What was the scope of their involvement?
Nclud built our WordPress platform from the ground up. We had an initial meeting discussing our goals, how different the new site needed to be, and what other sites we liked. We developed mood boards and some of the content which would be placed online, along with images and audience personas. This was followed by wireframes and actual development. It was an organized process, going from mood boards to wireframes to development in a couple of weeks.
One of the most important things for us was the members directory. Scientists really want to show off their work, content and education. Going to our community page will reveal our experts and contributors—people whom we consider to be almost a board for the website. They’ve given us great ideas for the content we should have on the site, and have been our content developers for the Microbiome community and the site as a whole.
Another thing we focused on was the ability to submit content. We realized that, if users could post content freely, there could be a lot of spam and issues involved in the process. nclud created a process of submitting content online, and having us review that content. People have the ability to put in their names, emails and content files, and allowing us to quickly review the material with a staff writer, making sure that it’s relevant.
Publishing content in the biology world is a lengthy process, and, by the time something is published, it will either be inaccurate, need more information or data changes. Preprints are unpublished content which scientists share online. One of the main websites which does this is Biorxiv.org, and we partnered with them in order to pull some of the content from their site onto ours, and allow users to find new information within the microbial sciences, and share their data as well. It’s a new concept which people in the field are discovering, and it’s constantly changing.
nclud has also helped us market our content during the launch of the site. We created a game by which everyone became a used at the launch was placed on a team—with the teams being named after different antibiotics—in order to fight against bacteria. In order to be more engaged and earn points, users had to login and share content or give us feedback. This contributed to user testing, making the site what it needed to be. We found out what the users were interested in, and what kinds of communities they wanted.
What is the team dynamic?
We’ve worked with 8-9 people from their team, at different stages of the process, including Alfonso Bravo, [managing director] who was our main contact. We used Basecamp, which allowed me to send a message to everyone who needed to see it, and respond based on their knowledge and expertise. Alfonso was the main project manager, but the team was open and responsive when we needed it. We had weekly meetings. Due to the short time frame, Basecamp allowed us to be in constant communication to ensure that the site was launched in time.
We spoke 3 times a week or more. The website needed to go up quickly, so we kept an active line of communication, including weekly meetings.
How did you come to work with nclud?
We had a short timeframe for launching the website in June 2017, when our general meeting would take place, and had been looking for local developers. We searched up and down forever, based on different keywords, and looked at 3 companies in total. As soon as we found nclud’s website, we knew we’d want to work with them—it was different and interesting enough to make us ask questions. We wanted the same for MicroNow. They also showed us some of their past work, which gave our team a good idea of who nclud was, what their ideas were, and where they were heading. They like to take things to the next level, and we appreciated that.
They were also good in terms of communication. We spoke to their owner in our first conversation, who was onboard, and knew everything that was going on. It was different with other web developers, who delayed our meetings. We had no time to slow down, and nclud was as aggressive as we were.
The process was a lot easier than I thought it would be. We were able to figure out each other’s personalities over a few conversations, and they weren’t hesitant about delivering what we needed.
They were also good in terms of communication. They were able to set up a meeting with us to get an idea of what we were needing. We spoke to their CEO , Kerry Gunther, in our first conversation to understand what nclud could provide for us. He continued to stay involved throughout the entire build of the site.
How much have you invested with them?
The cost of their work was around $100,000.
What is the status of this engagement?
We started working with nclud in November 2016, and finished the project in June 2017.