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Top of the Lake

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Top of the Lake


Top of the Lake Communities Association—often shortened to Top of the Lake and abbreviated as TOLCA— is a non-profit merchants association that provides community support for several towns in the midsection of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I was connected with their team in May 2020 to design and develop a new website that would inspire more tourism and activity in the area.

Website Design

The initial design, built by Kath who later contracted me for work with the Finlandia Foundation website and digital backend, was functional but in need of a modern refresh. With the excellent Kadence WP theme as my guide, I constructed a custom experience that incorporated design elements associated with both tourism and chamber of commerce websites.

As I built out the website, I also kept a Figjam sitemap to act as a log of progress.

Website Development

For a Wordpress website needs to follow a template and be editable by a less-experienced editor, the design and development processes are closely intertwined. However, I needed to write some custom functionality into the site to meet the project objectives, such as:

  • Creating reusable components that may be implemented by an editor to maintain design cohesion
  • Customize existing components to properly meet the requirements of certain pages
  • Integrate calendar and form plugins to expand functionality