Rapid Development: Swift but not Hasty

14 September looms imminent, but I feel confident that we will meet, if not exceed, our expectations. My client and I have established an extremely effective workflow with our screen sharing/conference call method.


Conferenceroom2The first time
I was involved in such a meeting, it was in a corporate conference room with a projector, a dedicated data line and a bunch of folks on each end of the line — a one-to-one connection, even for the corner-office honchos, was just too expensive to consider.

Now, the screen sharing is free, and cell phones make better speaker phones than the dedicated desktop models we used back then. That’s real progress, I suppose…

Speaking of progress, we made great headway duting yesterday’s conference call. The look and feel, based on modifications to the selected template chosen in the previous meeting, was approved. We spent most of this session getting into high-level “function and flow” stuff, such as:

  • Site participant rolesvisitor (anonymous user, not logged in), member (non-paying, logged in user) and subscriber (paying member)
  • Site staff rolescontributor (columnists & bloggers), editor (1st level content approval, layout & design) and publisher (final approval for posting content, full control over all layout & design elements
  • Logical functions – such as “subscribers view posted video blogs immediately; members view with one-week delay; visitors view teasers only

The rest of the call focused on the first real consideration of the front page, more in terms of what will be there, than what it will look like. A rotating graphical element for latest news, blog post, etc – but done via JavaScript instead of the usual Flash animation.

This both minimizes page loading time (important to avoid losing impatient visitors) and enables the content to be scanned by search engines (important if you want any visitors in the first place).

Our brainstorming session gave birth to one fantastic idea which, again, is a challenge to deliver by launch date, but it’s doable. We decided to have polls (as many sites do), but use the results of the poll to deliver focused content, links and associations to the viewer based on their responses, rather than just posting the results (as if anyone is really that interested).

Basically disguising surveys as polls. Genius. Drupal, powered by the modular capabilities we’ve installed beneath-the-hood, can do all that. The question, of course, is can we, by September 14th?

Stay tuned…

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