“You need to learn how to work in teams.”
This is a phrase I’ve heard throughout my entire education (among other variations – some not so nicely said). From my days in elementary school to my senior group project at FGCU, I’ve always been taught that working with teams and in groups would be a significant part of my future career. Of all the things I’ve learned from my education to help prepare me for the “real world,” I think this lesson holds the most weight.
We’ve worked closely with Panache Desai and his team for many years now. Upon hearing of his upcoming book release, Discovering Your Soul Signature: A 33-Day Path to Purpose, Passion, and Joy,we were thrilled. To coincide with the release of his book, Panache and his team were also gearing up to launch an entire brand and website overhaul, including a complete redesign of PanacheDesai.com AND an online program to correspond with the book (another entirely new website: 33DayPath.com).
Team Introductions & Roles
To do all of these things, we’d be working very closely with a handful of teams, including:
- OrangeYouGlad – an extremely talented web design company (provided all web design)
- Random House – Panache’s book publisher (provided content/direction)
- Panache & Team – our client (provided content/direction)
(At Atilus, it was our responsibility to handle all web development and custom programming work.)
To develop and launch two websites in the amount of time we did required dozens of conference calls, hundreds (yes – hundreds) of emails, and almost perfect coordination between all teams (both internally and externally).
When you get a number of teams involved in the creation of a website, things can get a little complicated. Take those teams and scatter them throughout two states on opposite ends of the country (NY & FL), and things can get downright confusing. Luckily for us, we got the chance to work with some GREAT people that know their stuff – and we couldn’t thank you more!
Phase 1: PanacheDesai.com Relaunch
It may seem like a simple redesign would be just that – simple.
However, Panache’s main website is built on a large, robust system complete with a custom web store and full membership system. These items are just a fraction of the moving pieces we needed to keep in mind with the impending new design coming to us from OrangeYouGlad.
While we awaited the design to be completed and provided to us, we spent a number hours prepping the website for a couple things:
- The new design (including making it fully responsive)
- Increases in traffic
These two things may seem minor, however, with a website as large as this, there are a number of things that can go wrong if handled incorrectly (or forgotten). Internally, we spent tons of time working with the developers and vice versa to make sure EVERYONE was on the same page.
It may seem simple enough, but when you’re redesigning and redeveloping a website at this scale with the limited time, these tiny pieces (the ones that users expect to work flawlessly) are the ones that as developers and designers, fly under our radar when we’re deep into a project:
- Logging in/out
- Purchasing items
- Reading blogs
- Registering for events
- Resetting passwords
- Accessing support
- Watching videos
- Downloading Mp3s
- All of the above (on ALL mobile devices)
In the end, after those dozens of calls, tons of Skype messages, and hundreds of emails, the website launched a day early – and with a relatively smooth transition.
However, while PanacheDesai.com was launching, 33DayPath.com was just beginning.
Phase 2: 33DayPath.com
One of the most innovative parts of Panache’s book release was the idea of providing a free online program to accompany the readers: 33DayPath.com. Panache’s book is meant to provide daily guidance to readers on a variety of subjects, including dealing with anger, guilt, fear, sadness, and more. While reading the book, users have the ability to view special messages from Panache (in audio, video, or PDF worksheet formats) and communicate with other members of the growing Panache community.
33DayPath.com is a content-heavy site with 35 areas of content for users to access, including audio clips, video clips, and PDF worksheets. In working on content for the 33 days, there had to be constant review to ensure that each day was placed correctly. As an example, certain days were assigned certain media formats. To mix these up might not seem significant, however, 33DayPath.com was not the only piece of the puzzle.
Phase 3: 33-Day Email Reminders
Panache’s 33-Day Path is more than a book – it’s an entire program with a variety of interactive features. One of those features was the ability to receive a daily reminder to continue on the 33-Day Path.
Users had (and still have) the ability to sign up for daily email reminders for the 33-Day Path. In addition to ensuring the content was placed correctly on the 33-Day Path website, we had to do the same with the emails that were set to go out to thousands of subscribers. With so many related pieces, there was/is no room for inconsistency.
In addition to content accuracy, these emails had to also send to users at the same time each day, but for their local time. For example, someone in Manhattan should not receive an email reminder at the same time as someone in Paris. While setting this up was doable, there was a good deal of testing being done before the program went live on May 5th.
The Relationship Between Client Ideas, Web Design, and Web Development
In conceptualizing the design of Panache’s website, the 33DayPath.com website, and the daily reminder emails, we worked closely with Random House, Panache & Team, and OrangeYouGlad to provide technical guidance as new ideas came up.
For example, in working with the commenting function, an idea was presented to “like” users’ comments (or “give encouragement” as it’s now shown on the site). An idea turned into a discussion, which then turned into a design. That design was implemented and now is live on 33DayPath.com.
When you combine the knowledge of different talents working toward the same goal, amazing results can be achieved.
With Random House’s knowledge of book publishing and marketing, Panache & Team’s knowledge of their customer base, OrangeYouGlad’s knowledge of great design, and Atilus’ knowledge of web development, we were able to build two amazing websites – as a team.
For more information about Panache Desai and the 33-Day Path, click here.