Blog Redesign & Admin Portal UI/UX
At the surface, this blog looks like a simple, clean blog, but the story of how it was built is rich in challenges and complexities. The broad challenges were to create more in-depth, storytelling product experiences on the StockX blog. This is a completely separate WordPress software project with seamless integration to stockx.com. Our team knew right from the start that we would need to focus the strategy phase more closely on flexibility, growth and building a custom software solution that is both admin and user friendly.
StockX, is the ‘stock market for things’, which serves as an online marketplace guaranteeing a simple buying/selling experience that legitimizes the product sold. The company started primarily in the sneaker business and now includes streetwear, handbags and watches in their line-up of scarce consumer goods. StockX is considered to be one of Detroit’s fastest growing startup companies forming in 2016 and handling $2 million per day in transactions and overtook eBay in sneaker sales.
After the strategy phase we jumped head first into design.
The former stockx.com/news was organized by two default taxonomies: “Categories” and “Tags”.
We discovered that there needed to be more taxonomies that provide more richness and flexibility to what the site does. With the existing categories and tags we added two additional taxonomies: “Verticals” (Sneakers, Streetwear, etc) and “Brands”.
This helps organize the article content for users to search and filter content easily.
Instead of using the default WordPress search tool, we used the self-hosted search indexing platform, Algolia. As blog content is being updated it automatically updates the search index for the blog. This allows for the blog content to be searched anywhere on stockx.com.
How did we do this to an existing blog website AND a new one? We pulled all of the content from the live site and placed it into a staging environment which allowed the admin to edit the taxonomies for existing articles while new content was being generated and didn’t disrupt their business flow.
Logistically we solved the issues of content migration, content updates, matching new taxonomies for content to match the new format for the site. By the time we were ready to go-live and with the addition of StockX’s growing content generation team, the blog had grown from 500 articles to over 3,500 content pieces.
Working with the client’s development team, we solved how these two independent sites can still hold value only to stockx.com, driving traffic and search results to the main site. A reverse proxy allows stockx.com/news to exist on a separate server as opposed to where stockx.com lives. We put in extra effort to this part of the project to ensure that the infrastructure for hosting and the environment was loading properly, and that the established reputation of the e-commerce experience was given an overall better solution.
Additionally, we also setup Google Structured Content for the articles, which helps improve visibility in search engines.
The client requested flexibility with the article format so that an admin could easily drop in copy, add images or video and also be able to easily change the order of these elements. We modularized the way the articled worked by building custom modules within the editor so that admins can choose a module and easily drag and drop them to build the article.
Examples of modules would be a piece of content, video, quote, PDF, and different image formats (single, gallery, mosaic). Admins can use as many modules as they want and easily move content around giving them infinite possibilities of the types of articles they want to create and the story they want to tell.
The modules are dynamic and display content in appropriate dimensions regardless of the user’s browser or device type. We also built a custom algorithm for related articles by creating filter variances to determine what can be considered a related article.
Our goal with the StockX blog was to make complex things look simple and the results show. The header and footer sync simplifies complex changes from the main site to the blog. The search integrations are seamless. The better organization of taxonomies simplifies organization. The structured flexibility of article content is straight forward.
This was one of the most complex blogs we’ve ever built and without reading this, you’d never know it.