What was the scope of their involvement?
Our original site was built in one language which was not Railwaymen's specialty, but they said they could help us. The technical side of our site is not complicated, but how the site works is. I used the old site as a way of gauging whether or not they could understand what we were building; what we wanted to design, how it needed to work, how the pieces needed to fit together, and the kind of customer experience we wanted our subscriber base to have. They fixed it and then I hired them to build me the second site.
I asked them to develop every single aspect of our website. Our site is built from the ground-up, so it’s a native site using Ruby on Rails. We worked through the UI/UX [user interface/user experience], which has been refined. Then they built the architecture. They selected our vendors. Amazon and AWS [Amazon Web Services] is our server. We use Telestream and they did all the coding. They didn't do the design, however. I had another woman do our design who was pretty amazing. They worked seamlessly with her, and vice versa. Despite geographical distance, it was a great collaboration.
We did split the testing because it made sense to not have them be solely responsible for the testing. You need independent, objective third party people to push the testing, to make sure all the aspects of the site work. I think that’s good practice. They were fine with it, and so we did that. Any adjustments that needed to be made, they made.
The building of the site took much longer than they had originally intended and thought. That did not deter them at all. I wanted it to be a responsive site because we don’t have a mobile platform. There were things on the responsive side that they recommended that we took advantage of. They also did our backend SEO.
What is the team dynamic?
The project grew and involved different people depending on what’s going on. They have a marketing person, a UI/UX person, and then they have a couple of people who are more junior who do little projects. I don’t talk to them at all.
How did you come to work with Railwaymen?
I wanted the site to be in Rails. Marcin [co-founder and CIO, Railwaymen] had been doing some consulting work in San Francisco and came to Austin for a festival where we met. He told me who he was and who he worked for. I asked him what technology they use, and he told me they were a Rails firm but could do PHP too. I got his number and told him I wanted to set up a call.
How much have you invested with them?
We’ve spent $100,000 over the course of our relationship.
What is the status of this engagement?
We started working with them in 2012 and the relationship is ongoing.