Introducing The Brand Spanking New Seattle Met

December 8, 2020 a peek inside code design learn life post jumbotron

This week is an exciting one for us at the Urban office, because one of our clients just launched a whole new built-from-scratch version of their website.

And while it may look like just a news site, don’t let that fool you – there is a whole lot going on under the covers.

The Seattle Met team really wanted to be able to control what was shown to users. They wanted to be able to have dynamic widgets on their site (i.e. most popular articles, most watched videos, or another combination of any of their content many types) that would be powered by curation, but also data and user behavior.

And they wanted all of this content to be super flexible and configurable by the people who are the experts (their editors) – without having to talk to a developer or deploy new code to their website.

100% Custom Rails Admin

In collaboration with the Urban Influence design team the Seattle Met team came up with a drag and drop admin interface that allowed them to have complete control of what was shown to users, configure all of the content, and customize the look and feel of different parts of their site – dynamically and easily.

This site is a truly one of a kind for a news site, and built from the ground up. Normally building your own custom CMS would be a dangerous thing (it is seldom a good thing to reinvent the wheel), but in this case doing so allowed them to have complete control empowering their editors to give their audience exactly what they want.

And like all truly great software rewrites, we upgraded our technology stack – moving to Rails 4.2, Postgres, Redis, ElasticSearch, and AngularJS – and the changes in the architecture allowed us to drastically reduce the system footprint required (the website was running on 2 8GB instances, and now is on 2 4GB instances and has lots of room to spare), but even more importantly improving the customer experience with a faster, more responsive experience.

The Design and Dev Team

Chris Loper (on our team) and Dan Derozier (from the Seattle Met Team) built the whole site and it looks amazing. Check out some of the screenshots below for a peek into this awesome functionality…

Custom CMS Elements

Adding an article
Embedding/cropping images in articles
Article Index
Adding a widget to a layout
Editors managing content directly on front-end from the widgets

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