Inconsistent User Experience and a Heavy Maintenance Burden
Every day for the VP’s software development team looked the same: his team would get distracted from their main projects with request after request from the commissions to make manual updates to their websites for them.
“We had 30 sites that had little structure, and each was unique, with its own custom code. It’s not like we had 30 different blogs of the same format, across them we must have had hundreds of different templates. Just maintaining day-to-day changes was a heavy task, and enhancing these sites for the future was just untenable.” - Michael, VP of Application Development.
For the marketing department at Head Office, the situation was also far from ideal. Although all the websites belong to a single county government, there was no consistency of style or navigation from one website to the next.
“We are spending all of our time on content marketing changes in an antiquated system, rather than pushing for new technology initiatives. We need to empower the individual marketing teams to push their own content.” Steve, RIM
This was a missed opportunity for brand awareness, and a confusing user experience for anyone navigating one of its sites.
“The website is confusing. There is no consistency of page layout or structure which makes it difficult to find stuff.”, Roger, Website User
It was time to make a change. The client called in Thinklogic’s digital acceleration team to overhaul the websites - and the process of maintaining them.
Replace 30 Websites with a Single Code Base
The client and Thinklogic set out with a vision: create a single code base for all the websites. This single code base would ensure consistency of brand and structure across each website, while still allowing each commission to retain and enhance what made their site unique.
This would allow the best of both worlds: consistency of user experience controlled by the Head Office, but flexibility for each commission to edit and enhance their website.
“We chose Kontent.ai, because, it’s the easiest tool for creating flexible content for such a large and complex organization.”, Josh McIntyre, Project Manager at Thinklogic
To ensure each commission could edit their website by themselves, rather than filing requests to the Head Office development team to do it for them, a web editing interface would have to be provided that was user-friendly and provided a very wide range of styling and customization options.
And since this single code base would serve so many different commissions, it needed to be rock solid on security and access controls. One commission should not have access to another commission’s unique website content, and only the VP’s team at head office should have access to the common code.
Fulfilling the Vision with Kontent.ai
A premier partner of Kontent.ai, Thinklogic knew right away that they would make big strides by tearing out the client’s rigid traditional CMS and building the new single code base leveraging the Kontent.ai
“The team at Thinklogic is consistently utilizing all Kontent.ai capabilities. For almost a decade, they have been creating elegant solutions that exceed client expectations.”, Mark, Kentico Partner Representative
Thinklogic leveraged Kontent.ai's powerful content modeling capabilities. Content models are like containers that can be filled in with unique content. The single code base would therefore be made up of nested content models that would ensure a common structure for each site, while allowing each site to “fill in” the content models with their unique content with an intuitive drag-and-drop editor. Each commission could fill in their content models by dragging a hero banner, cards, forms, etc. to make their site unique.
To address the very wide range of styles needed by the different sites, Thinklogic pushed Kontent.ai Web Spotlight tool to its limits by creating over 100 different content models to choose from. Each commission would have access to pick lists of 100+ style options for these components, allowing them to match content from the legacy sites where needed, enhance their site with modern styles, and be entirely self-sufficient along the way.
“With the new solution built on top of Kontent.ai, we were able to use the simple drag-and-drop features and pick lists to put together a new version of our website - any page, any config - so quickly, without waiting on the development team at all. This is exactly what it should be.” - Lauren, Marketing Director.
The client was able to save significantly on licensing as it did away with its old CMS.
Thinklogic has overhauled hundreds of enterprise websites with the latest technology since 2001. From the first planning workshop, it was obvious that this would be a big project with many interdependencies. As a digital acceleration partner, one of Thinklogic’s primary goals was making sure that the program was delivered on time, cutting through red tape and unexpected turns.
Thinklogic created a project plan that maximized parallel streams of work, then assigned a digital acceleration team of 12, including PMs, front-end designers, ViewJS devs, Nuxt engineers, and other end-to-end CMS implementation experts.
Major parallel streams of work included mapping out and cleaning up each website’s detailed sitemap, developing the 100+ content models, and creating a proof-of-concept to prove how a single code base could generate so many different static websites each with their own domains. The client was an active partner along the way, participating in and reviewing weekly demos.
As a government body, the client was subject to rigorous processes and security audits. Inexperienced dev agencies tend to underestimate this work, but not when you’ve successfully delivered dozens of large-scale projects in government, insurance and financial services. All the new websites underwent a thorough security assessment and were approved for use behind the County firewall.
Flexibility, Consistency, Empowerment
Today, the marketing and content professionals at each commission are empowered to build and maintain their websites all on their own. With the drag-and-drop interface, they can put together a website quickly but with fine-grained control over the style and content nuances that matter to them most. The modernization has even allowed some commissions to launch new websites altogether, adding to the growing list of 30+.
Head office has achieved their goal of having a consistent structure and brand with each website, and a streamlined process to maintain and scale their sites over time.
Visitors to each website are treated to a more intuitive user experience as they quickly navigate to the important content they’re looking for.
“My team still provides training and support to the commissions to help them on their self-service journey, but honestly, we haven’t fielded a single request to update a website in a long time. We are now 100% focused on strategic development projects only.” Michael, VP of Applications Development
“Now that we are able to silo individual teams, and manage the permission levels at a granular level, we no longer need to spend time on the little tasks and can now focus on delivering the big projects.”, - Lawrence, Application Development, IRM
“The new website is great. It feels organized and I can quickly find what I am looking for.” - Sarah, Website User
Sprinting with Thinklogic’s Digital Acceleration Response Team (D.A.R.T.)
If your team needs a boost to assess and carry out large-scale web transformation.Consider a digital acceleration partner like Thinklogic. Thinklogic’s Digital Acceleration and Response Team (DART) specializes in advising CTOs on their roadmaps, rapid prototyping to bring a business case to life, and carrying out large-scale implementations, without distracting internal development teams. Located in Los Angeles, California with years of experience in enterprise verticals like manufacturing, commerce and banking, Thinklogic is your trusted partner for end-to-end digital transformation programs.
We always root for the success of the companies we work with. The businesses that come to us are not just clients - they are our partners.
"Finding a web development partner you can trust is so hard, especially when you are accountable for their results. But Thinklogic's transparent and collaborative approach kept me engaged and built trust from the start. Their expert team took on a large program and delivered it on schedule, keeping me informed every step of the way."
"Thinklogic was our end-to-end digital transformation partner, helping us re-imagine and re-build our flagship catalog from the ground up. The Thinklogic team methodically stepped us through their process, from surfacing and aligning us to critical business outcomes, to designing and building an innovative user experience fast enough to keep us ahead of the market."
"We augmented our web development project team with Thinklogic to get it back on track. Not only did Thinklogic ramp up quickly using their methodology, they were able to suggest improvements to our overall architecture that made dramatic improvements to the project and timeline. Any time we had questions for them, they were able to come in person to talk with us face to face."
"I have enjoyed working with Thinklogic's software design and development team. Everyone has been extremely professional and passionate in making my program a success, even under very tight timelines."