Sumas First Nation

Sumas First Nation

Sumas First Nation’s web page is a place for users to learn more about the Semá:th people, it’s land, history, customs, and different organizational departments. A major goal of this project was to help automate some manual entry tasks, such as funding applications for both on-reserve housing, and post-secondary education. We also integrated 3rd party systems such as an event calendar and newsletter so they can use their web presence to its full potential.

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  • Optimize user flow through a rigorous information architecture overhaul
  • Automate existing pen and paper based systems, provide a digital solution
  • Integrate with existing third party systems such as MailChimp for less manual work
  • Promote ease-of-use in backend management system so the organization can manage the site themselves

Architecture and Wireframing

Sumas First Nation has a lot of information to present to it’s users, this is why it was a top priority to have an in-depth planning stage.

The phase 1 document contained wireframes for every template used on the site as well as a new sitemap. These wireframes are used to identify the new navigation structure, labels of headings throughout the site, and to promote a healthy user flow so no users feel lost on the site.

High Fidelity Mockups

The new design incorporates elements of traditional native art, and natural landscapes. We wanted to create something that would not only look beautiful, but would also draw lines to the Semá:th people’s core values of stewardship and cultural preservation.

We achieved this through the imagery used throughout the site to promote a natural feel. We also chose font’s that would compliment the natural imagery while still portraying a feeling of professionalism.


Development of the Sumas First Nation project was done following Ascent Digital’s core value of keeping it simple. This mantra is repeated through most of the development process. Whether it is deciding how something should function on the front end, or how data should be inputted by the user on the back end, it should be easy, this project was no different.

The site is built with WordPress as a custom theme tailored to Sumas First Nation’s needs. The code is highly efficient, and our programmers use industry best practices when it comes to speed optimization, utilizing powerful programming methodologies such as AJAX to increase speed. This results in Google page speed scores in the high 90’s or perfect 100’s for every page. The code structure is also built with best practice SEO in mind, ensuring even without additional SEO work, the site will be in a good place. Finally the site is polished with fancy scroll and hover animations for a site that is fun to interact with.

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