YIT
Content-based websites
Problem
The corporation has a complex business structure – there are different offers for different markets. Therefore, there are different sites for each direction. Selling residential real estate in Europe to Russian customers is one of such directions.
It is reasonable that there is a separate site for that. It is easier for everyone: for the customers, for the company to carry out the advertising campaign, and it is also easier to measure the marketing activities. This site will be hugely benefitial for such large international corporation.
At this point we started discussing what we have to create the site
Start
YIT has been building and selling housing for more than 100 years already. They work in Russia, Finland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and the Baltic countries
Advantages and Disadvantages
Advantages

Business expertise. The YIT employees can be asked about almost anything: they know all the answers.
.
Communication. All project participants speak English, and some of them even speak Russian.

— Finnish business style. The main difference from the Russian business style is: once the plan is set, the whole team is moving forward without any deviations, failures and ruch. That is, if the project has started, it will finish.

— Style. We didn't have to spend our time on the senseless and most popular task in website development - making a fancy design. Corporate style was more than enough, and no one was expecting anything more than that.

Disadvantages

Technical solution. The corporate CMS has many technical constraints. You can make improvements, but it's not going to be fast. Every huge company's problem.

The complexity of the layout. As a consequence of the previous point. It's not easy to create a good layout with so many technical constraints.

Deadline. Formally speaking, we had 4 months - more than enough to create a website. However, due to the holiday season in Finland, all business activities freeze starting from the end of June, till the end of August.
Content-based sites
It is important to understand (and everybody understands it): "Sobaka Pavlova" does not do website development. This is what web-studios do. What we do is content-based sites. I.e. we do not focus on fancy designs, or some trendy technology, or advertising and sales tasks. We focus on the user: on what he or she wants to know and about what we can tell him. In other words, we are guided by the principle of Content First (or Content is a King, if you like more popular name).

The specificity of "Сontent-based site":
1
Complete design template or style solution according to the brand-book (no design);
2
Personalized CMS or WordPress solution (no programming);
3
First, we write texts and pack them in hyperstructures (content first);
4
No creativity, just clear answers to all sorts of user questions;
5
Information texts (no "selling" texts);
6
Online - only the truth: there is no deceit, lies and silence figures.
Is it enough of such input data to create a website? A useful website? Yes, it is enough for us. According to our theory of creating content-based site we could even predict the timing and the costs. This is how our production plan looked like.
Let's work
Let's go back to characteristic features of Finnish business style. And also mention the features of a large corporation. Everything needs to discussed and coordinated, for every step we need to make presentations and arrange meetings. Therefore, the YIT team consisted of almost twenty people (half of them managers of different levels).

And what about us? Which team got away from us on the field? Yes, as usual for such sort of projects: a manager, an analyst, an interaction designer, a copywriter, a content manager, a proofreader and a little bit of a production manager.
The whole crowd was moving quite well along the plan. Regular calls, constant correspondence, clarifications and coordination went on as usual. The website interface started emerging.

Content management system was another thing. Like every reputable corporation YIT has its own corporate standard and its own CMS – strongly customized Sitefinity (http://www.sitefinity.com/). And this one is used for all YIT sites.

Generally speaking, Sitefinity is a powerful system, flexible and functional. But there is one catch.All its capabilities and functionality collide with corporate business processes. And they, as you might have guessed, are quite complex. No, there's nothing can be done quickly by adding a couple of modules. And no, we cannot start from the scratch and finish everything by the evening.
But is there still something you can do? You can try. We conducted our audit of the process and created something like the technical specifications for the improvements. It looked like this.
Not all of our recommendations were accepted, not all of them were implemented. But some of the improvements were made thanks to the project manager from YIT.
But what about the content? How did we create and organize it?
As usual, we used our design techniques. We identified user expectations, collected the content and put it in order.
Our design techniques:
— Design methodology on the project.
— Analysis of the technical constraints.
— Business interview.
— Modeling of user expectations.
— User modeling.
— Information design.
— Creating an interactive prototype.

Result
The turning point came when the content manager of the customer started compiling the website using our prototypes and our texts. It was painful. Remember the CMS restrictions? Fortunately, the project manager on YIT's side was a smart guy. So we passed the most difficult stage of the implementation together with almost no losses.

Www.yiteurope.ru was launched on time and it had the highest possible quality at the time. YIT received a new working tool, and users liked this tool. They started receiving calls and make sells.
But wait, why are we not saying anything about numbers and figures? Where is the miracle performance and tales about the conversion rate, which increased by 100,500 points? Where are the stories about the income of the company?
It's simple. The new site is so tightly integrated into a complex and long life cycle of the real estate purchase in YIT, thats it's impossible to distract its performance from call-center operations or effectiveness of an advertising campaign. Still YIT doesn't sell pots, each purchase is individual, so there's nothing to measure here.
Testimonial
As a part of the project, they conducted several interviews with our team, created customer portraits and main user scenarios. Given the specificity of our corporate CMS-platform they designed interface for several main screens. They also designed the site structure, wrote texts, made some search engine optimization, and selected images to all pages. Then we programmed the site and created the content. Before and after the launch "Sobaka Pavlova" made an audit, and we got a list of required improvements.
In general, we are satisfied with the work and the results. All the requirements in terms of the schedule and the scope of the project were met. Throughout the project there were some roughness on different issues, however, all the changes, improvements and corrections were made immediately.
In my opinion, the main advantages working with "Sobaka Pavlova" is a high level of professionalism and customer care. When it comes to the users and also when it comes to us and our business objectives. Another crucial point is they are honest. They know what they are good at, and when it would be better to turn to other specialists. So, all issues are discussed openly, there is a clear understanding that you will not be deceived.
Guys, thank you for the excellent work! :)

Natalya Kohvakko
YIT development manager
Moral
The main question in this story: why does it have to do with us? Why the client didn't go to a web studio and simply ordered a website? There are several reasons for that:

Web studios don't speacialize in making websites. Yeah, just like that. Do you want to talk about it? :)

Breaking is not making. We welcome thrifty approach - to use what we already there, and only rely on ourselves.

The Finnish style of doing things is to understand how the work will be going. And we know how to structurize the entire production process. Not only us, of course, but we know how to do that.

• Fancy design and the technology are secondary. Everyone understood that the most important task is to create an informative and useful tool. That is to create a new servicу for a potential customers. And this is exactly what we specialize in.

Seems like everything finished well. Or it is about the practical approach of the company and choice of a contractor? Anyways, we tried our best and did exactly what our client and its customers needed.

Predictable and meaningful. Everything is as usual in "Sobaka Pavlova". You are always welcome :)
Short summary of the project in figures:
Start: May 2015 Duration: 4 months

The project team:11 people from the customer's side and 6 people from "Sobaka Pavlova": managing

analyst, copywriter, designer, proofreader, managing partners.

Work pace: standard, Workload: 40 calls, 2 design iterations, 4 copywriting iterations, 6 screens.

Analytics:
6 weeks, about 100 hours

Texts: 3 iterations about 1 week (40 hours) each, 120 hours in total, 7-12 text for each iteration, 10-

15 thousand characters for each text.
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«Sobaka Pavlova» — complex interface design
Saint-Petersburg • Moscow • Russia • Europe • USA

SPb, Arsenalnaya st, 1, b. 2, of. 221, BC «Arsenalniy» (from 10 to 19 on weekdays).
Free parking in front of the building. Bike parking too.
Nearest Metro station — «Ploschad Lenina».
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