I met the team from Lullabot through Ed Sussman, who was our client (jointly) on a project to redesign FastCompany.com. About a year ago we all teamed up to begin working on a new product that we called “Project Codename.”
Lullabot brought their expertise in Drupal, my company Bond Art + Science brought our skills in user experience and interaction design, and Ed brought his experience with managing and monetizing large scale web properties. A kick-ass team, if I’ve ever seen one.
Some of the things that made this complex project really fun for me to work on:
Getting my hands on a CMS interface
Over the years, I’ve worked on products based on many different content management systems, including all kinds of “homegrown,” Vignette, Interwoven, Sharepoint, Fatwire, Movable Type, WordPress, Joomla, and, yes, Drupal. And while I’ve had the opportunity to make changes to some admin interfaces like content entry templates, I’ve never had the chance to redesign an entire administrative interface. But boy, have I wanted to.
Look Ma! No clients!
I’ve been making websites for clients since 1995, and I do love working in client services. That said, it’s been a real delight to work on an in-house project. Having the freedom (and the burden) to make design decisions free from client organizational politics and compromises has been a welcome opportunity.
Iterative design and development process
Working as a hired gun, time to iterate can often be a luxury the client isn’t willing to pay for. Often we’re hired as a user experience team separate from development, which means we focus more on lo-fi or front-end prototypes. And we’re sometimes not around to participate in any experimentation with or changes to designs that happen during development. Being able to go from week to week, trying out different ideas and having them brought to life was my favorite part of the process.
We continue to iterate and develop the product, but we thought it was time to share the product with the community.
(And I give thanks to the community, specifically Jen Simmons, for helping with the embed code.)