How We Built a Global Multichannel Website That Gives Content Creators and Customers a Better Seat at the Table
Steelcase—the world’s largest furniture manufacturer—needed a digital strategy and platform that reflected their design leadership, improved the content management process, accommodated their international presence, and supported a better user experience.
Collaborate over a 10-year period to build a robust digital platform that includes a mulitsite network and ecommerce integrations as well as a multilingual and multiregional publishing tool and a B2B distributor tool used by their internal teams around the world.
Meeting a Team Where They Are, Technologically Speaking
When we came on board, Steelcase had just wrapped a year-long engagement with Method. The result was a gorgeous set of design comps, and our mandate was to build those comps exactly. But we quickly realized there was still a tremendous amount of technical scoping and mobile design work to be done.
Waiting for the scope to be ironed out would delay us for several months. So we teamed up with Steelcase to design a process that moved the functional development ahead while we simultaneously explored additional scope parameters.
Building a Better Content Framework to Support Design
Editors with limited content management system tools aren’t able to achieve more complex content experiences. For a brand like Steelcase, solving this problem was a high priority. Our solution is a content framework that supports Method’s modular designs.
Putting Our Desks Together To Scale a Tech Stack
Our dev team connected with the Steelcase systems team so we could learn about their hosting configuration and we could teach them about our code. Together, we produced a solid Amazon stack that could be propagated throughout Steelcase’s web properties.
We set up the initial Amazon stack featuring NGINX, PHP-FPM, Memcached, MySQL, and Elasticsearch. We handed off a documented process to the Steelcase systems team and collaboratively scaled the tech horizontally.
Developing On-Brand and User-Focused Digital Features
Steelcase’s vision and goals presented many exciting challenges that we met with customized solutions.
A resource center with downloadable imagery, 3D models, documents, and planning ideas that Steelcase’s international community of interior designers, architects, and dealers can use to create environments featuring the company’s products.
A dealer locator that interfaces with the Steelcase dealer database, browser location detection, and the MapQuest API to show users where they can find dealers near them. We opted to build it using React since we didn’t have to worry about SEO or initial load.
The website needed to support six languages in three regions. After intense research, we decided to build our own custom language support plugin that was cost-effective and simple but extremely powerful.
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