The Spyder Trap team is excited to be at The Nerdery’s Overnight Website Challenge for the next 24 hours! We have assembled a (world) wide web of designers and developers, copywriters and content specialists, project managers and creative minds, to form our team—the Arachnyd Webslingers.
Shortly after we arrived the event began at 9 a.m. we found out that our team was paired with local non-profit River Valley Riders (RVR), a therapeutic horseback-riding program. Our charitable, do-goody, make-things-bettery team of Spydermen and Spyderwomen is excited to put our expertise and knowledge towards a great cause!
After introductions with RVR representatives Kathy and Susan, our team dove right in with a discovery meeting to learn as much as we could about their organization, current site and what they envision for their new site. Next step, a deeper dive into brand voice and design of RVR.
After Learning more about River Valley Riders (and they’re a pretty amazing group!), the developers branched off to work their magic while a few of us continued to chat with Kathy and Susan. Together we have already locked down a revised and revamped site map for the new website!
Even better, I had an opportunity to sit down with Kathy and Susan and learn more about the voice of their brand, what makes their organization special and the positive influence they are having on the lives of those involved with the program. I can’t wait to see how these stories influence the website copy I’ll be writing and the designs of the site.
Time to write.
Lunch arrived! Big thank you to Chow Girls for catering amazing sandwiches and cookies. With the countdown clock looming in front of us, the team made it a working lunch and continued to code, write and design. With a finalized site map in place, the new website is in full motion ahead.
While the development team is waiting for designs, they are creating electronic versions of River Valley Riders’ paper forms. Currently, RVR participants can only register for lessons using paper forms and sending them through the mail but, at the launch of the new website, program participants will be able easily access these forms online! This is a really exciting step for RVR to helps streamline the registration process and make the program more easily accessible.
Everyone got a few minutes away from the computer to enjoy the Zoomobile from the Minnesota Zoo. They brought owls, millipedes, and even a creepy crawly mascot for the Arachnyd Webslingers!
We’ve all been hard at work the past hour, especially the designers. Ben and Jeff have spent a lot of time completing wireframes for the site and designing the home page for the new site!
Steve and I have also been busy combing through the existing site content, auditing it and making sure everything is pulled before we take the old site down. There’s still a lot of work left to do, but we’re off to a great start!
With everybody working so hard on so many different projects, Rachel flexed her Project Manager muscle and arranged a quick recap meeting with everyone to make sure we were all on track. It was nice to touch base as a group, and we’re all really excited about where this project is heading!
I’ve been keeping my nose to the grindstone and my fingers typing away reworking content, and everyone else is staying just as busy. Ben and Jeff are almost done with the homepage design, just finishing up some last little tweaks before moving on to other pages. The developers have been surprisingly quiet as they continue to code away, while Steve has been setting up Twitter and YouTube profiles for River Valley Riders!
Fatigue is setting in a little bit, but dinner is almost here and that should help. Most importantly, everyone on the team is still in good spirits!
Dinner arrived, and not a moment too soon! Just as a few of us were slowing down, we had a great burrito bar catered by Qdoba. We had a little fiesta and chatted with Kathy some more, which was a nice break from our computer monitors!
Next up, we’ll be demoing the Concrete5 dashboard and the new River Valley Riders home page for Kathy!
The demo was a smashing success! Ben and Jeff did an amazing job designing the homepage of the website, while the Concrete5 user management system should do wonders for keeping track of all of the volunteers and riders that come through River Valley Riders.
Fresh off of the successful home page and content management demo, the team went right back to make more changes. Because the new site will implement Parallax scrolling and responsive design elements, there’s a lot more work yet to be done. However, the team is working hard and we’re really excited about the direction we’re headed!
We’ve reached the halfway point! While the team hasn’t started stressing quite yet, hitting the twelve-hour mark was definitely an eye opener for several members of the team. The next several should see all of us with our heads down and typing furiously, with a very important recap meeting coming up shortly.
River Valley Riders are now on Twitter, and you can find them @RVRiders! Steve set up the Twitter profile, while Ben designed the custom background and header image to match their new site. Kathy and Susan were both very interested in the potential for Twitter to help reach out to a new audience, so Steve will also be spending time teaching the RVR team about how to best use Twitter.
The team regrouped for our first status meeting since crossing the halfway point. The sense of urgency has started to grow, but we’re far from panicking. Because we decided to do some great things with this project, we had a feeling we’d be rushed!
Many of the design pieces for the new RVR website are coming together. Ben and Jeff have now created the mobile versions of the home page and navigation, as well as desktop and mobile versions of multiple interior pages.
As the minutes and hours tick away, we’re inching closer and closer to getting this River Valley Riders website off the ground. I’ve spent most of the past hour continuing to comb through more content and photos with Rachel and Steve. However, we’ve made a lot of progress and we’re almost in the home stretch!
Losing an hour to Daylight Savings Time was definitely disorienting. While most of the team met for one last status meeting before our final push, I finally succumbed to the sleep deprivation and dozed off long enough for Steve to snap this picture.
Everybody is starting slow down as we’ve all now been awake for over 20 hours. The developers are still hard at work ironing out a few programming wrinkles before the new site goes live!
This update will be short and sweet because we’re all working like crazy finishing everything up! It’s all coming together, though, so we shouldn’t have any trouble delivering a great final product.
We’re officially in the last leg of the competition, with the Arachnyd Webslingers set to present our work to the judges at 7:10am. We’re just finishing up the last couple few pieces of the website before Jeff and Travis show off our hard work!
The tough part is over for us, with Jeff and Travis having successfully presented some of what we’ve been able to accomplish the last 20+ hours. And while the site is close to completion, we’ve decided to hold off a full launch of the new site until it is completely where we’d like it to be.