With millions of enthusiastic visitors each month, decades of legacy content, and hundreds of high-profile live events each year, World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. had hit the end of their CMS rope. Although their existing publishing platform had served them well for years, it was buckling under the strain of user generated content and outdated technology.
As the complexity of the site grew, content editors were forced to spend their time managing the details of each page's layout, rather than producing new material for eager fans. After painful experiences with past technology migrations, WWE contacted us to help simplify and streamline their media-intensive publishing workflow and retool their infrastructure for future growth.
We assembled a crack team of architects, developers, and user experience specialists to tackle the challenge. The team used intensive on-site visits to WWE headquarters to assess the state of their existing platform, map the company's future digital plans with business stakeholders, and study the critically important production needs of the company's in-house content production workflow.
Meanwhile, our infrastructure and performance experts worked on a plan to smoothly migrate tens of millions of legacy content to the new site, and handle the intense spikes of weekly traffic which accompany WWE's live television events. Working closely with the WWE technical team, the initial work of auditing and migrating content began to establish a continuous migration strategy: new content would automatically post to the new platform during development. The new site was visible to the team as it was being built.
We replaced the previous site's labor intensive hierarchical navigation with a modern design emphasizing channels of content related to WWE Superstars and their fans, upcoming events, and special editorial features like a leaderboard of rising stars. The content was tagged with metadata to create a seamless experience of rich information for fans. Photo galleries and video players using Flash were replaced with standards-compliant, mobile-friendly alternatives. WWE connected with iPad and iPhone users for the first time. These conscious decisions to improve the presentation layer has allowed the websites look to evolve over the past several years and demonstrates the flexibility and power of properly leveraging a quality CMS.
One of the most important aspects of the new platform was invisible to visitors: heavily customized production tools for the site's content editors. The team worked closely with WWE writers and editors to dissect their legacy CMS's user interface, map the critical aspects of their nightly production process, and discover important pain points for their daily work. The result was a highly optimized set of tools that protected the editors from expensive mistakes during live coverage, streamlined their daily workflow, and simplified the process of training new editors. The mantra for the team during this phase of the project was "work smarter, not harder" and we delivered.
Custom administrative tools were built to manage the connections between "anchor" content like television shows and their related articles, photos, and events. In addition, tailored bulk management allowed WWE to make sweeping updates to hundreds of articles to keep up with breaking news. Building simple prototypes of these tools and testing them with members of the actual editorial team allowed our developers to ensure the resulting solutions worked in the real world.
Extensive training happened during the project to ensure WWE could manage all aspects of the platform in house. Although the public will never see the robust editorial tools created for WWE, fans will surely benefit from relevant content and a rapid publishing workflow. That kind of collaboration between us and WWE was critical for the overall success of the project.