28 December 2015

Going responsive or: The silent relaunch

I wrote this blog post in December 2013 (and updated it in February 2014) for the company I work for, Zopa. But for some reason it never got published on Zopa’s blog. As I still think it’s valuable, despite being out-dated, I decided to publish it here on my own blog.

The Challenge

Take 5 different platforms and code bases (www|secure2|secure|blog|help.zopa.com) and make them responsive, i.e. ready for mobile devices. While doing that, redesign everything to look and behave better, make the code more accessible and don’t hold up any other work on those platforms. And do all of that on the side while working mainly on other projects.

Unify the frontend

The first thing that was clear to me was that those 5 platforms needed to share at least the same frontend code. It needed to be the same markup, it needed to have the same CSS and JavaScript and it needed to look and behave the same.

Other improvements along the way

Part of the changes would also include a redesign. The website design as it was at the beginning of 2013 was largely the same as it was back in 2006. 7 years are half an eternity in web years and some modernisation was needed. Naturally, a complete rewrite of the frontend code was required. But it was also clear that the site-wide coding quality and maintainability could be improved, along with making the site more accessible for users with disabilities.

Don’t disturb our users

Another thing our team made clear was that it needed to be done in an agile way, i.e. in small releasable chunks. That way of working also suited our designer who wanted the changes to consist of many small ones instead of fewer more radical ones, so that our users get used to the new design gradually without noticing too much of a difference. Not doing a so-called “big bang release” also minimises other risks.

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27 October 2015

Trialling recipe boxes: Conclusion

Between 3 July and 31 August I have been trialling 7 different recipe box services, i.e. I cooked 42 portions of meals (7 services × 3 meals × 2 portions = 42). I generally consider this experiment a full success.
I was super-excited every time a new box came, I learned something new with every single recipe, I ate healthier and tastier food than usual and I especially loved the experience of each first bite of a new meal.

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21 October 2015

Trialling recipe boxes: Mindful Chef

Mindful Chef

Mindful Chef sends recipe boxes since 2014, is situated in Waterloo, London and is only available in the UK. 3 meals for 2 people currently cost £42. They specialise in recipes which follow the Paleo diet, i.e. it is “based on the foods ancient ancestors might likely have eaten” and is gluten-free.

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5 October 2015

Trialling recipe boxes: Abel & Cole

Abel & Cole

Abel & Cole sends recipe boxes since 2014 but exists since 1988. They are situated in Wimbledon, London and only operate in the UK. 3 meals for 2 people currently cost £36. It is generally quite similar to Riverford.

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20 September 2015

Trialling recipe boxes: HelloFresh


HelloFresh sends recipe boxes since 2012, is situated in Westminster, London and is available in the UK, Germany, the US, the Netherlands, Australia, Belgium and Austria. 3 meals for 2 people currently cost £39. It is generally very similar to Gousto.

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