THE BRIEF

Never Stopping, Always Evolving

Leica Geosystems was founded on cutting-edge technology and continues to push the envelope with their revolutionary products. Leica Geosystems was founded by Heinrich Wild and made its first rangefinder in 1921. Fast forward to the 21st century, and Leica Geosystems is the leading manufacturer of precision laser technology used for measurements in architecture, construction, historic preservation, and DIY home remodeling projects.

Oomph and Leica collaborated on an initial project in 2014 and have completed multiple projects since. We transitioned the site into a brand new codebase with Drupal 8. With this conversion, Oomph smoothed out the Leica team’s pain points related to a multisite architecture. We created a tightly integrated single site that can still serve multiple countries, languages, and currencies.


THE CHALLENGE

Feeling the Pain-points with Multisite

Leica’s e-commerce store is active in multiple countries and languages. Managing content in a Drupal multisite environment meant managing multiple sites. Product, content, and price changes were difficult. It was Oomph’s challenge to make content and product management easier for the Leica team as well as support the ability to create new country sites on demand. Leica’s new e-commerce site needed to support:

MULTIPLE COUNTRIES AND A GLOBAL OPTION

SIX LANGUAGES

MANY 3RD-PARTY INTEGRATIONS

The pain points of the previous Multisite architecture were that each country was a silo:

  • No Single Sign On (SSO): Multiple admin log-ins to remember
  • Repetitive updates: Running Drupal’s update script on every site and testing was a lengthy process
  • Multiple stores: Multiple product lists, product features, and prices
  • Multiple sites to translate: each site was sent individually to be translated into one language

THE APPROACH

Creating a Singularity with Drupal 8, Domain Access, & Drupal Commerce

A move to Drupal 8 in combination with some smart choices in module support and customization simplified many aspects of the Leica team’s workflow, including:

From more detailed information about how Oomph leveraged the Domain AccessCountry PathCommerce, and Commerce Store Domain modules, the project’s lead developer, John Picozzi, conducted a talk for Drupal GovCon all about it.


LEARN VS. SHOP

Supporting Visitor Intention with Two Different Modes

While the technical challenges were being worked out, the user experience and design had to reflect a cutting-edge company. With the launch of their revolutionary product, the BLK 360, in 2018, Leica positioned itself as the Apple of the geospatial measurement community — sleek, cool, cutting-edge and easy to use. While many companies want to look as good as Apple, few of them actually have the content and product to back it up.

The navigation for the site went through many rounds of feedback and testing before deciding on something radically simple — Learn or Shop. A customer on the website is either in an exploratory state of mind — browsing, comparing, reviewing pricing and specifications — or they are ready to buy. We made it very clear which part of the website was for which.

This allowed us to talk directly to the customer in two very different ways. On the Learn side, the pages educate and convince. They give the customer information about the product, reviews, articles, sample data files, and the like. The content is big, sleek, and leverages video and other embedded content, like VR, to educate.

On the Shop side the pages are unapologetically transactional. Give the visitor the right information to support a purchase, clearly deliver specs and options like software and warranties, without any marketing. We could assume the customer was here to purchase, not to be convinced, so the page content could concentrate on order completion. The entire checkout process was simplified as much as possible to reduce friction. Buying habits and patterns of their user base over the past few site iterations were studied to inform our choices about where to simplify and where to offer options.


THE RESULTS

More Nimble Together

The willingness of the Drupal community to support the needs of this project cannot be overlooked, either. Oomph has been able to leverage our team’s commitment to open source contributions to get other developers to add features to the modules they support. Without the give and take of the community and our commitment to give back, many modifications and customizations for this project would have been much more difficult. The team at Centarro, maintainers of the Commerce module, were fantastic to work with and we thank them.

We look forward to continuing to support Leica Geosystems and their product line worldwide. With a smooth upgrade path to Drupal 9 in 2020, the site is ready for the next big upgrade.


THE BRIEF

The Virtual Lab School (VLS) supports military educators with training and enrichment around educational practices from birth through age 12. Their curriculum was developed by a partnership between Ohio State University and the U.S. Department of Defense to assist direct-care providers, curriculum specialists, management personnel, and home-based care providers. Because of the distributed nature of educators around the world, courses and certifications are offered virtually through the VLS website.

