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How we built a multichannel website that gives content creators and customers a better seat at the table


The challenge

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.

The Solution

Collaborate over a 10-year period to build a robust digital platform that includes a WordPress 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.

During that time, we built out as much CSS and Javascript as possible. Many Steelcase content team members had never worked with WordPress, so we built some post types and had them practice the potential admin experience. This rapid prototyping allowed the team to quickly get us iterative feedback on what worked and what didn’t.

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.


We plan for the future with systems that extend and evolve

We compiled feature suggestions well before the site went live so we could immediately get started on the next iteration. This is pretty common for us.

We often manage a huge build and then transition into an agile sprint process for ongoing maintenance and feature development. This is when we get to iterate and learn together—when we get to measure the results of our work and improve upon it. In many ways, this is our favorite part of the site-building process.

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