen sizes. We also made it easy for them to share all Olympic content across their personal social media channels.


We continue to enhance the site and expand on its functionality as we head into the 2014 Winter Olympics. Testing and ongoing maintenance has been key for building a strong partnership with the client and delivering successful design solutions. 




We worked very closely with the COC digital team to design a site that highlights their incredible array of assets. We'll continue to support them throughout the Sochi Olympics and beyond. -  Marko Zonta RGD, Founding Partner and Creative Director at Zync. 



Data migration

Exporting content from the previous iteration of the website proved time consuming. Custom scripts were developed to ease the transfer, though manual input and proofreading were also required to ensure nothing was overlooked.



Due to the constraints of the previous content management system, the COC had initially developed separate websites for different divisions of their organization. This fragmented online traffic, directing it toward multiple URLs and reducing the overall core website experience. One of the first steps that was taken with the new site was to bring all microsites under This provided one comprehensive online location for Canadian Olympic Team fans to visit. 


Updates and changes to the site 

With the COC looking to future-proof their website, Zync took a more modular approach to visual structure in the wireframe and design stages. The site is built in a way that will be easy to evolve as the messages and priorities of the organization change. With the new design, the COC will now have the ability to add, remove and adjust the modules of the site as needed. 



“We chose Zync because they shared our vision to marry bold, clean, flat design with a content structure that lives within a responsive mobile world. We know our fans, athletes and partners are hungry for Canadian Olympic team content. This new website will ensure our athletes’ stories are told and shared in more compelling ways with fans at home and around the world.” Derek Kent, Chief Marketing Officer of the Canadian Olympic Committee.


“Zync focused on how things would actually behave as mobile content and navigation – looking first at function, then form. With the functional blocks in place, they really knocked the design work out of the park. They were a real partner on the project, from creative, to wireframes, to final code.” - Todd Denis, Director of Brand Connections for the COC.



Designer Takeaways

  1. When working on websites, it's all about content. Make sure you understand the goals and key messaging of the organization and what they want to highlight. 
  2. Focus on how the end user will be using the site. Mobile users are familiar with the app experience and expect quick and easy access - they are not willing to wait. Make a consistent effort to maximize functionality and upload speeds.
  3. Make sure that design of the site fits with the client's needs and resources. Big ideas are great, but in the end you need to deliver a result that is right for the client's business - something that they can realistically understand and maintain.


Client Takeaways

  1. Trust between client and design firm is key. By opening the lines of communication, being clear about goals, expectations and resources, and maintaining a healthy dialogue throughout the project, you can establish a great partnership and build from there.
  2. Be open to using the Internet and technology in a different way. Understand the changing nature of today's devices and recognize the importance of learning how audiences are accessing and interacting with information. 
  3. Edit your content. We all have a lot to say, but it's the way we say it that really adds value and makes our end user want to come back for more.


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