Comprehensive Platform Assessment

The existing online learning platform had a deep level of complexity under the surface. For a student educator taking a certification course, the site tracks progress through the curriculum. For training leaders, they need to see how their students are progressing, assign additional coursework, or assist a student educator through a particular certification.

Learning platforms in general are complex, and this one is no different. Add to this an intertwined set of military-style administration privileges and it produces a complex tree of layers and permutations.

The focus of the platform assessment phase was to catalog features of the largely undocumented legacy system, uncover complexity that could be simplified, and most importantly identify opportunities for efficiencies.


THE RESULTS

Personalized Online Learning Experience

Enrollment and Administration Portal

Administrators and instructors leverage an enrollment portal to manage the onboarding of new students and view progress on coursework and certifications.

Course Material Delivery

Students experience the course material through a combination of reading, video, and offline coursework downloads for completion and submission.

Learning Assessments & Grading

Students are tested with online assessments, where grading and suggestions are delivered in real time, and submission of offline assignments for review by instructors.

Progress Pathways

A personalized student dashboard is the window into progress, allowing students to see which courses have been started, how much is left to complete, and the status of their certifications.

Certification

Completed coursework and assessments lead students to a point of certification resulting in a printable Certificate of Completion.


FINAL THOUGHTS

Faster and More Secure than Ever Before

When building for speed and scalability, fully leveraging Drupal’s advanced caching system is a major way to support those goals. The system design leverages query- and render-caching to support a high level of performance while also supporting personalization to an individual level. This is accomplished with computed fields and auto-placeholdering utilizing lazy builder.

The result is an application that is quicker to load, more secure, and able to support hundreds more concurrent users.

Why Drupal?

When building for speed and scalability, fully leveraging Drupal’s advanced caching system is a major way to support those goals. The system design leverages query- and render-caching to support a high level of performance while also supporting personalization to an individual level. This is accomplished with computed fields and auto-placeholdering utilizing lazy builder.

The result is an application that is quicker to load, more secure, and able to support hundreds more concurrent users.


THE BRIEF

Wingspans’ primary audience is digital natives — young, tech-savvy users who expect fast, frictionless interactions and relevant content. Fail to deliver, and they’ll abandon you in a heartbeat.

The new platform needed to provide a scalable, flexible foundation for a range of content and tools being developed by the Wingspans team. We had to turn a collection of disparate pieces — story content, user data, school information, and more — into a cohesive digital framework that could grow and evolve. Above all, Wingspans needed a design-first approach, wrapping the educational aspects in an intuitive, engaging digital experience.


THE APPROACH

While storytelling formed the heart of the Wingspans platform, the site’s interactive features would be crucial for getting students to explore and engage with the content. Building on Lindsay’s familiarity with the educational market, we mapped out the content architecture, workflows, and functions for a host of interactive features to keep students engaged.

For the tech stack, we turned to a mix of microservices to provide a stable, flexible, and scalable architecture with lightning-fast performance. These included a Gatsby front end, Firebase database, AWS cloud storageAlgolia site search, Cosmic JS content management system, and more. We also worked to ensure the technology reflected Lindsay’s empathy-driven approach. For instance, we customized Algolia to deliver search results specifically tailored to a student’s profile and interests—in other words, an encyclopedia that understood its users and presented its information in a distinctly human way.


THE RESULTS

The platform’s most impactful feature is how easily students can find and bookmark career stories that resonate with who they are. With over 700 stories and 40 mini-documentaries available, each with an associated set of lessons, the site’s personalized search function and ultrafast content delivery are key. On the backend, the customized CMS and robust content architecture make it easy for the Wingspans team to align content with users’ profiles and browsing activity.

Bringing it all together, the Career Builder feature lets students select stories and content to create a customized career roadmap that they can share with parents, teachers, and counselors. A core element of the platform’s personalized user experience, the Career Builder brings Wingspans’ central premise to life: If you can see it, you can be it.

Oomph really fulfilled their commitment to building an immersive and radically personal platform that brought my vision to life.

— Lindsay Kuhn, Wingspans Founder and CEO

THE BRIEF

When Seraphic Group’s founder, Zach Bush, MD, saw patterns in people’s health linked directly to problems with the food supply, he became an advocate for regenerative farming. As a potential solution to deteriorating public health, global warming, and even poverty, regenerative farming offers benefits for local and global communities. But, getting farmers to switch to it from conventional techniques is a challenge.

