WIRED was well on its way to catching up to the rest of the internet. We’d consolidated the massive archive and amazing legacy data into a single high powered WordPress website with an impressive feature list. However the site still looked straight 90s! While we’d been laboring away at the migration, the design team on the other side of the office had created a modern stylish new look to apply to all our work.
Soon after Pangea’s completion we began work on the redesigned front end for the platform. The new design brought mobile friendly layouts and more room for content to breathe. All this generally helped provide readers with a better experience.
New content types were created, like a way to track published magazined. A whole new custom mobile-friendly CSS column framework was executed. One of the largest challenges was the large new pre-footer on almost every page that aimed to drive up recirculation (user’s visiting more articles after their first). We needed to ensure this pre-footer was always populated with a diverse representative collection of other site stories while avoiding duplication, all without tanking performance due to complicated database queries.
While I worked on many parts of the site, front to back, CSS to mySQL, my two significant stand alone contributions were a pair of custom Wordpress plugins that handled validation and story production. The first, WIRED Validator added character counters to a variety of article fields including title, subtitle, and more. These could further be customized with to use custom character counts, reject bad values, prevent saving, or notify the user of any encountered issues.
The second plugin was Promotrack. This plugin completely replaced a third party service WIRED editorial staff had long been using to keep track of where articles were in the production pipeline as they made their way from a writer’s desktop, through the edit and fact check process, received art, and finally got published and promoted. The plugin displayed articles in sortable tables based on their status in this pipeline while allowing users to move items and add notes for others.
[caption id="attachment_859" align="alignnone" width="580"] The Promotrack plugin I created was used to see articles through the publishing pipeline.[/caption]
WIRED is a large site and a venerable publication. It was an honor to be part of preserving that legacy, especially as a long time reader and fan. I can rest easy knowing I did my utmost to leave a clean and maintainable data/codebase while helping enable the ongoing work of the editorial staff.