Tech Guy Labs
Leo Laporte's radio call-in show, The Tech Guy, helps millions of listeners solve their tech problems each week. Unfortunately, the show's "Tech Guy Labs" web site had languished for years. Originally built as a simple Wiki, it had expanded to include notes on hundreds of episodes, an ever-expanding list of stations, important news for listeners, and information on a crowd of sponsors. The wiki format had made it all but impossible for listeners to find answers from previous shows, piles of hand-coded HTML prevented Leo and his staff from repurposing the content in new ways, and there were no opportunities for the show's enthusiastic fans to participate on the site.
Before the project kicked off, a small team of developers and designers from Lullabot spent time with Leo Laporte and the rest of the Tech Guy Labs team. They talked through the weekly production cycles for their show, reviewed the feedback they'd received from fans about the site, and discussed future plans for the show and its sponsors. A basic content model was built to capture the essential elements of the show -- topical episodes, questions from callers, guest appearances, and related news delivered by Leo.
While the visual design and wireframing process got rolling, the Lullabot team built out a prototype site to test the proposed content model. The newly designed content types allowed the staff to include more detailed transcripts, and made presenting an attractive overview of each episode much easier.
Working in two-week sprints, Lullabot refined those working prototypes and found ways to improve the process of managing and editing content for the show's staff. New "Topic" pages gave the staff a place to consolidate topically-related news and troubleshooting help, turning their years of tech advice into valuable SEO-friendly landing pages. Third-party web services like Disqus and Google Search were used to reduce the amount of load on the site during high-traffic spikes, making it easier to include listeners' input on questions from the show. Finally, a responsive visual design for the site brought all of the new features and full video of each episode to mobile and tablet users.
Now that the site has launched, the tailored content model and responsive design have opened up more options for Tech Guy Labs. Promoting the best question of the week is as simple as flagging an article, not an arduous exercise in creating entirely new material. The idea of a custom smartphone application to augment the web site was previously a pipe dream, but now it could pull from the same underlying pool of content thanks to the new platform architecture.
We don’t even have to think of anyone else. If we ever do anything it’s going to be with Lullabot, without question.Lisa Kentzell, CEO TWiT, LLC