In September 2021 my husband and I welcomed our second child earthside. As we juggled newborn night feedings, calculated wake windows, kept our 4 year old entertained, and changed 10+ diapers a day we decided we needed more work and bought a 1997 Eurovan. Lovingly nicknamed Clark, we celebrated the end of my maternity leave with a two-week family road trip to see a friend in Salt Lake City, Utah.
In my role as a Program Manager at 2A, I’ve had the opportunity to build cool websites with our stellar in-house team of consultants, designers, storytellers, and developers. Lucky for me, I was able to apply 2A’s web process to get our van adventure ready.
Getting the wheels turning with a feature list
When building websites (and vans) the first question to ask is “what does it need to do?” Our van needed to make it 1,600 miles roundtrip to get us to Utah and home again, so we planned for safe car-seat installation, space for our down sleeping bags, a fridge install, and ample storage for snacks, ski gear, and toys.
Gathering requirements and objectives upfront ensures both smooth design and development phases. At 2A we meet with our client’s core team to really understand their vision and audience, and plan for the site’s functionality.
From bringing delicious apples to your doorstep, communicating the importance of healthcare interoperability, or building an interactive map for sports legislation every project starts with a feature list outlining what exactly the site needs to do and how we’ll do it.
Packing in the content(s)
My family loves camping, so before our trip I did an audit to see what I could move from our gear room to the van before placing a bulk order for mac and cheese. When building a website, it’s important to go through the same exercise with content and brand elements. Do you have an existing site that contains your brand gear? What content needs to be migrated, edited, or newly crafted? Are you keeping your current brand, opting for a brand refresh, or hoping for a new look and feel? What content do you have, and how does it need to be organized for users?
Taking it for a test drive
Before our trip we tested the van at our local ski hill and spent a weekend camping close to home. It was a great way to pressure test our designs for making coffee, sleeping, cooking dinner, doing dishes, and accessing toddler toys. Before launching a site, the crew at 2A tests all websites across different browsers and devices to make sure it all works and meets accessibility requirements before going live.
Two days into our trip I was reminded that sometimes bugs pop up after launch—or in this case, mice. As I sanitized every surface of our van in a Walmart parking lot after discovering a mouse had eaten our bagels, I was grateful I’d planned to camp near cities with easy access to stores and Clorox wipes. To head off the unexpected at 2A, we plan for website soft launches. This means the site is technically live and discoverable, but we ask clients to hold off on announcements or marketing campaigns that actively send traffic to the site until we’ve had one last chance to check for bugs.
Towing the line on maintenance
An hour into our road trip Clark broke down in rural eastern Washington. One tow truck ride and a very kind mechanic later, we were back on the road after a few hours. The lesson? Vans and websites both require maintenance to keep them running smoothly. From WordPress version and plugin updates to new feature development, 2A has you covered well after your site goes live.
Ready for an adventure? Let’s build a site together!