Regenerative farming is good for the environment and the economy in the long run—but, short term, it’s more work and more expensive than chemical-heavy, conventional farming. Add in that the appropriate techniques depend on variables like geography, soil type, and climate, and it’s a difficult thing for people to figure out on their own.

Their platform idea, Atlus∗U, needed to not only educate farmers about regenerative agriculture, but also motivate them to try it, and stick with it, for the long haul.


THE APPROACH

Understanding the Educational Purpose

As we noted in an article on different types of online learning platforms, a platform’s educational purpose determines the tools and features that will best achieve its objectives. Atlus∗U spans two purpose categories, Student Stakes Learning and Broad Stakes Learning, which means that effective education is crucial for both the learners and their larger communities.

To that end, our design vision focused heavily on content comprehension, along with keeping users motivated and engaged. Our framework included educational content and tools, accountability systems, and community features. A key component was personal stories: sharing the experiences of farmers who had successfully converted their businesses to regenerative farming and could help and encourage others to do the same.

Above all, Seraphic wanted Atlus∗U to grow and evolve over time as a kind of living guide to regenerative farming. While most online learning platforms stop when the coursework ends (think of a CPR course, where you get a certificate and you’re done), for this platform, the end of the coursework was just the beginning of the journey.


THE RESULTS

In our design, the whole community drives the learning experience, not just the teachers and coursework. It’s easy for students to connect with others who are taking the same courses, while members-only forums provide a place for productive networking, questions, stories, and support. Some forums are attached to specific lessons, so that the dialogue isn’t just between teachers and students; all members, including alumni, can participate and share their learnings on a given topic.

Another component, the accountability partner system, was crucial for achieving Seraphic’s goal of driving lasting change. Research shows that publicly sharing a goal gives people a 65% chance of success, while reporting to a specific accountability partner boosts that chance to 95%.

Finally, our learning tools were designed to enhance both content comprehension and retention. Course videos were a key feature, designed not just for the course, but for reference over time. Students have the ability to bookmark videos and attach notes to specific sections, letting them revisit important info whenever they need it.


THE IMPACT

While online learning has been around for a long time, recent advancements in design and functionality make it possible for learning platforms to have a transformative impact on individuals and across society.

In the case of Atlus∗U, it’s not just the coursework that drives users’ learning; an entire community is mobilized to help you succeed. With a focus on collaborative, lifelong learning, our design brings together farmers from around the world to improve their business, grow healthier food, and protect our world.

Need help building an effective online learning platform? Let’s talk about your goals and how to achieve them.


The Challenge

Execute on a digital platform strategy for a global private equity firm to create a centralized employee destination to support onboarding, create interpersonal connections between offices, and drive employee satisfaction.

The key components would be an employee directory complete with photos, bios, roles and organizational structure; News, events, and other communications made easily available and organized per location as well as across all locations; The firm’s investment portfolio shared through a dashboard view with all pertinent information including the team involved.

These components, and the expected tactical assets that an intranet provides, would help the firm deepen connections with and among employees at the firm, accelerate onboarding, and increase knowledge sharing.

The Approach

Supporting Multiple Intentions: Browsing vs. Working

An effective employee engagement platform, or intranet, needs to support two distinct modes — task mode and explore mode. In task mode, employees have access to intuitive navigation, quick page loading, and dynamic search or filtering while performing daily tasks. They get what they need fast and proceed with their day.

At the same time, a platform must also encourage and enable employees to explore company knowledge, receive company-wide communications, and connect with others. For this firm, the bulk of content available in explore mode revolves around the firm’s culture, with a special focus on philanthropic initiatives and recognition of key successes.

Both modes benefit from intuitive searching and filtering capabilities for team members, news, events, FAQs, and portfolio content. News and events can be browsed in a personalized way — what is happening at my location — or a global way — what is happening across the company. For every interaction within the platform, the mode was considered and influential of nearly all design decisions.

From a technical standpoint, the private equity firm needed to support security by hosting the intranet on their own network. This and the need to completely customize the experience for close alignment with their brand meant that no off-the-shelf pre-built intranet solution would work. We went with Drupal 8 to make this intranet scalable, secure, and tailor-made to an optimal employee experience.

The Results

The platform deployment came at a time when it was most needed, playing a crucial role for the firm during a global pandemic that kept employees at home. What was originally designed as a platform to deepen employee connections between offices quickly became the firm’s hub for connecting employees within an office. As many businesses are, the firm is actively re-evaluating its approach to the traditional office model, and the early success of the new platform indicates that it is likely to play an even larger role in the future.


