Santa Cruz Tech Beat


Modern Tribe on ambitious 2-year Steelcase redesign project

(Source: Modern Tribe’s case study.)

May 26, 2016 — Santa Cruz, CA

Steelcase, the largest furniture manufacturer in the world, needed a development partner for an ambitious 2-year redesign. We collaborated closely to produce an international platform spanning 3 continents and 6 languages that embodies Steelcase’s design leadership and improves their content management experience.

See it live

Enterprise in scale and features

We embarked upon this journey with Steelcase just as they were completing a year-long design effort with Method. The end product was a gorgeous set of comps. However, it is always tricky to execute on a highly complex vision without having been part of the design process. This was no exception. We quickly realized that there was still a tremendous amount of work remaining in the process of technical scoping and mobile design so we collaborated with the Steelcase team to design an agile process that could both allow us to move the functional development ahead while affording us the space to explore additional scope parameters.

Who says you can’t walk and run

ModernTribe-graphicThe mandate was to build the comps verbatim. But the comps did not account for mobile or for a large volume of functional topics. Rather than waiting many months for the scope to be ironed out we went right ahead with our best guess. We built out as much CSS and JS as possible. We took our best guesses on mobile, implemented them, and simply tried them out. We built out some WordPress custom post types and as much functionality as we could produce with a moderate sense of confidence given the unresolved scope.

Rapid Prototyping

Many people on the Steelcase content team had never worked with WordPress and weren’t sure that they understood the implications of some of our suggestions. Things that seemed obvious to us having used WordPress for many years were not obvious to the content team. Rather than try and tell them about it, we built some post types and relationships and took our best guess and effectively prototyped the admin experience.

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