Rambus had an outdated website and costly 3rd party search and hosting solution that did not address its current business needs. It needed a responsive modular solution to reduce the operating costs, streamline the creation of the main marketing website and simplify the process of content management. It also wanted a system that was simple enough to handle the creation of content from a series of templates that could be populated by content managers.
I worked as a UI Architect in a small core team that also included a UX Architect, a Visual Designer and a UX Director. My role was to evaluate potential content management systems and make a selection that was best suited for the requirements. After the selection was made, I lead a team of developers to customize and configure the chosen solution to address the complex needs of Rambus related to search and content management.
This project lasted from January 2013 to October 2013.
Our first challenge was to educate Rambus that this project was beyond a simple Word Press site that “should take 6 weeks at most.” We needed to give Rambus a solution that was easily upgradable and had extensive documentation to allow a semi technical staff to manage updates and build ons as needed. To save costs, Rambus preferred to build the majority of the pages on their own. The solution also needed to have the capabilities of localization for 10+ languages as well as content associations for related articles within Rambus’ extensive intellectual property database. Rambus had been burned in the past by consultants that did not understand these requirements so it was critical to really understand their use cases and pick the right technology stack to suit their needs.
Through contextual inquiries and interviews with the marketing department, I first discovered how the current system operated. The gaps became immediately apparent as the Adobe hosting package that was employed at the time, was constrained in a number of ways. We looked at the data around some critical use cases, like search, and discovered that only 1% of users were actually using these features. Rambus was gravely over paying for under utilized features. I identified the most used features and explored them in the potential systems. Using participatory design methodologies, we created an optimal scenario for Rambus’ content management needs and started solidifying the UI for what that might look like.
Significant exploration was done in comparing all the major content management systems. I set up dev environments of all the major open source content management solutions and invited the stakeholders to play with them. Extensive focus went into systems with robust plug-ins related to content tagging and associations. Another major requirement included the multi-lingual support being native to the system as opposed to being a third party add on that might become complicated to customize. Eventually we selected the system that had the broadest capabilities for handling enormous amounts of documents that could be associated one to many and had a large user base and support community to ensure continuous support.
After the requirements had been gathered, research completed and client’s feedback incorporated; I chose a system and framework with the CMS that had a back end WYSIWYG. It allowed Rambus to change the layouts of templates and modify certain parameters within templates that I initially created. It also included a very robust set of plug-ins that allowed many layers of content associations on the site. By understanding the business needs and distilling the exact requirements, I was able to empower Rambus to do the content population and site optimization on their own, at their own pace and most importantly beyond their expectations of simply creating static templates.