THE BRIEF

“Out of Home” (OHH) advertising is widely understood as billboards, transit stops, and street furniture. But OHH advertising is also place-based mobile advertising and digital messages that can react to the time of day and weather. These emerging avenues were some of the customer education messages that OUTFRONT Media, one of the top three outdoor advertising companies in the country, needed a new website to convey.

OHH was new to us, but we enjoy diving deep into new industries and absorbing information from all directions. While getting to know OUTFRONT Media during our initial explorations and discovery meetings, Oomph and Straightline Media were surprised to learn:


THE DISCOVERY

Expanding Outfront’s reach from Agencies to Mom-and-Pops

OUR RESEARCH & UNDERSTANDING

“The United States of Audiences” is the demographic landscape made up of microcosms centered around interests and activities. OUTFRONT understands all these niche groups and can hyper target them to get businesses those audiences.

Through information architecture testing, an understanding of their business goals, and internalization of this new brand message, we crafted a main navigation that spoke directly to OUTFRONT’s target audiences. These pages communicate they “get” them in two ways — OUTFRONT understands these audiences’ needs and

CUSTOMER ACTIONS

To buy media placements from OUTFRONT, a business needs to:

  • Understand the value of OHH advertising
  • Explore the media options in their location
  • Investigate the costs of these different options
  • Call a sales associate in their area to discuss custom packages

Finding a market lets a potential customer define themselves even further by gathering their location

they can put the right message in front of the right people to get clients new business.

Large brands already understand how important it is to have OHH in their advertising mix. An emerging market for companies like OUTFRONT is actually smaller businesses — local chains and even mom and pop businesses. To court these new customers, OUTFRONT has to create a customer portal that supports do-it-yourself media management, and the website messaging has to educate a small business about the process and how to buy.

data. From here, they can easily access the media that is available specifically to their geographic area. After a sale is made, a customer needs continuing support. The website should:

  • Make it easy for a customer to find production specs for various media
  • Provide links to a portal that give them analytics and reporting statistics
  • Give them a clear path to extending their current campaign or starting a new one

THE APPROACH

Defining Audience Destinations

OUTFRONT narrowed its focus to the audiences that it needs to win and continue to support — new advertisers, new and existing agency relationships, and property owners who lease their real estate to OUTFRONT for displays (these could be individual real estate owners, large municipalities, or large destinations like airports, stadiums, and entire city transit systems). The journey for these new customers is the main navigation, and these journies funnel through the Market Finder to become more personalized.

Returning customers will find inspiration, case studies, galleries, and support resources in the footer navigation. One of the reasons for this bifurcation was the amount of content that OUTFRONT Media needs to manage. Their previous navigation tried to be everything to everyone, and therefore, was confusing. Labels like “Who We Are / What We Do / Where We Are…” contained too much “we” and not enough “you”. A modern customer doesn’t have time to figure out the navigation — it should speak to them directly in language that they understand.

Giving Visitors Clear Directions

he previous market finder used “inside baseball” language — terms that people at OUTFRONT understand, but that the general populace does not. Markets were labeled by city and state with vague geographic terms like “non-metro”. It was not friendly to the DIY customer. We helped guide technical conversations around how a better flow might work and captured the journey in wireframes and external working examples.

The Market finder is an integral part of the customer journey, so we placed it in page content to support the education process. As a customer understands how OHH and OUTFRONT works, they are prompted to enter their location and get more direct information. As part of wireframes and design, the language was an important aspect to try out and sharpen. Vague button text like “Get Started” was replaced with stronger and more descriptive actions like “Start Building Your Campaign.”


THE RESULTS

Focusing Attention on Results

OHH is a powerful mechanism to reach people even as consumers become blind to advertising in traditional media — a billboard or subway poster can’t be ad-blocked. One of the most powerful ways to tell this story is through data. OUTFRONT has a number of “Insights” but potential customers are less likely to seek this information out themselves. Instead, we made sure to include teasers along their journies that highlight the effectiveness of sample campaigns. These Insights provide powerful results with brands that visitors are familiar with.

The entire journey from discovery to wireframing, testing, and design was an exciting and challenging process that pushed both teams towards an excellent outcome. We hope that the clarity of the navigation, message, and visitor journey continues to get new eyeballs and customers.